I rode Red Man yesterday and had several problems.
1. He spooks at tree branches.
I sent him for 60 days to be trail broke, then discovered yesterday that the moment a tree branch touches him it's OMG PANIC WE'RE ALL going to DIE time. He had a small rearing and bucking fit (I ended up bailing-on purpose) and the moment I was off and he was away from the branches, he was fine. Didn't take off, just wandered back over and waited around for someone to come and get him.
For some reason, he seems drawn yet terrified of them.
2. He's not SOFT
AT ALL. He'll turn and what not, but it's more like "GOD your making me TURN and I DON'T LIKE IT " not, "We are turning in a smooth, elegant manner. We are calm, collected, and comfortable" I ask with very light pressure from the heel on the outside, and neckrein him.
3. He decided to stop and not move an inch.
This was extremely frustrating for me. I don't carry a whip because I like as few things as possible to hold on to or have to balance. I do however wear soft rowel spurs when riding, and am very aware of my legs.
I ask the horse, the horse responds. Not, I ask the horse, I ASK the horse, I'M ASKING YOU TO MOVE, HELLO, ANYONE, LETS GO ROVER.
I do NOT agree with harsh training methods or anything that involves pain. But I tried adjusting my seat, clucking, kissing, slight pressure, rolling, slight pressure and rolling, medium pressure with and without rolling, and finally I just turned my heels in and applied This Is Horribly Uncomfortable pressure.
No stabbing or poking, but I was persistent. I attempted to turn him, and all he did was bring his head around. One time he attempted to bite me on the leg (what the heck?!).
I attempted to back him up, wouldn't move, evaded the bit, put his tongue over it, etc. I didn't rip, yank, or pull, I applied the usual light, steady pressure (1-2 discomfort scale) and deepened my seat.
4. He WILL NOT STAND TO MOUNT.
This PEEVES me to NO END. When I brought him home, he stood, now he doesn't. Now he steps away and acts like an idiot. Arg.
5. He WON'T GAIT.
This is a Missouri Fox Trotter, naturally gaited. He doesn't gait, he trots his horrific, gaited-horse trot. You can feel the gait, he just won't pick it up.
This is probably the thing that's plummeting the quickest to the bottom of my patience. This is not a Quarter Horse, or a Racking Horse, or a Pacing Horse. This is a Foxtrotting horse, I want my foxtrot.
-He rides in a solid-mouth medium port curb bit with curved shanks. It is a very quite, very gentle bit but honestly his behavior is making me rethink it.
Unfortunately, I don't have a three-piece snaffle (he has a small mouth), and my eggbutt would not go over well at all. Maybe he needs contact, who knows. He's trained as a Western trail horse.
-He teeth have been checked my a vet, they are fine. So, no problems in that department.
-Saddle (english) is fitting very well with the new pad, with no pinching, rubbing, or uneven sitting.
-My heels are down, my toes up, my reins are just short enough that I'm at the bit, but not engaging it in any way. I roll my shoulders back and move and flex with the horse (when I ride, I spend a lot of time thinking seat-legs-hands)
He's really a beautiful boy, especially under saddle, but he's being such an unholy idiot it's fraying my nerves. I can understand a young, untrained horse. But this is a five year old, matured gelding who absolutely, positively knows better.
He's ALWAYS been a stubborn blockhead, but I sent him to the trainer. For 60 days and an even thousand, I expect my horse not to dance while mounting, stop randomly, or act as flexible as a brick. I'll let the tree branches slide, because he's just to flightly for his own good, but still.
Am I being to hard on him? He is green, I understand that completely. I have zen-like patience on the ground, even with my older boys and especially with the young ones.
Red's has the build and looks of a show-bred Foxtrotter. Very flashy boarderline prissy looking. Perhaps he has the temperament as well?
I keep telling myself to just stick with him, he'll get better with rides and age but god this is so frustrating. And I HATE falling off, intended or not. I had a mild panic attack when I did yesterday, I'm not sure if it's because I fell off or because I was unscathed.
I'm not even sure if he'll safely pick up a canter. I don't think he's ever been cantered. I absolutely love me some Missouri Fox Trotter canter, too.
Be honest, am I being to hard on my green horse? I think that I am, but at the same time I'm very unsure about it.
His ground manners are excellent as well, he's extremely well behaved. Like a 30 year old Seen-Everything-Including-The-Apocalypse instead of a I-Have-60-Days-Riding-And-An-Impatient-Owner