I’ve started horses, and ridden plenty of finished horses, but have never had the opportunity to bring a started horse to the finished stage…until now…and to be honest, I have no idea what I’m doing. I take it as a good sign that I must not be too far off base because I’m still alive to talk about it!
Odin has had the last week off. Not wanting to go backwards with him, I saddled him and got right on instead of doing some ground work first, just like I did the last time I was on him.
At first, a little bit of “No, I ain’t gonna do that” was cured by a rein slap along my leg. Then, I did some flexing, which took him a few seconds to figure out. Every time I bent his head around, he grabbed the excess stirrup leather or the rein in his mouth. I may be trying to teach him, but he’d rather screw around.
We walked out and explored a little tree that I asked him to walk around. Then, while walking out about half way across the pasture, he decided to squeal and shake his head. The next movement would’ve been a buck, so I gave him a good jerk to the reins and that took his mind off thinking about bucking.
We walked along the fence line, going so far and then I asked him to turn into it. Back the other way, and turn again the other way. A few times, he did fine. As usual with him, once a move isn’t new anymore, he doesn’t want to do it. I asked a few more times, and when he did relatively well, we set off across the pasture again. No antics, no “I wanna go this way” crap, so I figured it was a good way to end and we headed back in.
We got all the way over to the truck where I planned to unsaddle, and my neighbor came home and called for me to come chat a bit. So, we headed back out, and Odin behaved like a charm. He likes the neighbors; they always bring him apples and carrots, so it didn’t take much to get Odin to visit.
Jennifer was there, a pretty good rider – one who actually does what I ask with Odin – and she got up to ride a bit. I had my head turned talking, and when I looked back, Jennifer was on the ground and Odin was pulling back on the reins. Odin had bucked her off! She got back up on him, a bit more wary this time, and rode him for quite a bit longer. Whew! She wasn’t hurt and Odin didn’t learn that bucking would get him out of being ridden!
Odin’s next trick was trying to mow his way back to me. Jennifer stopped him from going anywhere near me until she was ready to rejoin us. And then Odin put his head into my chest and stood there. It was one of those “aw” moments. I had Jennifer ride him back around to the truck and we both unsaddled and brushed him out.
One threat, one buck and a whole lot of good things with the ride ending on a good note. It’s a start, and there’s a long ways to go, but he’s coming along.
Tomorrow, I’m going to lunge him first!