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I guess this is one of those days were I had a bad day with her and I feel like I should just give up trying with her, yknow? But I know I shouldn't give up, I just feel so hopeless that she'll EVER be a sane easy ride.

So first I lunged her a smidge, I wasn't going to at first but when I got to the barn it was evident that she had been stalled pretty much all weekend with only maybe a few hours of turnout, so she needed a little "release time". I started lunging her and all she wanted to do was run, run, run. She was being responsive to me but she obviously wanted to GO! So I got her warmed up and let her canter, and canter, AND canter some more. She didn't pull any rearing tricks which I was proud of, but she kept cutting in towards me. I kept pushing her out pretty hard but she kept coming back in cuz yknow, "OMG! My buddies are over there and I'm over here and the 4 feet I'm cutting in are TOTALLY gonna help me get back to them sooner!!" Yeah. Sorry Lacey, that doesn't work, just sayin.

Then I got her all tacked up (oh and btw, by the time she was done extended trotting/cantering for literally ten minutes, she wasn't breathing hard at all >.< ) and I decided to work on some lateral flexion (something she's pro at from the saddle) to help her get more comfy with being mounted. Well, that wasn't gonna happen as easily as I hoped! I got her to flex both directions (from the ground) pretty easily so I decided to gently stick my foot in the stirrup.

And the poneh decided that it was time to literally canter backwards.

Bad poneh.

Thankfully the ground was so slippery from all the rain that she sat down on her rear and I got my foot out. Next time I do that, I'm totally gonna wear my helmet, just so y'all know.

I realize it was totally my fault too. I went way too fast for her and she showed me just what she thought of my "training plan". I continued with a smaller big picture in mind. :lol:

We went back to flexing both directions, over and over and over again. I wanted her to start chewing because she had her mouth SUPER tight and when she's tense bad things happen. She was surprisingly hard to get to flex to the left. The right was super easy (I was standing on her left) but the left was difficult for her. Each time I got her to flex I would vocally praise her liberally and reward her with scratches and hugs because, for some reason, that seems to be what she responds the best to.

After she was totally comfy with flexing (and she let her lips be looser, I didn't get her to chew until closer to the end but she was getting more comfy), I gently put my foot in the stirrup again. She started backing up again but with less speed and intent. Haha I kept moving with her and she stopped and flexed after about 7 steps backwards. After that I flexed her some more and kept putting my foot gently in the stirrup. Interestingly, she seems to have a harder time when she can't see my foot going into the stirrup. Eventually I got her to where she was pretty ok with my foot in the stirrup, while her head was flexed.

I never actually rode today, I think I'm going to put off riding until I can get her to stand still for mounting (which is where this whole thing originated from). I feel like I'm stealing from her a little when she's obviously not comfortable with me getting on and I do anyway, yknow?

Then she was having some major leading issues, barging ahead to get back to her buddies so we went to the arena and she actually JOINED UP with me!!!!!! She's never been willing to before and I've tried and tried to get her to join up with me and she never has, until today! :D I wasn't even trying to get her to either, I was just free lunging her and making her turn a bunch (and playing the "I'm gonna keep her in this corner of the arena for no reason, just because it's funny" game haha) and voila! The join up signs! So I let her come in to me and we were done.

So on the plus side our lesson ended on a great note.
But still, I hate that I can't even really ride her without feeling like a jerk. And she needs so much exercise but I feel like I'm being a jerk to her joints for making her do so much circle stuff (at least the free lunging is more like square stuff...ahahahaha we're such squares! :lol: ). I feel like I can't win. I feel like I'm only setting her up for failure if I ask her to put her brain to work while her brain is going "run, run, RUN!!!", y'know? I wish her mind was the same age as her body, I really do.

Ah, I feel so much better now after getting all that out. Kudos to you guys if you read it all! *hands you your favorite cookie*
 

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Naughty poneh!! But it sounds like it ended on a really great note, don't let that fact get lost in the ranting, because ending so well is really the thing that matters most in the end. I totally know how you feel, sometimes you get on a good streak but you're scared to believe she's turned a corner because one day you come out and BAM she's rearing or cantering backward (lol, didn't work out too well, huh Lacey?) Sometimes I start out my sessions with Tanner where you ended yours. If he's been in a mud bog, not moving all day, or penned up in the shelter because of snow, the best thing to do is bring him up to the arena and chase him around a bit. Gets him moving and his mind working too.

As far as your goals- maybe Lacey will never be a bombproof horse, or even a reliably easy ride. But you can have a good working relationship with her and you can handle her outbursts and not take it to heart. Isn't that pretty good too? I know you two have a special bond and you'd do anything for her and I'm sure she knows it too. Once I started thinking about my nutter TB like that, we started moving forward really well. Some days I think I'm going to make a husband horse out of him yet.
 

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When I first read this I assumed Lacey was young and green and you were just in over your head. I looked back and you seem to have quite a few issues with her and she is 24?! Old enough to be a horse with a number of miles on her I am sure...

First of all the weekend in the stall plays a large part of your problems. I'm sure everyone knows how I can rant 101 reasons why not to stall a horse and certainly not over a weekend with NO turnout then expect to pull your mare from her 10x10 jail cell and ride her. Turn her out and leave her out! Movement is better than jail time from any older horse.

Secondly it sounds like you and her could be use just A RIDE. At this age she has earned the right not to run training circles around you and "flex, extend, flex, do this that and the next pretty thing" I would rear and want back to my friends too :) You need to just hop on, grab a friend and hit the road. Let her be a horse and enjoy the ride.

Thirdly with all of these issues you seem to be having with what I'd assume is a well broke older mare (Correct me if I'm wrong, perhaps she was broke very late?) regardless a book like "There are no problem horses, only problem riders" might give you clues on how to help your situations. NO horse is crazy. If you turn Lacey out into a pasture and watch her, does she have any of these problems or is she just a horse? Shes a horse. Problems are people induced, Lacey is a horse with nothing to prove to you however you have everything and more to prove to her. She is far from crazy, I have worked with many, many horses and so far none crazy. Certainly not the aged ones. In fact we just were given a 20 year old mare who hasn't been ridden in eight years. The last time they rode her she threw everyone in the family so they did not ride her. She came in a few days ago, the day after I received her I hopped on bareback with a halter and a lead and hit the trail. The next day I saddled her up and hit the trail. Her manners are perfect eight years after being ridden. I did not lounge her or try to see what she knows. I gave her the benefit of the doubt got on and asked her to go. Away we went. Needless to say its clearly these people not this horse - as it always the case.

I'm not trying to pick on you or be rude - I'm saying take a look at you and stop worrying about the horse. We all have to do this.
 

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My lacy is the same way. Shes about 11. We've done dozens of lessons, when she was sound and she is still a very sensative horse. Shes like one of those horses who will always be green. I dont even trust her enough to have other people ride her except trainers.

She really cant be ridden because of navicular at the moment. Its kind of my savior in a way, I dont feel bad having her as a pasture puff anymore. Before I felt like I was doing her a disservice if I didnt rider her 5-6x a week. Some horses are never 100% completely trainable, some always are greenies. I used to think every horse could be trained completely with enough time, untill I met my lacy. I've had her about 6 years and she is a little less sensative to leg, she bends and she understands half hault now, and she free longes. I really think her main problem is she hates the ring, shed rather be out with her friends on a trail ride. She loves weird things, like mailboxes, trashcans and bridges, and traffic cones. She can open a mailbox if she wants to.

My mare is like two different horses, on the ground shes an angel, really respectible and trying to please, undersaddle in a ring shes a nightmare, she leans, runs out, bucks, and only understands a few gaits: walk, stop, back and run. We are very compatable, until I get in the saddle.

It takes time to learn about a horse, and takes even longer to get the right trainging/riding approach with one. As long as you still lover her and spend time with her (in any way) you aren't giving up.
 

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Heh, I have a bad day with one of my horses like every other day. :D Mostly because I either expect too much or over-emotional (unfortunately). Sometime (couple times a month) I even start screaming I gonna sell either of them. Till next day when I pick my butt and take one out again to ride or work. Lol!

P.S. Jemma is with me for over 4 years already, Kiara for 3.5.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My answers are in bold. =)

When I first read this I assumed Lacey was young and green and you were just in over your head. I looked back and you seem to have quite a few issues with her and she is 24?! Old enough to be a horse with a number of miles on her I am sure...

She is 24. :shock: But she totally doesn't have the miles on her. She spent her life being a severely overweight pasture puff, owned by a lady that let her do whatever the heck she wanted and being ridden very occasionally by a pair of boys who only ran her and beat her up when she'd "ask" questions.

First of all the weekend in the stall plays a large part of your problems. I'm sure everyone knows how I can rant 101 reasons why not to stall a horse and certainly not over a weekend with NO turnout then expect to pull your mare from her 10x10 jail cell and ride her. Turn her out and leave her out! Movement is better than jail time from any older horse.

Oh I COMPLETELY agree. It's not even a 10x10 stall either, it's a straight stall. It's horrible. I completely completely completely agree with you and I've tried talking to my BO about it but she's recovering from getting 3 vertebrae broken so her kids are caring for the horses unsupervised and well, they're pretty darn lazy. And my BO can't go kick their butts because she's barely mobile. And she's totally high on pain medication which doesn't help talking to her... I'm the same age as her kids so they won't listen to me because "I'm too overprotective of Lacey and she's just fine in the stall". Yeah. I'm irritated.

Secondly it sounds like you and her could be use just A RIDE. At this age she has earned the right not to run training circles around you and "flex, extend, flex, do this that and the next pretty thing" I would rear and want back to my friends too :) You need to just hop on, grab a friend and hit the road. Let her be a horse and enjoy the ride.

See but she hasn't earned the right. Her age may have gotten her half there but when she refuses to stand still for mounting and rears/back up when I try to "force" her to stand still, I'm not just going to be like "whatever, you're old, do whatever you want." she needs to act her age if I'm going to treat her like an old trustworthy buddy. I understand what you're saying though. I don't have an horsey friends and I'm always riding alone at the barn so that makes trail riding way less fun, especially since Lacey isn't such a fan of the road. I've been getting her over her road issues but with all this stalling going on, I don't feel comfortable taking her out by myself where if I were to get hurt or something on the road and didn't come back with Lacey, no one would notice for quite a while.

Thirdly with all of these issues you seem to be having with what I'd assume is a well broke older mare (Correct me if I'm wrong, perhaps she was broke very late?) regardless a book like "There are no problem horses, only problem riders" might give you clues on how to help your situations. NO horse is crazy. If you turn Lacey out into a pasture and watch her, does she have any of these problems or is she just a horse? Shes a horse. Problems are people induced, Lacey is a horse with nothing to prove to you however you have everything and more to prove to her. She is far from crazy, I have worked with many, many horses and so far none crazy. Certainly not the aged ones. In fact we just were given a 20 year old mare who hasn't been ridden in eight years. The last time they rode her she threw everyone in the family so they did not ride her. She came in a few days ago, the day after I received her I hopped on bareback with a halter and a lead and hit the trail. The next day I saddled her up and hit the trail. Her manners are perfect eight years after being ridden. I did not lounge her or try to see what she knows. I gave her the benefit of the doubt got on and asked her to go. Away we went. Needless to say its clearly these people not this horse - as it always the case.

Oh I know she's not really crazy. She's so far from crazy, she's just "differently motivated". She's not well broke, imo. I would hesitate to really even call her broke, maybe green broke heading in the direction of broke but not broke broke. There are so many things she doesn't know and so many things she just can't handle. For instance, I only taught her to neck rein this last summer, she doesn't know her leads (I don't know them either so we're kinda out of luck), she can't consistently do anything on a loose rein, she won't stand still for mounting etc. I do have to say in her defense that she could possibly be one of the best trail ponies ever. When she gets going on an honest to goodness trail, wow. She just goes, leads the group like a champ, crosses scary bridges without blinking doesn't spook at stuff, it's just amazing. I guess trails are kind of her forte and I'm asking her to do things outside her area of expertise, but still. I will definitly look up that book. I agree that I have everything to prove to her but I also think she needs to prove herself to me as well. Her previous owner told me when I first got her "Well, Lacey has always kinda been one of those "up" horses". Seriously? No horse has to be an 'up" horse. With the right rider every horse is a good horse, I have no doubt. I also have no doubt that I could be that rider for Lacey but we need work and I'm having difficulty with that work. I need to work on trusting her more but she needs to show me she's worthy of trust. She has before but I need that all the time, yknow?

I'm not trying to pick on you or be rude - I'm saying take a look at you and stop worrying about the horse. We all have to do this.

I completely understand and agree. =)
I'll be back in a bit to probably realize what I typed made no sense and reiterate what I'm trying to say. Haha
 

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I definitely have those days too so I'm with you ((HUGS)). Sometimes, I just feel like it's not worth it to work with a horse anymore, then you have a ride that makes it all better :)

Lacey is just showing you that she is totally NOT old, mom.
 

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For instance, I only taught her to neck rein this last summer, she doesn't know her leads (I don't know them either so we're kinda out of luck), she can't consistently do anything on a loose rein, she won't stand still for mounting etc.
Just curious. So does she know how to direct rein and you just choose to direct rein her? Because if you taught her how to neck rein, but she can't do anything on a loose rein, maybe you should direct rein her. Keeping contact with her mouth might help her understand more what you want of her, especially if she's only "green broke." Also, what kind of bit do you use? Snaffle vs. curb can really make a difference. Not saying that curbs are bad in general, but they are for horses that aren't "broke."
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Just curious. So does she know how to direct rein and you just choose to direct rein her? Because if you taught her how to neck rein, but she can't do anything on a loose rein, maybe you should direct rein her. Keeping contact with her mouth might help her understand more what you want of her, especially if she's only "green broke." Also, what kind of bit do you use? Snaffle vs. curb can really make a difference. Not saying that curbs are bad in general, but they are for horses that aren't "broke."
She can't do anything consistently on a loose rein. Currently she's doing super well walking on a loose rein and doing stuff at a walk on a loose rein but her trot/jog and canter aren't so awesome. Trot happens about 50% of the time direct reining and cantering is still about 90% direct reining.

I could chose to direct rein her but she gets feisty direct reining (at a walk, I haven't spent as much time neck reining her at a trot/canter). She likes having her head, I guess, and I figure since it's good practice for her to neck rein in all situations (I definitely go back to direct reining her if she needs it I just try to neck rein her as much as possible) I might as well let her have her head (it's also good for me to trust her and not have a grip on her face all the time haha). It's kinda one of those things that I'm willing to have a deal with her about. If she'll neck rein well, I'll let her be neckreined since she likes that better.

She's actually in a bitless bridle. She goes better in that than a snaffle and she's definitely not ready for any sort of curb! haha

Thanks for the encouraging words guys! =) I appreciate it. I know I love her to death and I would never really give up on her (and I hope you guys all realize that, she's definitely a lifetime buddy, no matter what). It's just so hard sometimes. I love her so much and I want to be able to just hop on and ride into the sunset like forever partners, instead of having a huge discussion beforehand. I've been working with "problem horses" the entire time I've been riding (which could be part of the issue, I just want to ride a trained SKILLED horse, for once, haha) and Lacey is by far the trickiest character. The rest of them I was able to get to where I could just hop on and expect a certain level of workman-likeness and I'm just feeling like Lacey and I should be there already! But I know that this way is probably way better for my learning. Maybe it's because I've never really worked with a mare before. :lol:

Today I went to see her and we just had a cuddle day. I brushed her and scratched all her favorite places (she adores having her face and ears scratched, she'll move her head so I get all her itchy spots without me having to try to find them, haha). She seemed to really enjoy that. I'm sure she's just as irritated with me sometimes as I am with her! haha

ETA- She's also pretty much me. And so I think I'm just beginning to kinda really realize that on the inside. She is what I am on the inside, really, and she just shows it. It's like I have a mirror that shows me all my faults and the things I'm better at. It's a just little hard to handle that kind of honesty. I'm a very very private person and I'm totally not comfortable with letting people really "know" me (because I'm afraid that no one will like me if they get close to who I am) and she kinda just busted right through my defenses and is showing the world EXACTLY what I'm trying to hide from everyone. Which is really rather scary. Does that make any sense?


That's so true, eventerdrew, so true. haha
 

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Snaffle vs. curb can really make a difference. Not saying that curbs are bad in general, but they are for horses that aren't "broke."
Curbs are definitely NOT for green horses; a horse has to know and understand how to direct rein first, before having a curb, in which you can't direct rein with. Why do you think a curb bit is generally called a 'finishing' bit?? It's because a horse has already been well started, in a snaffle, or bosal, and they are actually ready for consistent neck reining, and other refinement type riding associated with being 'broke'\well trained.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
^^^I totally missed that! Good call. Haha
 

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See but she hasn't earned the right. Her age may have gotten her half there but when she refuses to stand still for mounting and rears/back up when I try to "force" her to stand still, I'm not just going to be like "whatever, you're old, do whatever you want."

I'm sure my opinion is different than many, many others but I have learned that EVERY horse has earned the right. You will get much farther with her picking your battles, giving her the benefit of the doubt with every new day. So what if she does not stand still for mounting? But IF this bothers you so much I guess.. If you "Hold her back" to make her stand your being counter productive. If your set on starting the argument so early with her by requiring she be still for mounting make that THE GOAL for the day. When you put your foot in the stirrup and she goes to move, quickly remove your foot and make her move, move, move, move! Do not try to hold her, she'll likely back up, rear up or otherwise argue. If she moves when your foot goes in the stirrup you get 10 feet taller, waive your arm, ask her to move away from you and yell "move your feet! You wanted to move, MOVE" Send her away, do a few quick circles, then your done. Clean slate, try again. You may have to do this 27 times getting only a little farther in the saddle each time, once your in and she hasn't moved your done for the day.
It sounds like your asking a bit much of her. If you know shes lived as a pasture puff for 20 years you should know shes beyond the point of caring to learn :) Once again, SHE HAS NOTHING TO PROVE TO YOU... But you... Have everything to prove to HER.
I get SO many horses in from people who flex, bend, correct leads, don't do this, trot like this, set your head like this, every ride is a lesson, a work out, a drill and so fourth saying the horses haven't earned the right to enjoy riding yet 'this stupid horse doesn't know everything and dosent pick up the correct lead every time' it just makes for angry problem children.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
See but she hasn't earned the right. Her age may have gotten her half there but when she refuses to stand still for mounting and rears/back up when I try to "force" her to stand still, I'm not just going to be like "whatever, you're old, do whatever you want."

I'm sure my opinion is different than many, many others but I have learned that EVERY horse has earned the right. You will get much farther with her picking your battles, giving her the benefit of the doubt with every new day. So what if she does not stand still for mounting? But IF this bothers you so much I guess.. If you "Hold her back" to make her stand your being counter productive. If your set on starting the argument so early with her by requiring she be still for mounting make that THE GOAL for the day. When you put your foot in the stirrup and she goes to move, quickly remove your foot and make her move, move, move, move! Do not try to hold her, she'll likely back up, rear up or otherwise argue. If she moves when your foot goes in the stirrup you get 10 feet taller, waive your arm, ask her to move away from you and yell "move your feet! You wanted to move, MOVE" Send her away, do a few quick circles, then your done. Clean slate, try again. You may have to do this 27 times getting only a little farther in the saddle each time, once your in and she hasn't moved your done for the day.
It sounds like your asking a bit much of her. If you know shes lived as a pasture puff for 20 years you should know shes beyond the point of caring to learn :) Once again, SHE HAS NOTHING TO PROVE TO YOU... But you... Have everything to prove to HER.
I get SO many horses in from people who flex, bend, correct leads, don't do this, trot like this, set your head like this, every ride is a lesson, a work out, a drill and so fourth saying the horses haven't earned the right to enjoy riding yet 'this stupid horse doesn't know everything and dosent pick up the correct lead every time' it just makes for angry problem children.
I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. =) I personally think that I should be able to enjoy riding her instead of having to leap on to her back like some sort of monkey because she's going to start moving when she feels me getting into the saddle.
I know that holding her still is counter productive, that's why I'm not holding her still. I used to try to hold her still when I first got her and that didn't work, so I stopped. I've also tried the whole making her work when she moves deal but that also doesn't work. So now I'm trying flexing (which is actually working btw). Eventually I'll probably give up (unless we fix it/make it better first) but I'm not willing to yet. I don't think there's anything wrong with having expectations for her, especially very simple ones. If I were expecting her to learn her leads or flying lead changes or something and being all mad because she was't figuring them out, sure she could be beyond that, but standing for mounting is a very small goal.

And see, she's not beyond the point of caring to learn. She wants to learn. she loves working with me, she meets me at the gate and stands wanting me to come back when I leave. She soaks up everything I try to teach her, as long as I'm teaching her in a way she understands. She's learned 5 new words and the actions that go with those words in the last 6 months, that doesn't sound like a horse that's beyond wanting to learn. She learned to "stay" in less than ten minutes using some grain and lots of "Good girl!"

Her age is just a number, not a death sentence. She has every right to have the benefit of the kind of training any young horse should get. I say she deserves that because of her age. She deserves to have me enjoy riding her and that starts with standing for mounting, beyond that I don't really care. She's a great ride and I love riding her, just I don't like the whole circus-like mounting shenanigans.
 

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Curbs are definitely NOT for green horses; a horse has to know and understand how to direct rein first, before having a curb, in which you can't direct rein with. Why do you think a curb bit is generally called a 'finishing' bit?? It's because a horse has already been well started, in a snaffle, or bosal, and they are actually ready for consistent neck reining, and other refinement type riding associated with being 'broke'\well trained.
I think you totally misunderstood my post.

I said: "Snaffle vs. curb can really make a difference. Not saying that curbs are bad in general, but they are for horses that aren't "broke."

Read it again. "Not saying that curbs are bad in general, but they are (BAD) for horses that aren't "broke."" Because the first part of the sentence is a dependent clause, the "bad" is supposed to apply to the main, independent part of the sentence too.
 

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RomanticLyric, I misread that post before too- easy mistake to make. But I knew what you meant so I figured I just read it wrong, put the emphasis the wrong word, stooopid interwebz.

Wallaby, not to make light of your struggle, but you made me chuckle when you referred to leaping on to Lacey "like some kind of monkey". Good mental image. Making Tanner move when he doesn't want to stand still doesn't work for me either. It works for a lot of things (trailering, etc.) but to get him to stand quietly to mount I had to resort to flexing and patience. I think if you try to teach a smart horse with a lot of go a patience lesson by making them do what they wanted in the first place it doesn't always work. He's doing great now, btw... sometimes you win the battle but they decide the time scale. Glad you're open to trying new options instead of sticking on a path that isn't working for either of you.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Wallaby, not to make light of your struggle, but you made me chuckle when you referred to leaping on to Lacey "like some kind of monkey". Good mental image. Making Tanner move when he doesn't want to stand still doesn't work for me either. It works for a lot of things (trailering, etc.) but to get him to stand quietly to mount I had to resort to flexing and patience. I think if you try to teach a smart horse with a lot of go a patience lesson by making them do what they wanted in the first place it doesn't always work. He's doing great now, btw... sometimes you win the battle but they decide the time scale. Glad you're open to trying new options instead of sticking on a path that isn't working for either of you.

I'm glad it made you chuckle! That's seriously what it's like most of the time. Good thing no one's around when I ride! Haha

Oh yeah, I'm totally not trying to discount (I know you don't think I was, but I realized what i had said could be interpreted as discounting that method) making a horse move when it doesn't want to stand still, that has worked for me in many other situations (like in July when we were in a parade, she spent 4 hours happily walking in circles because she couldn't seem to stand still for more than 5 minutes, but that was less of a training situation and more of a "how can I keep her sane while we wait" sorta thing but yeah) but yeah, she has a lot of go and not as much whoa. :lol:
 
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