You ready to go, guy?
I almost forgot that Rock has had a problem lately with walking off during the mount. Basically, as soon as my right foot pushes off the stool, he plows up the driveway while I'm swinging my leg over his back. I did not want that to happen this time, so I worked on just having him stand still by the stool while I tried to fake him out, making him think I was going to mount when I wasn't. I couldn't fool him. I also flexed his head from side to side. Still, I could tell he was ready to walk off. I didn't want to have to drain my energy and waste time working his feet every which way, and then letting him rest by the stool, so I took a minute to think up a different plan that would set him up for success.
I got smart and just turned him around so that his butt was pointing up the driveway instead of his head. His head was pointing at the hay barn, which had no hay in it, so he had nowhere to go. Sure enough, he held still while I mounted and stayed still until I gave him the cue to walk.
I planned to ride Rock around that power pole, but it had bushes on each side, so I wanted to make sure the coast was clear.
Rock did a great job on the way out, but got a bit too antsy and rushed home. I don't mind if he speeds up, but I need him to stop when I say stop. He doesn't do that very well when he's focused on getting back to the barn. He had no problem waiting for the snake to move, because we were still at home at that point. I also stopped him a few times on the way out, and he was patient. But I had to use every whoa cue in the book at the same time to even get him to slow down on the way home. Then when I did get him to stop, he'd only hold still for two seconds, and then take off again without a cue.
I was practicing with him in the arena for a while specifically to correct this problem. I had no difficulty getting him to stop and back up in the arena. I need some ideas on how to get him to be more responsive about stopping and holding still on the way home.
I've been paying closer attention to what is going on with my right hip and leg that makes it so difficult to dismount. I realized that the types of problems I have with that hip and leg are similar to the types of problems I have with my left shoulder when I can't lift a saddle over a horse's back. The joint and muscles freeze up and I feel pain. Then I remembered that I have Scoliosis of the spine, so it makes sense that the shoulder and hip on opposite sides would be wonky.
I concentrated on sitting on my back pockets and letting my legs hang loose while riding, because I suspected that when I sit more upright and roll my thighs in to grip like I was taught to do, I'm causing those muscles in my hips and thighs to fatigue. I think my riding technique worked, because I was able to swing my right leg over on the first try when dismounting, and I even cleared both the cantle and Rock's rump. I even made sure that I went for a long ride to give my hip and leg a chance to flake out on me. I saw one of my neighbors was home, so I figured that if I couldn't dismount, I could ride over to her and ask her to lift my leg and push it over for me. Fortunately, I didn't have to do that. Also, if I get into that predicament again where I can't dismount, and no neighbor is around to help, I can always ride over to the fire station to get some help. It's only a couple of blocks away.
I haven't tried yet, but I'm pretty sure I can't dismount from the other side if my right leg gives out, because if I have a hard time putting weight on it, I can't stand in the stirrup on it while I swing my good leg over. I usually stand on my left leg in the stirrup, and once the right leg is over, I lean across the saddle, pull my left foot out of the stirrup and hop down, landing on my left foot. Then I limp off, because my right hip and thigh are in too much pain to put weight on them. The pain goes away pretty quick if I keep walking and gradually stop limping. It might be something a chiropractor can fix.