I did something stupid tonight. My green horse inexperience came through badly. In preparation for taking Rogo to Joan’s tomorrow I decided to lead him around outside the fenced area (at home). Of course I should have been doing this all along, but didn’t think about it. I used to lead him back in the woods when he was a 2 year old, so it didn’t seem like that big a deal. Anyway, after leading him around the yard and down the road to the beach everything was going beautifully. He was completely calm, and even though the other horses were calling to him quite agitatedly he didn’t answer once or even glance at them. I took carrot pieces to make it enjoyable and we stopped for those. Also practiced whoa and backing up and everything worked great. By the time we got to the beach my confidence in him was such that I thought “we’ll go for a nice sunset walk on the beach”. We walked up the beach no problem but when we turned to come back he only took a few steps before squealing, spinning, bucking and ripped the line out of my hand. (My arm is now killing me.) He galloped back up the beach, not to the horses but to a nice patch of clover where I got the lead line back and brought him home. The bad part is that now I know he has it in his head, just like running off on the longe line. Now that I’ve written it maybe it doesn’t sound that bad? I just had a regular lead clipped to his halter so had no control (didn’t think I needed any). For his safety I need to learn some other methods that give me more control until he is more predictable.
Yuk. This is killing my confidence to go to the show, and maybe it should. I have no experience or knowledge of how to handle a 17 hand 5 year old from the ground when he decides to take over being boss. Guess I better get some supports in place or stay home.
It's hard to know when you should push out of your comfort zone a bit for the sake of progress and when you should work on more repetition and being absolutely cautious. The plan has been not to compete for the first day of the show. If it isn't going well we can always scratch for the second day when we are entered in Walk Trot A and B. Cheryl thinks it's time to get him out there and get some experience with show environments and I agree in theory.
I'm so traumatized I forgot about our lesson today! It went well - he did his first test ever - walk trot A, and it wasn't too bad for a first test. Cheryl said we passed, so if we can do that at the show we'll be laughing! Once I get him moving off my inside leg reliably he'll be doing very well. Also did a short canter in each direction and transitions were very good.