Unusual ride - out of character.
2 months ago I had a wreck on a new horse that I was working with. It was bad enough to keep me off my regular, trustworthy mare for those two months. We hit the trails Saturday for just a short 2 hour ride. I knew I was going to be a bit sore and Bonnie hadn't been ridden during that time, although I did work with her a little.
Bonnie was a little off, even though we were on very familiar trails. 3 times she got to places on the trail and refused to move forward. The first time I just figured that she saw, heard, or smelled something that wasn't right. No matter how much encouragement I gave her, she wouldn't go. Finally, my regular riding partner, Jim, went in front and Bonnie reluctantly followed. This happened twice more, and no matter how much leg, heel, or stick I gave her, she wasn't going to go first. I've never had this with her before. She is usually the lead horse but Sunday she was more content to being second in line.
Another thing that was off was that I had a hard time moving her into a trot. She was just plain stubborn about that as well. There was no ear pinning, tail swishing, or any other signal of discomfort. This was absolutely the first time I could say that it was a ride that I would just as soon forget.
The only thing that was different was the fact that I had a different farrier. 2 days before the ride my regular guy got hurt and I wasn't going to miss a ride for another week. The farrier I used is good and I've used him many times before (but not on Bonnie who can be difficult), so I don't think that was the problem. One other thing that I just thought of is that on the way home, she was moving around in the trailer so much so that it became a little hairy on the highway (loose in a 14' stock trailer as always).
This may be nothing more then her needing a tune up but she is a 15 year old, been there done that horse. This was totally out of character for her.
Maybe the two months off has something to do with her behaviour?
Last winter, I could only ride after 4pm most days and here, it gets dark from 4pm from mid-November to mid-March. I could only ride in the lit arena -- no hacking. When daylight returned in March, I took my experienced-has-trail-ridden-in-two-countries 18-year old mare out on a hack and you'd think she was 5 years old and green as grass. Super sharp and on her toes. So different behaviour than yours, but still, behaviour that's not quite her normal character. After a week of some pretty harrowing rides, her brain returned and she resumed being her usual sensible and reliable self.
Maybe take her out again? See what she does?
I've found that some horses can go a long time in between rides and act like you never got off them,and others it seems like you need to almost go back to square one,or at least square two or three,after they've been off for a while.I've had people tell me that means they weren't trained properly,but I don't really believe that's the case as I know of horses that have been trained up one side and down the other,are as bomb proof as a horse can be, and are used to everything under the sun,act like complete greenies after not being ridden in a while.
Take her out a few more times and see if she does better...
And you're not alone,I have a mare that acts like she's been invaded by an alien if she's not ridden regularly.
Dont get too worried just yet. As the others have suggested, take her out a few more times to see if the behavior is consistent. She may have been testing you,may have been having an off day herself or just needs a refresher on confidence and respect in regards to yourself.
It may also be (not sure, since i wasnt there lol) that you didnt take enough time preparing her before your ride after such a long break and she had trouble getting back into the swing of things.
My mare is nearing 20 and still gives me issues after a long break if i dont pay attention to her needs before the ride and get her listening effectively to me on the ground first. She gets her head up in the clouds and every little thing becomes a chore.
What was the weather like? Was is cool and brisk? Just like in the spring, fall weather can get horses a little nutty or act out of character. Were there dry leaves on the ground that fell off the trees? Little things like that seem like nothing to us but can get a horse to be really alert. Just some ideas.
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Weather was dry and comfortable. About mid 70s. No wind. Nothing unusual
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its Fall. My steady, fantastic trail horse that can lead or follow was a nut, stopping randomly, spooking, trying to gallop off on me, even turning around on the trail. I gave her a tune in and she was good as gold by the end of the ride. This time of year they feel good, and often act strange.
Iride, at the risk of getting my head bit off (especially since I'm not nearly as experienced with horses as you are) it could be that you yourself were still a little "uncomfortable" in the saddle (I mean phyiscal discomfort, not necessarily mental discomfort). This may have caused you to sit slightly differently than you normally do, and she lost a little of her normal confidence as a result???
I would never bite your head off, dee. She may have lost some confidence due to being in pasture for the past 2 months but I'm confident that it wasn't my being uncomfortable.
I'll be taking her out on Sunday, we'll see what happens then.
Bill, Keep us posted
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