Friday, June 15, 2012

High Hopes

After Brian's great ride on Laredo on Tuesday, I was keen to try him out Thursday. Unfortunately, I had an irritating work week, and while I wasn't aware of being tired or short-tempered when we left for the barn, I was probably both of those things. Then there were a few things that did nothing to help me snap out of it right when we arrived. Steen decided to behave like an idiot by bursting past Brian into the stall herd lot and proceeding to gallop around like a fool for several minutes. This got Laredo somewhat bothered, and even after my dear moronic paint was contained, our youngster continued to be more fidgety and restless pre-ride than we'd ever seen.

Out on the strip, things got better. Laredo and I did some groundwork and got a number of things working better than ever before. So I climbed on, and proceeded to be disappointed. I think the problem was I had gotten on expecting too much. The ride did not start off well. Laredo was still a little riled, and picked up the trot on me four or five times within the first few minutes. I handled this by either one-rein stopping him or going with the trot but making him go longer than he wanted to.

The ride continued to be just a little off, but the main issue was that Laredo was not backing. Instead he responded to any pressure on the bit by rooting and/or falling asleep.

Given the fact that I was tired and perhaps predisposed to be irritated, the rooting and leaning got to me in a way it shouldn't have. I got irritated, and instead of working on more positive things and returning to backing at intervals, I tried to tackle the problem head-on. I think part of my reason for doing this is I am used to working with adult horses who have training problems, not young horses who haven't been trained. While dwelling on something until it improves might help with an older horse, with a young one I think it pays more to get a tiny change and move on to something else.

I worked on backing a lot. I would pick up light pressure on the bit and hold and hold and hold and hold and hold and hold and hold and hold. Laredo would seem to fall asleep, lean on the bit, look at something slightly to the left, lean some more, doze off, and finally take a step back. I'd praise him and tell him how good that was, and try again.

It never got any better. Not at all. Over the whole course of the ride.

Lots of other things were going fine. If not for the backing problem, it would have been my best ride on Laredo yet. We walked some nice circles, and for the first time when I had him trotting he seemed to find a rhythm, which was a nice change. He was quite soft laterally.

But the backing. It was driving me crazy.

After a while I got off and working on backing off the slobber strap. That went really well, and after a few minutes he was moving off a feel.

I got  back on and tried from his back.

No change. Root. Lean. Doze. Stamp.

In the end, I gave up. I switched to whirly-gigs, and got a few where he actually tried to  bring his front through. Then I called it a day.

Ride Time: 1:00
Horseback hours YTD: 67:20

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