As soon as Rodney feels a rider aboard, he tucks his head into a dressage frame and marches off. If this were the beginning of a diligent work ethic, awesome. Unfortunately, it is the first hoofstep into a ever-tightening spiral of tension that ends with Rodney shutting down and going to his happy place.
Therefore, we have gone back to kindergarten. We stand by the mounting block. We do weave poles. We watch Milton work. I have even sat on him while doing the above. The goal is simple (very. very. oh so very. simple.) exercises to show him that he can have Positive! Experiences! under tack.
Given that the AECs have passed us by for the fourth year, I’m happy with his progress. A few days ago he gave a release yawn with the bit in his mouth. It confused him. Yawn = happy. Bit moving = weird.
Nationals is coming at the end of the month. Given all the excitement at home, I have missed this year’s Boot Camp [Begins]. Instead, I have asked if I can have daily lessons Tues through Friday for the two weeks until we leave.
Even if this effort fails to make a difference in Tennessee, it will be an interesting experiment. I have not ridden that intensively since I was a working student back when we all rode eohippi.
I realize this directly conflicts with my stated desire never to get on another horse ever again. Welcome to the inside of my head.
Milton has been a star. He lunges. He long-lines. He goes for walks. He takes everything in stride. Oh sure, he’s had moments of being young &/or ignorant. But everything in the barn, in hand, or at work has been within expected parameters. He does not give the slightest indication that he can go from zero to hellspawn in less than three seconds.
After Nationals, I hope to sit down with my saddle seat instructor to plan a campaign for Milton: work him here, take him over there, find a cowboy, etc. I’m still nowhere near wanting to ride him again, but there is a lot of progress that can be made elsewise.