Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tonka bucked today. Butthead. Actually the name that came out of my mouth when he did it was a little less friendly.

We had walked out about a mile or more to let him check out the sights and to get me some exercise. Then I got on to ride home. He was in a bit of a hurry, broke into a trot without being asked many, many times. So I'd flex him down, flex his head all the way around to the left, to the right, to the left, to the right, etc, until he did not take a step forward when his head was facing forward. Then I'd say "walk on" and we'd walk on.

He finally got tired of that and decided to buck. Luckily it was just once and wasn't anything huge or I'd probably not have sat it. Expletive escaped my mouth as I gave him the all-powerful one-rein stop which pulled him off balance and kept him from launching again. I must say, if you don't teach your horse anything else before you get on, teach them lateral flexion and hindquarter yielding! Pull that head around and kick that hip out of gear and you're good to go. Or stop, actually...

I was SO very tempted to get off. My heart was racing, I didn't know what he'd do when I let his nose away from my toe. I got my wits about me and made the right decision. Shakily asked for flexion to the other side, then walked on. The rest of the ride I employed a different tactic to keep him occupied and on-task. I asked for collection for a step or two, released, collected, released, whoa, walk on. The rest of the ride went quite well now that he had something to concentrate on other than hurrying home. I didn't have to shut him down with that one rein at all. When we got nearer home we practiced neck reining with a leg aid to show what I wanted. Zigged and zagged.
Once we were home I put him to work. Not so fun to hurry home that way, you know? We did some of the round pen work that I have not done with him in the past. Trotted circles in the round pen, asked him to stop and "come here." If he didn't come, he'd be sent back out to trot. He didn't quite hook up with me, but he was doing fine. We'll be doing more of that next time we go for a ride and get home.
After that I tied him to the trailer while I went to get the truck. He got to stand there while I backed up and hitched up the trailer. I was tempted to load him and make him ride up to the house, but I didn't know how much we were going to be sliding in the snow. So I put him away. At which time I realized two of his braids were under his saddle pad at the withers. I wonder if that had anything to do with the buck? I do know for a fact that he was throwing a fit, but maybe that added just enough aggravation to make him take desperate measures. Or maybe I'm just making excuses for him.

I got the trailer out of its snow prison! Minimal resistance from the snow. The drift in front of it had gotten down to about 6 inches and was soft so it was no problem. Wish I had somewhere to go!

Tomorrow I plan to go for a walk/ride with John and Mack (if John doesn't have to work) then either do some obstacles or round pen work and tie Bella with the Blocker tie ring. I might try trailer loading with Bella too since I'm still hitched up.

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