One Step Forward, Two Steps Sideways

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I finally, finally convinced Rodney to walk quietly around his own pasture. The result is … frustrating.

On the plus side, Rodney is relaxed. He carries his head down & out. He moseys along. The reins lie on his neck. I have one hand on the buckle. If needed, I pick up one rein or the other to steer. Occasionally, I pick up both reins for a moment to get his head back in the game.

So what is the problem?

Rodney may be chill, but he is a chill corkscrew. Walking away from the barn, he tries to turn back. Walking toward the barn, he bends his shoulder toward the barn as if magnetically attracted. At all times, he plays The Path Is Lava. Walk to the left. Steer. Walk to the right. Steer.

He does this at a) super-slow speed 🙂 b) & constantly 😦 .

I understand resistance. Rider asks horse to do X, which is hard. Horse suggests Y, which is easier. Depending on the situation, rider either insists or adjusts. In this case, I am asking Rodney to walk quietly, in a straight line, along paths he walks every day of his life. What he choses to do is harder.

Rodney is actively working to make life more difficult for himself.


Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

3 thoughts on “One Step Forward, Two Steps Sideways

  1. Rodney probably thinks walking in a straight line along paths he walks every day is about as interesting as dirt. I say go with it. He veers left, go left, left, left. He veers right, go right, right, right. Eventually going straight and where you asked will seem much “easier.” If you haven’t asked him to work at a faster speed and maintain that speed (read as: ready to reinforce your request), then he’s learned he can pick his own pace and you’re OK with it. I wonder if he’s thinking, “Who’s that person up there on my back? Oh, she’s just the passenger. She’s good with whatever I choose.” In dog training there’s this old saying : You get what you train. 😉

  2. @Joan. Milton is stepping up well, isn’t he?

    @rontaru. With any other horse, I would agree. With Milton, I do the ‘Oh, did you want to circle? I didn’t think so.’ Works a treat. With Rodney, not so much. He puts the special in snowflake.

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