Boomer and I went for an unexpectedly long ride today! I showed up at the barn as two of the ladies were just tacking up to go out. Emily has a 13 year old warmblood and Julie has a 3 year old with just over 30 days on him. We walked around the pond and grassy jump field and explored and practiced being good. It is sort of disheartening for me to have as much attitude and trouble from my horse as Julie did from her baby green horse. Part of life with an Ay-rab, I suppose. He was just occasionally getting excited and jigging when we headed towards the barn. We would back up and he was fine. We walked Julie back to the barn and then Emily and I went back out to trot and work up a sweat. That went really well for the most part. I tried cantering in the open field a few times, but that was just too much for Boomer's poor little pea brain. So, we stuck to trotting and I had him going really well after 20ish minutes. I did have to get off to tighten his girth and he spooked at the stirrup hitting the girth AGAIN! It is the stirrup on the off side, so he humps up and jumps towards me and forward which makes it difficult for me to stay out of the way and get over to the other side to show him where the noise is coming from. He is so dang round that the saddle kept slipping and I had to tighten the girth several times!
We rode for a total of about 2 hours, with most of it being trotting. Towards the end, it was ME who gave out first!!! I have a 'floppy ankle' from a jogging incident in college and apparently, it has lost strength. At first, my stirrups felt funny, like they were adjusted wrong (they were fine for the first hour and 50 minutes!), then all of a sudden, I realized that my ankle was rolling every time I stood up to post. So, we ended up walking and heading back to the barn. It wasn't bad though, we were already heading back to the barn and walking was good for all of us!
The part of the day that really irritates me is that I had to have Emily help me get him saddled. He still is spooking at the saddle pad, and with all of the wind we are having I need someone to hold him and hold the pad while I get the saddle up on him. I feel so ridiculous. My horse acts like a 2 year old who has never been saddled up before and I need help tacking up.
Though, the ride was really good for him because we went all over the place instead of just doing a lap and heading back. He really couldn't guess where we were going or when we were going to turn home. Since we walked back once to drop off Julie, then went back out that seemed to help him stay calm on the walk back in when we were really done. He walked in on a loose rein the whole way back!
When we got back to the barn, I hosed him off and then sacked him out with the saddle pad. I thumped it all over his back, belly, neck and legs. He was fine with it the whole time. The ting about Boomer that gets to me is that I KNOW he is doing his bad behaviors on purpose because he ONLY does them before we ride. He has NEVER pulled back after we were done riding and he is never spooky about his tack/fly spray/etc once we are done riding. It is all evasive behavior and he is just too damned smart! I suppose one solution is to lunge the hell out of him, then tack him up, then ride. But, that just seems like too much of a hassle. I just want a normal horse!!!
I'm just going to keep on working with him and hope he continues to improve. Really, he is already better than he was a few weeks ago when he flew backwards at the sight of the saddle.