Tuesday, October 14, 2008
My playtime with Mack went really well today. He is such a scaredy-cat! I never would have thought he'd be harder to deal with in that respect than the two green mustangs, but he is. I got out my flag (a garbage bag at the end of a short whip) because he was sluggish when I asked him to circle me at a walk. He blew a gasket, scrambled all over the place and bucked a couple times. We worked with the flag for about an hour. He got to where I could rub his head, neck, shoulder, kinda sorta his girth area and legs, and tap the saddle with it. Not totally relaxed, but he was at least blinking and watching, not standing like a stone. I finally had the inspiration to take it off the whip and he was much less worried about it then. He is afraid of whips, I knew that already. I shouldn't have brought the whip and the bag in at the same time, let alone attached to each other...
Then I did my pre-flight checklist. Lateral flexion of the neck he knows like a pro. Leg cues, not so much. He's almost always been ridden with spurs. And apparently he was dull even with spurs. So we'll have to work on that. We did make some progress, I think.
I got on and did the same things, with the same results, but the leg cues were even worse with my leg rather than my hand pressing on him. His front end worked alright but hind end was very sticky. Vertical flexion could use some work, but only took a few reminders to get him to give consistently.
His walk is weird. I'm used to Tonka's big strides. I had the same feeling on the quarter horse at my riding lessons. Short strided, kind of stubbing the feet into the ground.
His whoa could also use some work. Sit back and say whoa three times and then tug a rein, then he'll stop.
I find it odd to say, but this guy may be too much horse for me. An older broke domestic too much for me, when I ride a green mustang? Maybe. He's high strung and he is athletic. Not a great combo for a trail horse. Change of direction on a dime, at speed, is not what I'm after. If I ever consider a performance bred horse again, slap me. Hopefully with more consistent work he'll be less spooky. I can handle a forward horse, but don't much like a sideways horse. :)
When we were done he was following me around like a puppy and looking relaxed, happy, and curious about what was in the tack room. I think we did good.