I don’t know why the English (and Scots & Irish) call “wanting to turn back” or stopping at a fence napping, but they do. Rags has not previously been really bad about that, but today…today he was *determined* to turn back and we had several tussles that involved stopping, whirling around to try for it, backing when asked to go forward. Nothing was scaring him, and he didn’t act as if anything was hurting, but just “I don’t wanna!” and refusing to go forward. No snakes, no vultures, no deer, not even mice or small birds. However, the old gray mare in the saddle dealt with all of these attempts, both the brief and the longer ones (several complete tiny circles were etched in the ground for those.) This is one of those times I’m glad to have a full-cheekpiece snaffle in his mouth and not a loose-ring snaffle: the ring the rein is attached do can’t be pulled through his mouth when I have to haul his head around. I know I could be mistaken about something hurting or some smell or sound bothering him (the wind was picking up and it was warm) but the quick and easy movement between attempts to end the ride is against anything serious.
I had planned a shorter ride, so that I’d have energy for some posting trot, so we found ourselves at the low end of Diagonal, and started trotting maybe a third of the way to Center Walk. I sat a few strides of a joggy trot then he moved up a gear and I started posting. All was going well when he tripped and nearly went down in front (well, he did go partway down) and I had a bit of struggle to stay on top of him, but I did, and he got back up, and then we started off at a trot again. My posting is improving and his trot (other than the trip) is improving as he becomes accustomed to the posting. I posted longer today than I did Friday, and I can feel both the posting muscles and the ones I used to stay up when he went down in front telling me they were overused.
Aside from the napping and the stumble that was almost a fall, it was a lovely late afternoon ride with a cooling breeze though it was warm enough to give Rags a good sweat under the saddle and some on his neck. Bluebonnets are scattered around–not in the masses they would be after a wetter winter and spring, but they’re there and they were releasing their lovely fragrance this afternoon. Blue-eyed grass is also blooming and so is prairie verbena (and intense purple.) When he wasn’t stopping, whirling, backing, and just generally being a moderate PITA (a serious PITA would include reading, bucking, and bolting) , riding Rags was just as fun as usual. Once on the way home (leaving out the stumble-fall thing) he was forward and eager. I’m hoping (and actually assuming, because this is how horse training works) that he will eventually quit with the nappiness and become a cooperative partner for our adventures. Patience is essential…he needs to finish every ride happy and not sulky…happy not because he got his way, but because on the whole it was rewarding
The farrier’s coming tomorrow morning, which is good. Tigger’s hooves look long; Rags’s don’t, but he’s been tripping more the last few rides, which means he’s long *for him*. Mr. Harbi had texted me, but I called after I came in from the ride, and thus hadn’t seen the text. But yay. The boys are going to the vet on the 19th for shots, dental work, and another lameness exam for Tigger. This will put their feet in good order for that trip. It could be that Rags’ teeth are bothering him (they weren’t in good shape when I bought him, and we didn’t see the vet last year bc Covid and Laci being sick a lot so she couldn’t haul them. Also tomorrow morning is the HVAC guy for the non-working unit. Given the need to get up early and work on the horses before the farrier comes, I think tonight will be an ibuprofen night. (added after supper: I KNOW tonight will be an ibuprofen night. WOW am I stiff and sore. But I didn’t fall off, and Rags got up OK, and we trotted some more after that. All good.
2 thoughts on “Ride 37: Rags Tries It On…Nappy Sunday”
There are so many areas where progress isn’t a straight upward line, maybe not even a wavy upward trend, but includes circling like Rags was. It is one of those things that I wish I had known when I was younger. Still it sounds like you are both making good solid progress, so yay!
Progress can be like a spiral spring, where you have to go around and around and around (feeling like miles of travel) to progress an inch. It can also dive underground completely, but the trainee is usually doing something he/she/it doesn’t understand but that will turn out to be accumulating something needed to make visible progress pretty fast later. I’ve heard an English dressage coach discuss the training scales in dressage (rhythm, suppleness, contact, impulsion, straightness, collection) in terms of steps, each one essential before you can accomplish the next: the pyramid model, but also (on a different occasion) as a circular (or spiral like model, in which you gain a little bit of suppleness, then a little bit of contact, and so on…and then work through the scale again, with a little more progress in each. (Except, never try for collection until you’ve solidified straightness…) You can’t actually get your horse really straight if it lacks impulsion, but you can be sure your riding position and use of aids communicate a desire for moving straight ahead, not wavering around a wiggly line. You can get a degree of suppleness in walk, if that’s the only gait your horse has a good rhythm in…and begin working on getting more elasticity, less rigidity, in the joints that initially have some ability that way.
Right now Rags has a very rhythmic walk, and now that we have some suppleness at walk (usually–the resistance still crops up), I’ve started on his trot. For horses with his hindquarter conformation, with the built-in hock wobble, a trot equal to his walk will be more difficult…getting him into real self-carriage in trot will take more hours than it would with Tigger, whose conformation favors self-carriage. Rags is a fast walker who gets his speed with quick steps, not with reach; Titter has a good natural overstride. Rags has the safer disposition.