|"And that's a wrap"|
|"I am so out of here"|
|"Don't bother looking for me tonight, I'll be staying out with the boys!"|
Yes, sorry, it’s another installment in the long series of riding adventures with Dusty. I’ll preface this by saying that she hasn’t been ridden for almost two weeks due to obligations and life in general. Our herd has also refused to come up at dinnertime to be taken into the barn and fed. I’m attributing this to the cooler weather and decline in the fly population. In my opinion, the herd now thinks they are feral. Thank goodness there is always hay in the hay nets on the fence just in case foraging at night becomes too much of an inconvenience. Then, too, there are three run in sheds for shelter. Truthfully, I don’t care if they stay out all the time; it’s a lot less clean up in the stalls.
On to Dusty... After she was groomed and tacked we headed to the indoor. I had planned to take her on a small trail ride, but we had intermittent drizzle and rain. We usually take a hand walk around the perimeter to fill in the holes that the foxes have been digging in their never-ending search for mice and critters. There was a mound by the wall, which is out of character for them. Since I had Dusty, I called my daughter over to investigate. When she kicked it with her foot she unearthed half of a deer leg. So that explains all the coyote yowling the last week. I’m sure they killed a deer and the foxes stole part of it. How nice for them that we use a salt compound in the arena to keep the dust down; now the leg would be cured and keep forever. Not! We disposed of it.
On to Dusty and the mounting block... I could tell by the way she was acting from the start this wasn’t going to be an easy day, and unfortunately I was right. After positioning her, I managed the second step before she deliberately swung her butt out and gave me the "make me do it" look. Okay, I was ready for that. I attached the longe to her halter and she did some longeing at the trot to the left. Let’s try it again, Dusty mare. To which she replied, “I don’t think so,” and swung her butt away from the block again. Back to trotting on the longe to the right for a while and see if the second time’s the charm. It was, and I got on. She actually stood for me until I cued the walk. I’m well aware that she hasn’t forgotten what she’s learned about mounting, but she chooses to challenge me when she feels like she can.
I was immediately treated to some head flipping and her trying to pull the reins from my hands. This was unacceptable, so, with a gentle inside flexion, using the inside indirect rein behind the wither for the bend, I fixed my outside hand directly back to my hip, elbow at my side in a direct rein of opposition, and just closed my fingers. If she wanted to pull then she would be pulling against herself and when she accepted that and realized if she didn’t pull, things were more comfortable for her. Being the smart mare she is she stopped challenging after a while at the walk.
We worked on what I described in my Establish Success post, and then proceeded to trot when I thought she was willing to behave. We had some moments where we needed to half halt to slow down, but all in all once she decided to cooperate it wasn’t that bad a ride.
I’ve never ridden a horse in all my years like her. She is smart with an attitude and when she sets her mind to not behave it is a true test of wills. Instead of getting angry or frustrated I’ve found it best to adopt the attitude of being patient, insistent and consistent when dealing with her moods. She's opinionated and not a horse you can dictate to or pick a fight with; you definitely have to set her up with a right and a wrong choice, and let her get to a place where the right choice was HER idea. It takes time, and patience, trial and error. But, we're figuring it out... slowly. Maybe someday she will realize it can be fun for both of us if she’ll just give in a little.
Until next time
Quote for Today
Every time you ride, your either teaching or un-teaching your horse.
- Gordon Wright