About this Blog

Meet my very 1st horse, Lazarus.
I couldn't wait for Santa anymore or ask one more time for a pony for my bday (after age 30 it got embarrassing). I took matters in my own hands and I finally decided to pick a pony that needed a new home. Laz found me as I contemplated with this idea. He was sweet yet very sassy, fresh off the track, Thoroughbred (OTTB).
Join us for our re-training, rehabbing from laminitis and testing all parts of mixed up horsemanship and partnership, and luck...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Riding Lycius Two

Things were going so well!
Lazarus had been really turning into such a gentleman when we rode, stayed so quiet, starting to spook less or not at all, and listened to my aids so lightly and with such team attitude.

I started out yesterday with high hopes.
I just purchased a new bitless bridle from Nurtural and knowing so many of you have had great success, I thought this was going to be perfect! Laz and I have already been riding bareback and in my rope halter so surely this was going to be a seamless transition.
Look how handsome he looks in it!
I love the feel of the Nurtural Beta, it's synthetic but feels like lovely, floppy leather!
That's the Circle X that aids in communication
and the noseband has this lovely rubber gripper to keep it all in place.
Well, Laz simply hated it. HATED it! 
 I think it actually had something to do with the noseband..he kept trying to rub it off with his legs, tossing his head which lead to an awful ride. He wasn't paying attention, he knocked over 3 cavelettis when we walked over them, tripped a few times more while tossing his head around and snorting.
When I ride him in our rope halter, he licks, he's quiet and soft. In this bridle, he kept pushing forward in it and seemed to try and escape it and there was noooo licking.  I will give it another shot to make sure it's not some error on my end, which is quite possible.

After him being a complete snot and fighting the bridle, he got pretty fired up and then kept spooking at everything. So, I switched him back in his rope halter and we started over.
It went much better, we had a decent, not great, ride for about 40 minutes. 
To end it, I took him around the yard outside of the arena by the BO's house.
The BO's opened the sliding doors and her three dogs came barreling out, as they do everyday so it shouldn't upset Laz but he decided to buck and be bratty.  I rode him through it but it didn't end there.  It was the beginning of the most hellish ride.
Laz had left the building, and he was in race horse mode BIG TIME.  Another boarder has her quiet QH lunging in the round pen and Laz could NOT handle trotting around the round pen with the horse going opposite or in the same direction. Nor could he handle that she was using her whip...at all.  I had to ask her to stop using it because I had to attempt some control.  Laz is very reactive off whips..like BOLT reactive.  I would ask for a trot and he would buck, snake his neck, hump and starting to really get pumped up and not even remotely listening or hearing or feeling me.  How I stayed on is beyond me, I'm pretty sure feeling how incredibly sore my back, chest and legs are today, that I just had the death grip clinging to him, to ride it out.  A few times the BO shouted for me to circle and trot him which I attempted to do, but I just couldn't concentrate on her and what was going on beneath me.  I wanted to reset him, not encourage forward movement in a area that was taking all his attention away from me.  He was incredibly anxious, and competitive and in total race horse mode. The bucking was the exact thing you see every race horse do as they jig their way to the loading pen and while they are in the pen, rearing up and getting anxious to go.
Laz was Lycius Two again and I was just a jockey to him.
No connection, no respect.  It was a bear to get through.
I trotted him back in the arena where he settled a tiny bit (ie no more bucking) and got a trot. A crappy sideways banana trot but none the less, movement.  Each time I took him out to attempt to work around the round pen, the boarder and her moving horse, he could not handle it. He was so wanting to rocket around and do god knows what?! 
At this point, it's now been about 30 minutes of bucking, humping, coiled TB energy and I was so spent..and this is after our 40 minute ride. Did I mention this is bareback?? Not that a saddle would have helped unless it had a couch cushion and a seatbelt.
  I did what I could, and was looking to find how to end it on a good note because I knew I couldn't dismount and end it here.  
My thoughts were to get a calm walk, forget about asking for forward movement when he actually wants to burst out bucking and running and I was turning into a limp noodle. Ask for the opposite and ask for it in an area that he can re set his own brain and hear me.  Back in the arena, then out to the grassy area a bit away from round pen, then around the outside of the arena and we were finally done.  
Literally one of the hardest rides of my life.
All night, it bothered me and I am so sore, to remind me of it all day long. 
I felt totally disconnected from Laz and felt he was actually quite dangerous.
I think, however, the key for him when he gets so fired up is to find him a happy place and reset and start again. My question is...what if this happened out on a trail, or somewhere, where I can't reset him?  All I know, is that pushing him forward when he's like that, is not a winning combination either.
Laz...come back!!!


  1. Girl, I can't BELIEVE you stuck those shenanigans bareback!! I admit I would've been off and lunging waaaay long ago. I think it's great that you stuck with him, though. He's not going to want to go through that every ride. Hopefully he's just feeling his oats, and with the new bridle and change in weather he just lost his sweet Laz brain for a minute:)

    Or maybe he just needed to RUN. I know I'm guilty of forgetting Miles IS an OTTB at times, and nothing is going to help except a good gallop (well, he has to settle for a canter right now!). I'm not saying you don't know that too, just that maybe the episode lasted so long because he had some gunpowder that needed to go off:)
    I still think you should look at it as a GOOD thing that you stuck with him even when he's being a racehorse:) You guys will be just fine. The worst thing you could've done is hop off and let him get away with it, and you didn't. Good on ya! :)

  2. I guess the positive side to this is that you know he's feeling a lot better... :)

    Kudos to you for staying on! I'm not sure I would have been able to without a saddle. Hopefully this was just a one time thing for him, although I surprised it came after the 40 minute ride. He must have had so much fun after the spook from the dogs that he wanted to keep going.

    Do you think you would be able to circle him like the BO mentioned while he's wearing a rope halter? Sounds like you really didn't have any tools to get control over him.

  3. A lot of horses don't like the crossover under the jaw pressure of the Dr. Cook's and perhaps also the Nurtural. Maisie never liked it. There are lots of other bitless options - I've got to put something together about that - and different horses like different things.

    Just sounds like one of those days - we all have those - the weather is getting cooler and that could have been part of it. Don't worry too much - Laz will be back.

  4. Well, I think we need to stop calling you Kristen and start calling you VELCRO! Holy cannoli, girl, congrats on riding out all of that bucking bronc craziness -- and bareback!! You deserve some major props for that. ;-)

    I agree, try not to let it get to you too much -- the important thing is that you stayed on him and made him work through it. Believe me, I know it can be frustrating, but I really think you started teaching him a very important lesson -- losing your brain and behaving like a rabid tazmanian devil does NOT get you out of work!

  5. Kristen - Kate is right - Laz will be back! And probably sooner than later. You have to forget it. He was worked up about the new tack. Pie was like that the other day and he wouldn't let it go. Ever. But, now he forgot that he was mad and he is fine. I don't know how to tell you to reset Laz while you ride. You can only do what you were doing and it might work and if it doesn't, then call it a day. I hate to say that because I always try to find SOMETHING positive to end with, but I had to call it a day the last time Pie acted like Lycious Two.

  6. Are you still doing ground work with him? I don't have the guts you have! I would have been off at the first sign of trouble and doing some major ground work to get his attention back. You did fantastic to sit through all of the bareback. Wow!

  7. Applause!!!!! Glad you were'nt hurt and kudos for staying with him. I agree with Kate, some horse don't like the under jaw pressure, also check out your photos of where on the nose bridge your halter rides...then look at where the nose band of the bridle is, looks to me about an inch lower, could be he is super sensitive that low on his bridge...some are and the lower you go the more sensitive it is. Just a thought from a body mechanics aspect. Again, good job not ending on a Lycius Two note!

  8. In awe of how you have handled this reaction on Laz I have to add that I commend you highly for trying the bitless bridle. I've used Dr. Cook's Bitless Bridle for ten years..first on my champion performance trail horse and now on a young Highland Pony/Arabian mare. The first horse was older and took some time to adjust to the bitless after being ridden in bits. What really helped the most was learning to ride in a way that adds comfort to the use of reins.

    It may be that you need to start to teach Laz how to control his movements as opposed to "keeping his hooves moving." Also, you may need to adjust his feed to having more forage and certainly no feed like is normally fed to racing Thoroughbreds. You can learn, as I did, from a simple, little paperback Basic Training for a Safe Trail Horse. I've made some videos that are on You Tube under "granny with a trail horse" that are drawn from the information in this book. These videos show granny doing ground work but I will make more videos this fall to show granny mounting, riding, and performing trail maneuvers and obstacles.

  9. Olly HATED his bitless! They are twins. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSuMZ2CVkOo

  10. I am also lover of horses and fan of english horse saddle. Do you like this saddle? This is such amazing saddle and comfortable for horses.