Tuesday, July 24, 2012

We Are Going To Do Up-Downs Until Blue is No Longer Tired

Tonight we had a moment.

When we got to the barn, Chris had a class in the big arena. I rushed through grooming Ashke, although I did spend some time working on his hind legs, which I think is beginning to have a positive effect on him. I got him saddled and out to the arena before the class let out. That gave us the opportunity to work with the other horses. His walk and trot were much better and he felt really balanced under me. We went around the big arena in both directions several times. And then the other horses left.

At which point Ashke decided he was in charge. He crow hopped and bucked a little bit. I settled him and held him still for a moment. Then I asked him to move forward and he tried the same thing. So I, being smarter this time than the last, and with little pride, got off him and went to the round pen.

I don't think he was too happy.

I turned him loose in the round pen and he cantered in both directions for 20 minutes or so. There was some bucking. And some head tossing. And a lot of racing around like a mad horse. I walked in the middle of the round pen facing him and let him work it out of his system. I didn't let him stop until he was showing signs of fatigue.

Then we put three poles in the arena off the bottom rung of the pen. This sparked another set of frantic galloping  and spinning and stopping and rearing to avoid having to set over all three poles. We kept that up until he was lathered and streaming sweat. Once he finally trotted over all three poles in both directions we pulled the poles from the arena and I got back on him.

We went nicely (although not very peacefully) around the pen in both directions at a trot. Then I asked him to back. He did.

We were done. I walked him out and rinsed him off. Then let him graze until he was dry.

While he was tearing around the round pen I kept thinking of the line from Remember the Titans, when they are at training camp and Blue complains about being tired. Denzel Washington says, "We are going to do Up-Downs until Blue is no longer tired or thirsty." I kind of had that attitude tonight.

I really hope he got the message.

I hope he begins to understand that bucking and protesting is not how this is going to go. I expect a well mannered, well behaved horse. I wonder how long this is going to take. . . .

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