As you may remember, last summer my lovely husband posted a photo on Facebook of me laying in a hospital gown with my eye stitched up like Frankenstein. Boogie was my facial artist that day. I sat on him for the first time that morning, after taking weeks to introduce him to all the various implements of my trade. The bridle, the boots, the longe line, the saddle and girth. All that, was introduced to Boogie, and he accepted every “friend request” with confidence and calmness. Never, did I dream that he has a tricky side to him that would continue to perplex me for months.
Over the winter, Wes, Jordan’s boyfriend, helped break him and Boogie became a lovely prospect. He went to a schooling show with Wes, and then I was working on leg yielding, trot poles and was nearly ready to start jumping and then I departed for California on the 3 week spring trip. I thought that Boogie needed a break and would benefit from some time in the field getting fat. But, my imagination was not reality! I returned home from the California trip and walked him for one day in the XC field. Next day, I was walking in the arena for 15 minutes when all of a sudden out of nowhere – he bolted and bronked harder than Ive ever felt a horse bronk. He was not even close to slowing down when I decided that I should probably check out from this bad hotel.
I have now spent the last 3 weeks scratching my head about this problem. I was back to square one – Boogie was incredibly suspicious, worried and fearful and I suspected it was because I came off of him. Ive vowed to never make that decision again (I did have time to come up with the idea to jump off while it was happening). Next time I will ride it out and make it better (I expect a flurry of comments on that…)
Every day for the last week, after the barn chores are all finished and it is quiet and peaceful here, that is when Ive been working on Boogie. I turn off my phone, I have a plan and I stick to it for consistency. I have managed to get on, walk and trot many times, but sometimes turning left or right produces a held breath and a butt tuck scoot for him. Mostly, even when he and I are communicating well, he is staring back at me in the saddle with worried eyes. Yesterday, in a fit of creativity, I put a set of halter fuzzies on the bridle so he could not look at me. And Wallah!!! He was a lot better! For the first time in weeks, his ears were flopping, his breath was regular and his back was soft. I was incredibly relived and thrilled. Sometimes you need to think outside the box in order to understand horses. Its good to remember that our human reasoning is not horse reasoning.