July 31, 2015

Cycle of Insanity

When you have 4 consecutive GREAT rides with few issues, you begin to wonder when that streak will end.  Mine ended yesterday.

After thoroughly cleaning the barn, I thought that Miss Ypke deserved a thorough spa day and brought her out to the hitching post.  Once out there, the horseflies and wasps swarmed us. Not fun. After she was all cleaned up I figured a short 10 minute bareback stroll would be nice because it was a beautiful day, so I bridled her and headed to the mounting block. The train derailed from the tracks.
Don't be fooled by the fluffy earzz
It started okay, but then went downhill - she stood by it just fine, I stepped up, but then as soon as I began to swing my leg over she backed up real fast.  Not cool.  This ensued for about five minutes before she wouldn't even let me go so far as to touch the mounting block before backing away. 

I tried the most common tactics of having her "work" (trot) whenever she moved away or asking her to back up farther and a little bit quicker than she already was (in hopes of making her realize that backing up wasn't as enjoyable as she initially thought).  It got us back to the point where we could stand by the block... which she would then use as a scratching post before backing away again.

After 30 minutes of the previous two methods with zero luck, I did what any other wimp would do: pick the block up and carry it right next to her side.  We went around in a cycle of insanity like that for 15 minutes before I remembered one key thing about Ypke: she doesn't like being poked. 

Not the slightest look of guilt
I got her to halt a couple of feet away and then clucked and said "walk on."  Whenever she didn't respond I would lightly poke just behind her girth area with my thumb with increasing amounts of pressure every three times (luckily she responded almost immediately, so it was really light).  Right when she would take even one step, I immediately released the dreaded thumb and praised her.  Within several minutes I was able to stand on the block again.  While she did try to back away once again, I would tap her girth area as a reminder and praise her when she came back.

After over 50 minutes, I finally managed to begin the ride.  Ironically enough, she kept trying to force her way over to the mounting block as we were trudging around.  It was a poor, short-lived ride that was just a couple of laps around the arena, but at least we ended on a good note.  She has always been fine being ridden around bareback, but today was just one of those days.  It was clear that she was in a "I should be in my field right now, so I won't listen to you," testy mood.  While it wasn't necessarily an enjoyable time (for either of us) it was rather productive.

It is times like these where I wish I was agile enough to swing myself up rather than needing a mounting block.

6 comments:

  1. Frustrating that she was difficult! I hope she is better next time.

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  2. Good job working through and not giving up.

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  3. oy.... isn't that always the way? like, 'oh yea i'm just gonna bop around for a fun 10min ride, nbd!' but somehow the horse didn't get the memo.... ugh. glad you got it sorted out by the end tho!

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    1. It never really seems to fail, haha! 10 minutes suddenly turns into an hour of frustration.

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