Day before yesterday he started out very big, I thought he might fall when lunging. He just couldn't contain himself. He was really scattered. He got it together enough for me to get on. Well, 'Hello Mr. Timebomb'. So we walked around, bend left, bend right, make a circle. Halt, give, relax and go on. He was just starting to get it together, when a friend came by to watch. She had all kinds of advice. Lots of it wasn't really applicable to this horse, but she means well. Much of what she had to say was in direct conflict with what Carrie has me doing. So, I'd give a try to the stuff that wasn't in direct conflict, and kind of ignore the rest. This woman could really get me hurt. I really don't think she 'sees' the horse I'm sitting on. I could be wrong, but I really don't think Carrie is.
One of the basic tenants of riding Top per Carrie, is if he gets out of shape, or builds...just halt. Hold, I don't mean pull, but hold until he gives and then release. Once he releases pet him and go. If he pops up or pulls, immediately halt, and wait till he gives and try forward again. Pretty simple. It really helps him. As soon as I halted, and Top is leaning against me she says, "Let go." I said, "No." She said, "Release." I said, "No, not until he gives and relaxes. Carrie said so." Yeah I know, pretty chicken shit invoking the name of Carrie, but it worked. She had other advice, like 'ride him deeper'. I told her this was as deep as he gets. And I don't want spurs, and I don't want a whip. We'll get. It may not be immediate, but we'll get it. He's had plenty of 'do it right now' to last him a lifetime. That is part of his problem, or problems. He rushes, he builds, and he panics to the point of bolting, bucking...oh and rearing. That was a shocker. So, I figure slow down, and wait to see how it goes. I'm not on a schedule here. I don't have some big deadline to meet.
I want a horse that doesn't feel like he's on pins and needles through 60% of the ride. That's down for about 90%. So for me that's progress. The fact that he can stretch down, go on a loose rein and not pop up, invert and bolt is a big deal for me. I really didn't like that. He can also halt, and stand without wiggling, fidgeting and trying to walk off. Big progress. Okay, it's not like we can stand quiet for 5 minutes...but we can get more than a minute now.
Yesterday was tough. Really tough. A woman I know had her mare and new foal free running in the big arena. OMG...Top lost his mind. Was totally enthralled. Puffy, bouncy, jigging on the line. He made a couple circles around me. Drug me over to rail to see...huge eyed, fascinated. You'd of thought he was one of those foal stealing mares. "It's a baby, it's a baby...do you see. It's a baby!" Okay, we knew he was different, we just didn't quite know how different.
We finally get to the dressage arena. He's still beyond wound. I had trouble getting him to stand still enough to clip on the lunge line. Holy crap, what a bouncy worm he can be. Well, across the field, the bmx bikes are going. One end of the arena is baby fascination, at the other end scary flying bikes, with the metallic click of the starting gate and me with the goober in between. Man he really checks out hard. Spun is the term, I think.
I got him going pretty decent on the lunge after the momma and baby departed. So, I was feeling okay about getting on. I get on. He's a little tight and pushy. But it is workable. An ex-student is riding her gelding. He's a real goober too. He was having a bad day too. So, of course they are feeding off of each other. One does something stupid, so the other has to follow suit.
I have him going pretty decent. We're going down the long side. Student rides past Top at a slow lope. I mean slow, quiet, no big thing. She took the inside track and was just putting along. Top kind of lifts and goes to push through my hands to go with the other gelding. I half halt, and he is pissed. Sucks back, no nothing in the rein and his back hollows. It feels like the dashboard has just fallen out of your car. It is not a happy feeling. I think, okay don't change your position, just put your leg on and push him back up. Well, apparently that is Top's cue to rear. We are at the corner of the arena, just starting out turn. I guess I let out a yelp, I think I cussed and booted him and pulled his head around on the descent. My student looks over just has he's landing, and asks, "Did he go up?" I say, "Yeah, he did, bastard." Scared me. Not at my best when I'm shook.
Right back to work. She goes by again. He goes to repeat his antic. Uhm, no. I'm not maintaining my position. You suck back, I get a hold of you, turn your head and kick you forward now. It seemed to work. I got some soft work out of him. My student says, "I'd of called it there. He did that good. He needs to be done." I'm about to disagree with her, and realize she's right. It's the same thing I've said to her umpteen times. We got one more good, soft forward circle, and halted. I got off. Done for the day.
Looking back, what I felt was a rear, probably couldn't have been. We were moving, and bending into the turn. It had to be a very vertical jumping motion. Don't know, but know I don't like it.