Just came in from my ride. It was a little frustrating. Except the last 20 minutes, I guess.
We went out at a walk-trot, with lots of trot right up to the point we turned around Monday. Then walked for another 11 minutes (32 minutes out) to a new distinguishable marker. Turned around and walked back that same distance in 35 minutes. 1 hour 7 minutes return, approximate distance 7km. Or put another way:
On the way out we were moving well until we crossed the highway and got onto the railway line. Then he started to weave all over the trail, head held high, looking at everything, acting totally stupid. His walk and trot were pathetic, and then at one point, he decided that the cars, the cows, the birds, pretty much everything, was out to get him, and he put on a nice little show of bucking and weaving. Oh I was angry and a little worried, but pressed on, pushing and pushing and working us all the way to that marker. I was weaving through trees, stepping over logs, trying to keep his focus on me and not on all the other things in the world that seemed to be worrying him.
Then when we turned around.
And he was the opposite horse, of course.
I was working hard to hold him back. Now I was fighting the opposite battle, hanging on his mouth, his head still up in the air, ears pricked for every sound in the wind. Luckily this battle didn’t last that long, maybe 10 minutes and then as we got closer to home, into more familiar territory, he dropped his head, relaxed and walked quite calmly all the way home.
TK’s side of the story:
Weather: Now, I realise that there was weather coming and wind and rain can make some horses silly – I was actually afraid we might get dumped on – but he lives in the weather, so why can’t he live with it if I’m riding him?
Cows: I knew he was afraid of sheep, and now it seems he’s also afraid of cows. I might ask a friend if I can just put him in with her cows for a few days to kill this problem, because seriously, what horse worth his salt is afraid of cows?!
Vulnerability: Horses are herd animals and take strength in numbers, and here he is out alone in an “unknown” place… he is completely vulnerable to wolves and lions. Hard to convince a horse that there are no wolves or lions in Australia. But disappointing that he doesn’t see me or MD (My Dog) as enough of his herd to feel safe. He just wanted to get back to his safe place and herd mate.
My response, of course, was “I’m willing to be patient to an extent, but I still expect you to do what I say.”
I’m glad I set this horse thing as a priority, because there’s no way we’d be successful without going through all this junk now, when we have time to still work on it!
Anyway, off to the gym for a run on the treadmill. That weather looks nasty!