Today Walka and I had a major break through. For 2 years now he has been challenging me when asked for more forward movement (walk to trot). While he is good with lateral yielding and very good with disengaging and getting good with vertical softness, he simply didn't want to trot (sometimes not even wanting to walk) in the round pen when I'm in saddle.
So when he first gave me issue, it came in the form of a mini rear and a warning buck. I was a bit stunned because he was always willing on the trail. So I eliminated the physical possibilities ... teeth checked , measured for a new saddle and got one (he had gained weight so I thought possibly the old saddle might be pinching him) and checked his back for any sore points.
So fast forward to today. My friend Questionable came over with her mare and we rode a little trail and then worked in the round pen. While working in the round pen I asked for trot and got a pop up and a buck. My friend encouraged me to meet his challenge and don't give in. So, with her spotting and encouraging I pushed him through his temper tantrum and he was giving a beautiful gliding trot. Just as smooth as could be. Yay!!!!
I never dared push him too much, didn't know if he would rear up and go over or buck so hard I'd go flying since I had been riding him for 4-5 years without a hitch. But he was all bluff! I even growled at him a few times and my friend laughed and said to do it again. The expression on his face was, "oh no, she's pissed now!".
Another thing I did was to slow my energy down and exaggerate my cues with him. He responded very well and seemed to understand what I was asking for. So I need to remember that he is not T and it will take it a little slower with him in that respect.
But I am so stoked I could fly! I am loving this horse and learning to trust him. One step at a time and with "a little help from my friend" just like the song.
Interesting to me is that I would never tolerate "insubordination" from T and would be very quick to deal with it, but with Walka I always was afraid to push him. Well , that's over now.
Thanks for reading and helping me too. There was/is so much info here that I draw from to help me look at things in a new way. So thank-you.