Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gabbrielle Gets Cocky

I rode Gabbrielle for a while, mainly working on keeping her on the rail, and then I attempted to move her up to the trot.  She did this weird Lippizaner move of popping her front end up twice while prancing before breaking into the trot.  I've seen her do this before breaking into the lope when I lunge her, but I was clearly asking for the trot.  No need for airs.

Once the trot began, I got popped hard in the crotch and thrown forward over the horn, and she came to a halt.  Ouch.  That was literally the most uncomfortable trot I've ever had to ride.  I thought something must have just been out of whack, so I'll try again.  Same thing happened.  Alright.  This horse is very different from all the horses I've previously ridden in my lifetime, but surely I can ride her at a trot.  I've done it before.  I moved her up to the trot a third time, purposefully leaning back since I now knew that her hind end would try to pop me forward, but it didn't help.  I still flew forward.  She wasn't bucking.  She just can't carry herself well.

So, what can I do with this horse?  I can tell you that I have no desire to trot on her, and she has issues with being ridden on a trail alone without a buddy horse to pacify her.  As I was thinking about her future, she decided it was time to end the session and kept turning toward the mounting stool.

Nope.  None of that.  I let her know we would not be parking next to the stool.  Her next move was to run backwards every time I cued her forward, despite having no problem going forward for the previous half hour after receiving the exact same cue.

When you think you put a car in drive, step on the gas, and go backwards, your immediate response is to take your foot off the gas pedal.  The problem is that you can't do that with a horse.  You have to keep cuing her to go forward until she goes forward.  So, I kept my leg on her.  I tried turning her from side to side, but she was adamant about going backwards.

Once she realized that I wasn't going to stop squeezing with my legs, she started trying to crash into the railing and stool on purpose, knowing that would get me to stop squeezing.  So, I kept working the reins to steer her as she was running backwards in order to avoid crashing into things.  When she didn't succeed in getting me off her, she tried to buck.  That made me mad.

It used to be that she would back up if she didn't understand the cue someone was giving her, but this was flat out bad behavior.  She was trying to intimidate me to get off and take her back to the barn.  We were kind of at a stalemate, so I got off, but chased her butt around the pen making her go forward.  She was unhappy about that.

Then I mounted her again and rode her FORWARD for another half hour to let her know that she doesn't call the shots.

Next time I'm putting her through an obstacle course, and if she wants to try it backwards, so be it.  I just find it so annoying when a horse can have a ton of training and/or lots of time under saddle and still be cocky enough to test every different rider who hops on board.  Just do your job, horse.  Stop making simple things so complicated.

Despite all that, I have to say that Gabbrielle is wonderful about holding still for the mount and dismount.  She will not move a muscle until I tell her to under those circumstances.  She's also good about stopping if the rider loses contact with the saddle, which happened every time she moved up to the trot.  I just don't know how I can practice sitting her trot or posting her trot with that behavior.   The other horses just kind of flick their ears around when I bounce in an imbalanced manner, but they keep going because they know eventually I will get into rhythm with them.


achieve1dream said...

It must be something in the air lol. Maybe all of our horses have been talking and decided to just be turds this week. I hope the next ride goes better.

I sort of had that problem when I was first teaching Chrome to let me post to the trot. I started out riding him bareback so then when I tried to post every time my butt left the saddle he stopped. To fix it I longed him and established a vocal cue for trotting. Then when I rode him I gave that cue when he would try to stop then I rewarded him for continuing. :-) It worked great.

Venom said...

Every once in a while, even a well trained horse will test you if it has any gumption.

If a horse tries backing as an avoidance tactic, then back 'er up.
Back her up HARD & QUICK for several steps, then ask for a halt.
Cue forward again. If she offers any resistance then BACK 'ER UP hard & quick again.
Ask for the halt.
Cue forward.
Repeat until the message is clear that forward is what you've asked from her.

It's important to do all this without any annoyance on your part - just give her a reminder that doing what you've asked is always easier than choosing her own path.
At the moment Gabrielle chooses to back instead of follow your lead then, to my mind, she is straight up asking for a little refresher course on who is the shot caller in this partnership.

I recall that PS rode her a lot, and then the trainer guy who also found her a willing & teachable mount. Horses are smart enough to know each rider is different and, in my observation, they'll often tailor their reactions or responses to their rider.
My horses will occasionally pull some baloney on my S-I-L, for instance, that they would never dream of trying with me. It's not to say that I am any more skilled, just that my horses know pretty much EXACTLY what I will, or won't, put up with.

Perhaps all the Gabrielle needs is that little reminder that you have her number.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I remember one time the latest trainer rode her out alone, she ran off with him and he said he had a hard time stopping her, so she has tested him. She dumped the previous trainer, and gave her a hard time. In fact, the previous trainer encouraged me to sell her. Gabbrielle did have a really good relationship with P.S., though. They had something special, which is why I'm sad that P.S. bought another horse.