I think we all knew it was in the cards for Boomer. At some point he was going to need a tune up.
As far as riding was going, he was doing great. Better each time I rode him and we were having a blast. However, his ground manners were shit. Also, he knows exactly how to manipulate me.
When riding, I have stopped being afraid of him and have gained enough confidence to push him through and silliness. So, he has pretty much stopped trying.
On the ground, he knows that all he has to do is give something the hairy eye, or twitch the wrong way and I will untie him right away and hurry up the tacking up process.
I'll give a quick synopsis of his shenanigans in the last few months. The first time I went to ride him after 6ish months off, he was great for both tacking up and riding. We did one easy lap around the pond. Second time, he pulled back when I walked towards him with the saddle. He spooked when I threw the pad over his back and raised his head so that I couldn't bridle him. Third time I just got on bareback since I didn't want to tack him up. When I got the new saddle, I had to saddle him up in a small paddock for the first 6-8 times because he was spooky like he had never seen a saddle before. He would run backwards as I would approach, would skitter sideways as I tried to adjust the saddle. It really pissed me off.
I really don't think any of this is a pain issue as he is a gem once we are riding. Granted, I have recently discovered how crooked I am. This surely causes him discomfort. However, he is NOT the kind of horse who would ignore or be passive if it were so painful he didn't want to work. He is fun and happy for our whole ride. He doesn't move while I mount up and doesn't resist under saddle. When my saddle fit poorly before as his topline developed, he would stand tense under me while I mounted and would shake his head and swish his tail.
The final straw was a few weeks ago, I threw the saddle over his back and he spooked into me at the cinch and stirrup falling on the other side. He stepped on my foot, the saddle fell off, and he almost ran me over. He had been getting SO MUCH BETTER about being saddled too. For the last few weeks he was standing still the whole time I saddled him, like he SHOULD. Well, it didn't end there.
The barn owner came over and held him for me so that I could resaddle. I got him cinched up and the barn owner walked off to finish chores. Boomer was standing with his head down and a calm expression. I asked him to move around me in a circle, as I always do, to get him to unbloat so that I can finish tightening the cinch. Well, instead of moving forward, he froze and flew backwards. He fell onto his side and then hopped back up. The lead rope never even pulled through my hand. It was like he had pulled back, but there was never an ounce of pressure on his face. He scratched up my brand new saddle. He also scratched up his knees and hock.
I was ready to send him through auction at that point.
I have NO desire to have such an unpredictable animal. None. I don't care what his reasons are for being a fruit. I expect him to behave like any other normal horse. If he can not behave like a normal horse, we are done. No excuses.
So, to boot camp he goes.
I told our trainer that I need her to find out if this is a behavioral thing that can be trained out or if it is a mental thing and is just who he is.
Last time he went to her, it was primarily for riding issues. We have had no problems with riding since he returned in November of 2009. I have high hopes that she can knock some sense into him.
For the record, this is not a natural horsemanship, hugs and kisses type of blog. If you don't want to read about my horse getting 'cowboyed up' go somewhere else. I know this animal well enough to know that he is smart. He takes advantage. He needs to be knocked down a peg. I have allowed him to believe he is above me on the food chain and he is about to learn the hard way that he is, in fact, pretty damn low on the totem pole.