Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Progress and Regress

January brought more cantering and less kicking out. One of my most memorable moments was being in the dressage ring when Spyder threw a rant. He kicked out, slid on mud, and fell down almost on his face. I somehow managed to stay on, but I think it was great for him to see what the consequences of acting up. From that moment on during that lesson, he was scared to act out.

Cantering had been put on hold because we went back to steering and bending work, but it was great to know that we had one entire lesson in January without complaints. It's very hard having an opinionated horse, but I am so glad that I have networked with enough standardbred owners to get input. I would say there was a ton of progress starting here and moving on into the other winter months.

February was a pretty cold and wet month so I didn't get to take any lessons. I didn't let the weather stop me and tried to get out as much as I could, but it was hard with the ground being frozen. There were a few rides where I was able to get on with snow on the ground, and it made me nervous at first, but Spyder didn't care about the snow. A few rides we just did some leisure rides without purpose since we had to find dry ground, and there was not a whole lot.

What was so great in January and March turned into a surprise of attitude for March. I had Spyder do an excited buck out on the track, and it was quite funny because it came from nowhere and he rode off like it didn't happen. March also brought more fits. Instead of kicking out, which we worked through at the canter over the winter, this is a new type of trick. - exploding? Spyder will jump in the air off all four feet to complain. We do work through it, but it's very frustrating because it seems to happen when he doesn't want to listen or get out a work. Feeding time makes it much more interesting and all steering gets thrown out the window.

I've networked with people saying that they have the same issues, but what do you do? Everyone in the horse world has their own advice. Ride like nothing happened vs. spur him - don't say anything and keep riding vs. yell and make a scene. For now, I make a loud noise since that's what we do on the ground when he shouldn't be doing something. He KNOWS about things that he shouldn't do (like be mouthy), but he can't help himself. He will be mouthy and then pull his head back because he knows he is going to get an unpleasant sound coming his way. This makes me nervous in the event that this is his new trick because if he wants to do it, I fear he isn't going to care of the consequence. Hopefully it's just another phase like his kicking out, and we will get through it.

I know that we got through the kicking out and a lot of the grumpiness, BUT this is going to be a new hurdle to overcome. We did get off the farm to end March, and it went pretty well. AC 4-H had a fun show, but I just went to ride around and get a feel for Spyder off the farm this season. In the ring, he listened pretty well, and had 1-1.5 of his fits, but I think I'm starting to learn how to handle it. I'm excited for what spring is going to bring! :) Need to get to jumping, but behaving is first in line.