I really dislike it when things get so busy at work...the more I have to write at work, the less inspired I am to keep my blog updated. Writing all day long about the dregs of society can really suck the enthusiasm right out of ya.
I managed to get quite a bit of riding done during July. It was unseasonably cool here for nearly the entire month and absolutely PERFECT for riding!
Rode the Gabester last night and we had the best ride yet, despite being bombed by big, black horseflies the entire ride. Nasty things. And no amount of fly spray deters the buggers.
Last night was the second ride on Gabe where I broke one of my own big no-nos. I used a gadget. *gasp!* And it is helping with the head flinging habit Gabe has. This isn't just head tossing, this is head flinging. Nearly smack me in the face head flinging. He doesn' t just do it while riding, he does it in the pasture and while longeing. I don't know WHY he does it. His teeth have been checked, he's been checked for body soreness and there isn't a soreness/pain issue. I would blame the flinging on my saddle that doesn't fit him quite right if he did only under saddle, but he does it in the pasture too, completely untacked. He doesn't do it all the time and is most likely to do it during upward transitions or when things don't go quite his way. If Calypso or Chief gives him a dirty "get outta the way" look, he flings his head, grunts or squeals, and trots or canters out of the way. So I have a feeling it's not a physical issue, it's a mental thing and his way of dealing.
But, it had to stop before I got clocked hard with that enormous head of his. I tried working with him to get him to quit but it wasn't effective...he was pulling me out of the saddle (yes, there's that weak core issue popping up again!) and getting away with it because I was in no position to reprimand him properly and immediately.
So, I broke out the running martingale and adjusted it looser than normal...so it would only be employed if he really got to flinging that head hard. I only use a running martingale, never, ever a standing (which is basically the same thing as a tie-down for the western riding folks) because I feel they can make a horse feel trapped...and trapped horses panic. The last thing I wanted on my hands was a panicking 16.3hh Thoroughbred with a tied-down head whose first instinct is generally to go straight backwards in confusing/frightening situations and UP if he's really, really worried and the backing up doesn't get him out of the scary/confusing situation. Those factors could add up to a very bad situation very, very quickly. Not something I am keen on doing any time!
The first time he flung his head and hit that downward pressure from the running martingale he was surprised, to say the least! That head came right back to where it's supposed to be and I could almost see him thinking about and contemplating what just happened. And there was NO MORE head flinging for the rest of the ride. He thought about it a couple of times and reconsidered. Instead of flinging he just bobbed his head a bit and moved on. One thing I can say, that boy learns FAST!
Last night, I put it on again, still fairly loosely adjusted. One head fling at the beginning of the ride, he hit the martingale and he was DONE. I think two or three more rides in it and the issue will be resolved and the martingale can come off. I do not like relying on gadgets, but sometimes, if used properly, they can really help resolve a problem quickly and with the least amount of stress on BOTH horse and rider.
He is still the laziest TB I've EVER ridden. Ever. He's smart, and he does move forward when I really demand it, but his preferred gait is SLOW and easy. He's got a wonderful trot, but I really have to work at it to keep him trotting out and forward. When he's particularly lazy, he sucks back and gets behind the bit, trying to avoid any kind of work that might require him to *gasp!* engage his muscles and expend a few calories! So I have to be on top of constantly keeping him thinking and going forward with energy. It's rather exhausting! Riding Gabe for 30 minutes is nearly as tiring as an aerobics class. I'm hoping that as he gets more fit the laziness will subside a bit. The last thing I want to do is try to fox hunt a drag-butt horse. Not fun!
Anyway, hopefully things at work will slow down a bit soon as summer winds down. A lot of people take vacations during the summer months and those of us left in the office have to pick up the slack...which can make for some spectacularly busy days.