I haven't been posting about my rides much of late. The rides have been happening, they just haven't been all that exciting. Well, unless you count all of the scoot spooks that Cisco has been doing - after a couple of months of not going in the arena during his time off we seem to be back to the beginning as to how worried he is in the scary end of the arena.
If there are other horses in there with us, he's not too bad - he'll go down there without much hesitation and just be highly suspicious of everything outside the riding surface. As soon as he's by himself because the ring empties out he starts looking for the boogeyman everywhere, sucks back on the way down to the scary end, and will take every opportunity he can to scoot out of the corners and back to safety.
|But at least his mane has almost grown back in.|
I never know what horse I'm getting.
|I need this on a t-shirt.|
A couple of Thursday's ago he started a bit up for our ride, despite that there was a bunch of horses in the arena with him. He had a couple of good scoots during our walk warmup when a horse that was being lunged in the scary end torqued off behind him.
But our ride ended up going really well. He tried really hard to do what I was asking of him, which was to lengthen his neck instead of shortening and tightening it. This worked really well at giving me a lot more control over his shoulders and seemed to take away some of his ability to just fling his shoulders everywhere (Andalusians are very good at that).
I ended up being really happy with the ride.
The next night I made myself go out to ride. It was a bit chilly and dark so I wasn't really motivated but I wasn't going to be able to ride for a couple of days afterwards. I was also really hoping to be able to build on the previous night's ride and work on relaxation and that long neck again.
When I arrived at the barn there was no one around. Like, no one. I don't even think that there was anyone in any of the 3 residences on the property.
I took my time getting Cisco ready for the ride and eventually headed over to the arena. The lights weren't on when we went over and as it was evening, it was dark in there.
Apparently, Cisco doesn't like the dark.
He was barely inside the door before he stopped and stared into the dark at the scary end. I managed to get him to walk to the light switches with only one gtfo moment and I turned on the lights, totally expecting to see a blow-up Freddy Kruger floating around at the opposite end of the ring.
Nope. Nothing had changed. Everything was just as it was the night before.
I took him down to the scary end and tried to do a bunch of groundwork to slow down that running hamster in his brain. ADHD horse would relax for a millisecond before turning into a giraffe again and try to gtfo.
I wasn't sure I was even going to be able to get on, down in the good end of the ring because his brain was so frazzled. There was no one around and it was Friday evening and the chance of someone showing up wasn't high so I was questioning my life choices.
Suddenly, the door at the far end opened up, and three teenagers that board next door arrived with their horses. I have never been happy to ride with these kids until this night (they seem to always be together and ride as a herd, kinda annoying). They saved my ride.
The hamster in Cisco's brain immediately jumped off its wheel and I was able to get on and have a really good ride. We built on the previous ride of working on getting a longer neck and had some really good attempts at the canter, including his harder left lead. Usually, on this rein he quits when he loses his balance just a little bit but he was able to stretch down and keep going. I was super happy.
We were walking out after the ride when Cisco's brain was blown once again.
The teenagers decided to race each other. Now, they were just doing what all horse girls do and having fun with their ponies, so I do not fault them at all. They lined their horses up at the scary end, counted down, and took off at a relatively controlled canter. Nothing crazy.
In Cisco's mind, horses running out of the scary corner validated his thoughts that there was something there to be scared of. And then he just couldn't.
I stayed on him for a couple of the "races" and then hopped off in the hopes I would have more control from the ground. He got slightly better but maintained his suspicions.
So that ruined what ended up being a perfectly good night.
I'm pretty sure I went through this last winter with him, and the winter before. It will pass, but omg it is so annoying. (starts Googling sound-deafening ear covers again)