Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My horse is a jerk

Kidding, kidding!  He isn't really a jerk, but he sure is acting like it lately!  We went on a trail ride on Monday and he was great on the road going over bridges, through gates, etc.  A little after we turned back to head home (we were in the saddle for a little over 2 hours total) we had to go down a small but steep hill that we had come up on the way out.  Boomer went down it, and I just wasn't balanced.  I'm not good at going down hills I think.  Well, then he bucked. I went up on his neck, and when I came down I was off to the left and he bucked/jumped right.  Off I came, off he ran.  He did stop, to pee.  I caught him and got back on and he was a little stupid on the way home, but not that bad.  I know that there is no excuse for falling off except that I need to be a better rider.  Though, I can't help but wonder if having a saddle that was more 'trail type' couldn't help me be more balanced on obstacles.  My saddle now is a great little Crosby CC flat seat saddle.  There is no scoop to the seat, it is a little pitched forward, and there are no knee rolls.  It is great for jumping, showing, and flat work.  

On our ride today I borrowed Belinda's Abetta western saddle.  Now, I would never buy a synthetic saddle as I really love the feel and tradition of leather.  But, I thought it might be good to try a western saddle because I have considered a Circle Y Arab saddle.  I did feel more secure with the high cantle behind me.  The stirrups really hurt the outsides of my knees though.  I didn't have that problem with Sallie's western saddle on Pete even though it was brand new a cheap leather.  We did have to punch new holes in Belinda's stirrups to shorten them, I wonder if they were too short.  

Boomer was a real ass on this ride today.  We headed up the road and got about a 1/4 mile and he started going sideways, backwards, down in the ditch, etc.  I was kicking and popping him with my reins and he was just getting madder and madder.  He wouldn't follow the other horses either.  I tired getting off and walking.  He still wouldn't go north up the road.  So we walked a circle and headed back.  We passed the road to the barn and continued south because I wanted him to know that he wasn't winning by getting to go back to the barn.  He didn't fight at passing the barn road at all.  When we turned around to head back north TO THE BARN, he freaked out again.  In some lady's yard, when she was standing there watching us with her dog.  Finally, I just kept him backing up when he started going back away from the road.  I got him backed up onto the road and he turned him around and he was a little slow, but he went.  I was so frustrated.  I just don't have the confidence I need to deal with that.  In the arena, I wouldn't hesitate to get after him and get what I wanted.  But on a road, in someone's yard, 1/4 mile from a highway, I just can't do it.  I am afraid that he will step into  the drainage ditch and hurt himself, I am afraid of getting thrown off and him running out to the highway, you just can't know what could happen.  I know people who may think, oh you just need to have better control of him and that starts at home.  Well, he is a gentleman in the arena, and I can move his hips and shoulders wherever I point them.  But, when he doesn't want to do something, I can't force him.  This is the first time he has ever acted like that and I don't know what his problem was.  We went down the same road on Monday and he was fine.  It is hard to work on something like that when you are in an uncontrolled situation  like being on a road or trail.  Though, after I backed him and got him going again, he was fine for the whole rest of the ride.  We rode the barns trails for about an hour and he was fine going through mud, standing so I could get a water from Belinda and hand it back, and he didn't even freak out when he had a vine wrap around his back leg!  Overall, he was very good, but there was still that ass in him that I hate to see.  

Back to the saddle issue, I did feel very secure with the cantle of the saddle being so high, but it really hurt my knees.  I am just not sure a western saddle is the right choice for me.  I don't know if it was stirrup length, position, or twist, but it wasn't good!  Sallie's cheap western saddle didn't torque my knees too badly and I was the one breaking it in!  So, even though I don't actually have the money to spend on another saddle, I am trying to choose between the Arabian Saddle Co Solstice and the Circle Y Mojave Arab saddle.  The Solstice has a nice deep seat, longer flaps, and small knee rolls.  It looks like it would really hold you in a comfortable position.  It almost seems like a dressage saddle to me.  It would have the stirrups I am used to and the feel I am used too.  It is also fully customizable and is custom fit to your horse.  Price: $2300.  The Mojave is a western saddle built on an arab tree.  Not much else to know about it.  Price: $1500.  

I really want the Solstice, but it really is cost prohibitive.  Though, if I have learned anything in my years it is that spending money on a good saddle/tack is worth it as they can last for decades if well taken care of.  

To sum up my life right now: Chemistry is hard, my horse is bad, and I want a new saddle.  


Shanster said...

Oh I'm sorry! I know EXACTLY what you are talking about. Because it isn't so much me coming off (as much as it bruises my ego and I'm so stiff the next day) but the WHAT IF'S about being in the wide open world.

Cars and fences and drainage ditches and all that stuff that can maim and kill!

I sucked it up and rode Rosso up the road to my trainer's barn to clean stalls and rode him home. I remembered to sit deep and breath and relax my shoulders but still... he spooked good twice and was being a twit... running sideways, going backwards etc.

I did the disengage the hip thing... and granted I hadn't been able to ride for 2 weeks due to mud and rain and wet... nothing bad happened. We made it where we wanted to go... but still... the what if's really get ahold of me when I'm on a road like that and you have minimal room and obstacles...

Well he's been so good for so long... hopefully it was just a bad day. We can only ride the horse we have on any given day eh?

Good luck with the saddle decision.... test as many as you can before you commit!

Hang in there!

Heather said...

Thanks, it makes it a little better know it isn't just me!

I feel like I can get him stopped and under control, but he just flipped out again as soon as I asked him to walk again. I'm sure I could have gotten him to walk through the yard we were in, but when you are on the road, you only have two options, in front and behind. It makes things much more specific and easier for them to rebel against. I can't just say "as long as you are walking, I don't care where you go".

Shanster said...

Right! Like I would have loved to move Rosso off in a big canter circle and work him a little but where can you go? Nowhere really.

He got sorta fizzy as we got closer to home and I did some small circles in each direction and asked him to leg yield and did some S figures... and that helped get his mind back but yea... if a car was coming or some other "distraction" there isn't room - like you say - either forward or back!

dazey said...

Training in an arena falls far short of what is needed to teach a trail horse. Please allow me to recommend Basic Training for a Safe Trail Horse with subtitle of Eliminating the Fear Factors. It is a small inexpensive paperback narrative with instructions about how to teach a horse to be as safe as a horse can be. It also has some advice about trail tack and other equipment. It shows how you can relate to your horse as his alpha mare herd member, which means you can do without longe lines or round pens. It is available at or questions may be sent to the author at where an autographed copy of the book is available as well.

RTcareersally said...

Two steps forward, and one step back! Tomorrow will be better.

RTcareersally said...

Two steps forward, and one step back. Next time will be better!