Imax is settling in nicely, and has a fan club with some of the little girls who take lessons at Pony Tail. On Sunday, one of them updated me on his every move, and informed me that he likes apples.
Since Saturday was a settling in day, I just worked with him on the ground, mostly leading him around the barn and in the arenas, learning to whoa and back up when I tell him. I think I need a stud chain, he will drag me around if he feels like it. Erin (former owner) said you just have to put one on him, and that makes him calm right down and listen attentively. I have been using the lead-rope around his nose like a stud chain and that works just as well, but having that clunky clasp over his nose looks so mean.
Sunday morning we went for our first ride at PTR, and he was a very good boy. I started him in the round pen, pushing and chasing him a bit, until he was “chewing” and then he followed me around for a while.
He was mostly patient when I was tacking him up, since my tack is new for him, everything needed adjusting, so it took a while – also periodically and randomly picking up his feet. He is getting the idea that I will ask him for a foot at the oddest times.
We had a nice little hack around the jumping arena, and trotted some poles, and he did that just fine. I rode him all around the barn, and down the street about a block; he did great and I decided to quit while ahead.
Then yesterday, after work I decided to take him on the Lake Young trail, and getting down there he was fine, but once on the trail, he started throwing his head around and refusing to go forward. I circled him and kept asking him to go, and he did have a number of flip-outs. No bucking or rearing, but throwing his head around and backing up. When I would get him going forward, just about the time I would think he had been going nicely and we could turn around, he would flip out again. So our little trail ride turned into a test of wills. I finally had a good stretch of going forward and got to turn around. Once back at the barn, I had dismounted thinking to walk him around the arena to cool off, and he did the “drag me around” thing again. So, I put him in the round pen and ran his butt off, and got him following me around like a little puppy. I walked him and brushed him – gave him some carrots and we ended on a good note.
Speculation on what caused the bad behavior – There were a TON of mosquitoes, and he didn’t like them, and also I think he has a sore spot on the girth line on the right side. I noticed he would react by flipping his head and lipping when I brushed that area. So today will be a day off from riding, more ground work. Also, since his wither is so high, the saddle slides back quite a bit by the end of the ride – I need to put some more holes in the breastcollar to help keep it in place. Even before I noticed him reacting to being touched on the girthline, I have not been cinching him down super tight, just enough to keep the saddle on – maybe too loose and the saddle is joggling around on his back. All things to watch in the future.
All in all everything is going just fine. I have already cried twice and beaten myself up for not buying Monty the paint. And then I go and see Imax and start to feel better.