Well, Week #2 with Ezhno came around… and my horse turned into a jerk! D:
But first, the good part: the Show Buddy and I had our jump lesson Monday morning. Belle was a star! She raced around like a bat out of hell on the lunge line and then was a complete pro under saddle. The Trainer had us start out jumping over two cross rails at an angle so that we were traveling in a straight line, then we added strides in by creating a bending line between them. I remembered to count our strides, the Pony put in plenty of effort, and we had a lot of fun gallivanting around together over some easy jumps.
Ezhno, on the other hand, was a Grade A PITA. Now that he’s settled in at the stable, he’s got a bit more confidence under his belt—in fact, he’s got attitude to spare. I hopped on for a ride after my lesson with Belle and he was locking up around the bit, getting stuck behind my leg, bracing whenever I lifted my hand, drifting off of the wall, and just generally throwing tantrums. I ended things on a good note (we walked over some of the cross rails!), but vowed to get back at him…
Tuesday rolled around and I complained about his poor attitude to the Trainer and then gave her a demonstration of his sass during our private lesson. Poor guy probably thought he was going to get away with his behavior scot-free, but instead he got a couple of licks from a dressage whip to push him out in front of my leg, followed by a long deserved battle over moving his shoulder away from my leg aid (spoiler: it made him really mad).
I tapped out after about ten minutes of struggling and then the Trainer climbed aboard. They got into a pretty nasty fight and the Trainer’s well tuned sense of timing got her a little bit further than me, but in the end we dragged him out to the round pen, snapped on some side reins, and ran him ragged. 100 rollbacks later (use those muscles, man! move those feet!), the Trainer schooled him on his turns on the hindquarters from the ground before she climbed back on and had a much more successful battle with him over his lateral work.
Wednesday I lunged Ezhno in the round pen and worked on his ground manners, but our ride was disappointing. I took Belle out onto the track with The Show Buddy and another boarder instead. The Pony and I tackled some of the obstacles (a couple of logs to step over, a big mound she had to jump onto and then jump off of, a big tent you walk under, barrels you turn around and back through) and cantered around the track a bit, then did some arena work (simple lead changes, small figure 8’s, hand gallop, hard stops from the canter, etc.). It was a great reminder that I was supposed to be having fun with my new horse.
I went into Thursday with a more positive attitude—what’s the point of getting a handsome new horse if you’re not going to enjoy it? I set aside the dressage whip (it was making Big Horse nervous) and stopped worrying about our laterals. I cantered him for the first time (whoa man, why you got to jump into the canter?) and he had some trouble picking up the left lead, but was otherwise a good boy! Then the Show Buddy and I went outside again and I took Ezhno up the big mound, under an overhang of flapping flags, and through the pool noodle obstacle (like this one). He was so level-headed, it was a complete reminder of how his stellar personality drew me to him in the first place—AKA much needed bonding time!
Friday Ezhno and I took the day off. 🙂
Saturday the entire stable was jam-packed with horse trailers. There were riders everywhere—apparently there was a barrel racing event happening that I didn’t know about! I tacked Ez up in a very out of place dressage saddle, led him out to the busy warm up ring, and mounted up. Things were going well—and then Big Horse spotted a tiny Shetland pony with an even tinier rider and bright pink tack and his brain pretty much melted! He did a surprisingly athletic spin and spook, but I pulled him up quickly and made him turn and face the little devil pony. There was a lot of wiggling and snorting. Only a few minutes later he spooked sideways when someone turned on the water in the wash rack, but after that he settled down. We kept working until I got a few laps of focused trotting from him, then we called it a day.
It was a very overwhelming morning for the big horse. I didn't know it when I came out to ride, but apparently there is a barrel racing competition happening at our barn today! We rode in the warm up ring with a lot of other horses. Ez had a couple of impressive spooks, but he held it together pretty well, over all. I think it was the most activity he's been around. It was great exposure for him! #horse #horsesofinstagram #gelding #palomino #palominopaint #Ezhno
Sunday, on the other hand, was very quiet. We were the only one out in the arena, so we had plenty of time to buckle down and get some good conditioning work done. We did a lot of long, low trotting, plus he got a mid-ride lunge when he started getting a bit too stubborn for his own good under saddle. Then I hopped back on and gave cantering a shot a couple of times (still not a lot of it, just a few strides here and there). By the time we were done he was nice and sweaty, so he got to have a nice rinse before I put him away for the day.