Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Know thy self, know thy horse

Many of us who ride come across times where issues will come up with our horses where we are unsure if we are dealing with a physical or a behavioral issue. It can be incredibly frustrating not to mention expensive to sort it all out. If praying for the anomaly to magically disappear doesn't work, we are left with endlessly analysing the issue in our minds, annoying anyone who will listen with the details and then perhaps bringing in the specialists.

The dilemma is, if your horse is misbehaving, you may need to push through the behavior, but if your horse is sore, you really need to stop and fix the issue if you what if you are not sure?

My Miss Tea has left me wondering what the heck is wrong with her more times than I can count. To my own defense, I am dealing with a hypochondriac of a horse--she can be seriously over dramatic.

Melman and Miss Tea would get along fabulously.

She will definitely not hesitate to let you know she is uncomfortable, and quite possibly dying. When her teeth are floated, she will be found with her head in the corner of her shelter, leaning on the wall, and will not move for TWO DAYS.

If I change her tack in anyway, lunge first or regret my fool heartedness. Seriously. Different saddle = buck. Different girth = buck. Different saddle pad = buck(just to let me know she's paying attention).

I have had this horse since she was 6 months old, and 7 years later, I can say I am catching on to her form of communication. It was actually quite simple--uncomfortable in any way = buck. Great, I like simple math. But then there was the overwhelming task of figuring out what nuances in her bucking style meant so we could possibly, oh I don't know, something like MOVE FORWARD with her training?!

Who me? I don't know what that human is talking about, I'm perfect.

When I was first training her, bucking happened when introducing the canter. Not that uncommon in horses and we got through it after a few months. From there she was fabulous for about a year, and then came up sore. The soreness first presented itself as bucking in the canter. She would initially start to canter just fine, but then it would feel like a moment of panic and then bucking. I eventually discovered it was a back issue and was luckily back to riding after about two months.

Another type of buck I have come to know is the "you are not riding good enough" buck. Usually this presents itself after a jump where my timing was off.

And then the "I think I would rather just trot today" buck where the tail gets involved and she basically gives my legs the finger.

At the end of the day though, I feel encouraged to know I am better equipped now to tell when she is hurting versus being naughty, when to push and when to back off. This horse just keeps bringing on the lessons!

No comments:

Post a Comment