You see, I'm training Rosie all by myself from greener than green to a horse anyone can ride. She came into my world as a pushy, no ground manners, minimal steering and brakes.. well only on her terms. This was three summers ago. So I was afraid that Jodi, who in my opinion is a great instructor and trainer, would be all over me for things I've done wrong with my horses even though I feel like I've made great progress.
With Rosie the fundamental things I've been working on, rather insisting from her, is complete respect from the ground. I had to stop making excuses, not enough time, not the only one that handles her, she's young, she's HUGE.. the list keeps going.
The worst thing about her for the longest time was leading. She'd be all up in your space, run you over, not move away from pressure, another endless list. Let's just say, if you don't want your horse to do it, she did it.
Jodi was delighted at my progress with Rosie's ground training. She walks beside and slightly behind me on loose lead. When I halt she halts, immediately. If I want to move her over while leading I just put my fore arm against her shoulder and she steps over away from the pressure. She now stands still for grooming and tacking without tying, inside the barn and outside in the middle of where all the "barn" action happens. Today a bunch of kids were getting ready to go for a trail ride, and a gentleman was there repairing the tractor. Jodi's jaw dropped when I showed her the "Put your bridle on yourself" trick. This is a horse that would try to walk away, every time, when you removed halter, or bridle. Not.No.More !
On to the actual lesson. I had a list of things I wanted Jodi to evaluate and give tips. First of all, make sure I'm correcting clenched jaw and blowing through my aides correctly. I was, lots of circles and just make a wall/boundary with my hands and wait her out. Next on the agenda was her falling out on the forehand and feeling like concrete against my legs when trying to bend her. This is related to the clenched jaw, which is result of me clenching my jaw and putting death grip on the reins. Go figure that all this stuff is related to each other.
Jodi showed me how to fix both of these and by the end of the first one hour lesson my 2000 pound horse was doing self carriage again and felt like 2 ounces in my hands. She's bending around my leg and moving away from it. Her jaw and face was relaxed. I did an awful lot of repetition, for both Rosie and myself. I needed to relearn the "correct" and get faster at "correcting" but in the end I got it and was riding with a huge smile.
And then there is Bonnie.... Ya'll know that a bronc rider has to stay on for 8 Seconds right?
Well, I stayed on for 6 of those 8.
Not sure what happened, or why, but we were going along great. Good equitation, nice slow gaits, everything. Nice jogs, nice lopes. Was working on slowing down the lope, had already loped both directions several times, very nicely too. I was at the end of a walk break and as I came around a barrel I trotted out about 15 steps and asked for right lead lope and BAM! Two HUGE, her heels over my head, bucks! I probably would have recovered from that if she hadn't of thrown in another pretty huge crow hop which put me too far forward and heading off. I grabbed around her neck and swung my leg over and landed on my feet. I immediately went into big boss mare HUGE and moved her back very quickly, as well as around. Got back on and tried it again. This time I caught her as soon as she tried to drop her head and applied the emergency brake, aka one rein stop. Rinse and repeat and no more rodeo.
No idea what got into her. If something was pinching or hurting she should have reacted MUCH sooner than that. She was bitless, in western saddle. There hadn't been any tail wringing, head tossing, evading, bulking, rushing, nothing to indicate pain or even mild discomfort. Again, she was completely fine with loping off after that, either lead.