Work Ethic

Last night I was lucky enough to have a trainer around to see O pull her new trick on me. She did it the last one or two rides, and I kind of thought it might just be a mare thing and continued to ignore it.

Patientially waiting for our ride, pre-attitude.

Patientially waiting for our ride, pre-attitude.

Before yesterday it had been some nasty faces at horses in the ring, balking at random times, and just giving me attitude. Now, she tis throwing her head around every stride or too, snapping at the air (while I am on her), and would slam on the brakes when I used my leg to attempt to send her forward. I was not pleased.

My trainer watched for a bit, and the conclusion came that each time I asked O to do something, she was retailating with this behavior. Bump with the heel to go forward, she hunches her shoulders and tries to stop. Ask for the inside bend around a corner, I get a nasty face and head toss. The solution = ride her until she gave up on these new tactics. Hence began our 25 minutes of figure eights and serpentines to engage both her mind/body and convince her she doesn’t have time to be nasty. She wasn’t a fan, and spent about 21 of those minutes continuing to test me, and ruffle my feathers.

The last 4 minutes were really nice.

Ah-ha!  I think I get it!

Ah-ha! I think I get it!

My trainer definitely things there is a serious lack of work ethic in O due to the past 6-7 months of her not being in continuous work. Now that we are asking more of her, she’s retailating. Also, we think she’s bored. I’m going to break out the poles for our next couple of rides and see if that occupies her brain more.

I'm bored, and therefore will help you clean tack.

Is this edible?

I’m not upset with her at all, I totally get it. If I was allowed to be lazy and not go to work for that long with no consequences I would definitely struggle being thrown back into it. Only two more weeks until final decisions are made about what the next step is!

12 thoughts on “Work Ethic

  1. We’ve increased our work load slightly recently and I’m getting the attitude too, but we’re working through it. I know just what you mean about the nice 4 min at the end of the ride! Good luck.

  2. I have the same problem, my gelding who has not been in work for 2+ years is throwing fits. I rode him on trails over the summer to build some muscle and get him out, but now that we are at a new barn and he is closer to home (which means 5 days a week of riding) he isn’t happy. He loves to jump, but before we tackle that he needs to learn to listen to me, not shake his head and throw fits. Its a constant battle of tug of war with the reins and were working on a quick-release method my trainer suggested. He has a problem keeping himself at a steady pace, and just wants to go, go, go. Where in a trot you say woah, pull back on the reins and immediately give once he slows. But it isn’t progressing quickly…its still a battle. Hopefully in the long run he will give in and learn life is a lot better not struggling against me. But in the meantime, its an embarrassing ride as well as not very encouraging. SO, we keep trying.

    • It’s interesting that our horses have the same attitude issue, but display it in very different ways (yours wants to go, mine wants to stop). We typically operate on a quick release idea too, and I’ve been trying to be very “giving” to her lately. However, it has only helped a small amount. Glad to hear someone is in the same boat as us! Got to keep phsing onward!

  3. Good luck. 🙂 Moody horses can be painful at times.
    Can you break up your routine a little? Go for a nice relaxing ride out and ride her on the buckle, take her to the beach or set up an obsticle course? When my TB gets a bit moody with me I do light ridden work and focus on desensitizing him (chaff bags, umbrellas, bicycles, sheep, alpacas, prams, small children haha), or I will take him to the beach or out to the national park for a ride. It gives him something new to think about for one or two sessions and when we start back in the arena, his focus is back and the attitude is gone, quite possibly because he is unsure if I am going to make him face scary horse eating monsters or not. Either way it works for us. 🙂

    • I like that idea! I’ll try to mix some new material back into her life in our next rides. It gets hard when it’s dark at 5:30, and our indoor isn’t huge, and I just want to be lazy.. But I’ll try! Thanks for the advice! 🙂

  4. Pingback: Real Work | A Gift Horse

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