Hot Rod is the man.
I can leave him in the pasture untouched for weeks, and then pull him out to find the exact same horse I left before. Okay, *almost* the same. He might be a little rough around the edges, but the training doesn’t go anywhere. So, with more consistent rides we’ve been working on newer training: lead changes, spins, and stops. He’s been doing great! A little on the fat and winded side, but still great. 🙂
However, he does have a tendency to anticipate things. Lately, it’s been lead changes, since that’s what we’ve been concentrating on. That’s totally my fault, and I take all the blame. I, too, have a tendency to anticipate the lead change and I’m sure he senses that. There’s nothing worse than anticipating a lead change, especially if it’s not a good one… My plan is to only ask for a change a couple times during the whole ride, in new locations in the arena, and also to attempt not to overthink it. As an over-thinker, my mind is my toughest opponent. More ride, less think.
One of the things on my goal list for the year was incorporating more outside riding. With that in mind, last week after my normal 30 minute ride on Hot Rod, I steered him down the drive and walked down the road to my neighbor’s house. They have a nice setup for roping, and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get us out of the arena and even off the property without hooking up a trailer. My neighbors were gracious enough to let me ride for a little while! It turned out to be a great experience for us. There was lots of scary, new stuff to look at, like chutes, goats, calves, and other new horses milling around. I love new, yet safe, ways like this to show my horse that I’m the leader and he can confidently look to me for guidance. I assured him that the tethered rope goat was not actually a hungry panther.
After we got real sweaty in their arena, we walked home with our heads held high. Well, mine was high. Hot Rod’s was pretty tired and low. Ha!
There is nothing better than a sweaty, tired horse in my book!
Everything has been going great with Hot Rod up until our last couple rides. Then, something shifted. He started swapping his leads and all his gaits felt choppy and labored. I’ve experienced this behavior before, and it can only mean that it’s time for his annual joint injection. Hot Rod has ringbone in his front right coffin joint. He stays in aluminum, roller motion shoes, and my farrier keeps a pretty square, rolled toe to help his foot leave the ground quickly, with ease. That, along with his annual injection manages the discomfort pretty well. I have to admit, I’ve pushed it too far this year… I had a good inkling when the chiropractor came as well. I made an appointment for next week, so until then Hot Rod is going to just hang out while Kona rides. Boo.
That’s okay, because all that training isn’t going anywhere on this guy. 🙂