Spoiler Alert: video at the end of blog
I know I am not the only one who feels that their horses change personality as soon as it’s fur gets to yak length and the temperature starts dropping. There is nothing like a bouncy, opinionated, fresh and sassy thang to make me want to go clip all that hair off and make them cold! Because that freshly shorn feeling is going to do wonders for their work ethic and focus.
I have been riding Ellie since July 1st, and I would have thought that the worst of her was going to be in that first week. I hinted that she was a handful on day 1, but its NOTHING like what I am currently having fun with. I thought that after not having a rider on her back for 1.5 years, that first week would have contained fireworks… if there were any to be had. No fireworks. Lots of pop and zing, but no explosions. In fact, as Ellie’s training progressed she nearly became lazy. I would carry a whip and use it very sparingly, but still she needed the reminder now and then to listen to a light aid. However, she was storing all her inventive ways for the change of seasons. Two days ago, I walked her up to the mounting block, put my foot in the stirrup and immediatly she ejected me off her. I floated through the air to the ground like a feather (of course) and landed on my shoulder, but nothing too bad, mostly shocked! What the heck??
Then to make the situation more confusing… she proceeded to have the single-most BEST workout she has ever had. She learned to zigzag leg yield and then to shoulder-in, with amazing speed and brillance. After the initial eating dirt and remount, I was pretty tough on her to get going forward and not cock an ear wrong. But pretty soon, my angry face turned to gushing praise when I realized that her explosion was a one-off and she was on her way to making a major dressage breakthrough.
Next day: She started out like piss-an-vinegar and again, I was tough on her. A few circles and explosions later, she was repeating her fabulous dressage lateral work from the day before with zero reminder. So now I am seeing that she has a real method to her madness that I can understand and work with. In the summer she was very visual and distant for about 5 minutes and then she relaxed and went to work in a round frame. Her winter version is a little more exciting than that. She is not only visual, but she is bucking, bolting and spinning for 5 minutes and then she goes to work in a round frame. And then we proceed to have a breakthrough, positive, wonderful ride.
For all yall out there who are challenged by their horse’s personality disorders in winter, I hope that you have aquired a tiny bit of hope from this post. My advice to you is to try to find some method to your horse’s madness and a pattern of behavior that will work for you. Watch the video and I hope that there is something to gain from it all.