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!
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.
Enter Lycius Two!
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.