Bare Back Lunging

I don't know what to say, so I'll just start right in and describe it. Rogo was over the top about the bare back pad (I normally ride bare back without a pad but because I'm just starting on Rogo I thought I'd use one). He took off on me several times as I tried to lunge him (inside a fenced area) so Doug took over. I hate to admit it but Rogo can get away from me on the lunge and Doug can hold him (even though it means he gets dragged in the dirt). It's hard to understand why he would be so excited about a bare back pad but he was. Galloping round and round the arena. Snorting and electric. Passaging. You get the picture. The funny thing is that when he was introduced to the saddle he wa totally indifferent to it. I'm serious. There was NO reaction. Same thing with being mounted. He's never minded having a rider on his back except to resist going forward at first. So why does he react so excitedly to a bare back pad? Who knows.
Amyway, after he settled down I got on, while Doug lunged. I spent most of the time walking, but did a little trot (less than a 20 m circle). Rogo was fine by then and chewing the bit nicely and reaching for it. I was able to relax my hips and feel the difference between this and what I'm doing in the saddle (too tense). We're going to do a lot more in the next while.
Conclusion - I need lots more of this and Rogo needs more switching things up. I think bareback will really help my seat with him. I'm going to ignore the fact that I have a show coming up, and spend some quality time on bare back. We'll ride our tests when we get there and pray to the dressage goddess for mercy :)


juliette said…
Carol, is it possible that something on the pad or part of the pad was hurting/pinching/tickling him?
Rising Rainbow said…
It's times like this I really wish they could talk. Guessing reasons is just so frustrating. I'm glad he finally settled down but the behavior sure does seem odd. You just never know what goes through their brains.

I know a number of dressage riders who never practice their tests because they don't want their horses anticipating. Working on your body position (and that hand) will help you with your test. I think you have a great plan.
Carol said…
Thanks so much Juliette and Mikael. I wondered if there could be something uncormfortable with the pad, but it had a sheep skin cover around the girth, we took extra time to make sure there were no twists in the girth, etc. Also, when he finally settled down he was fine, so it seems there was nothing wrong with his comfort. I don't know though. It really makes you wonder. Clearly there was something off.
I agree that working on my body position and hand should help the test riding. Doug convinced me to work on this now. I admit to wanting to ride the tests over and over :)
Annette said…
I had a horse that hated the bareback pad too. I could ride him bareback with no pad or under saddle and he didn't care at all. But something about the pad... he HATED it. I never did figure it out.
Anonymous said…
The change probably just spooked him. Riding bareback is very good - you can really feel what you're doing and it's great for balance and relaxation - you can't pinch anywhere or it forces you up (happens in the saddle too but easier to get away with there).
TBDancer said…
My horse, OTTB, is very set in his ways. ANY change requires a lot of reassurance on my part that he will indeed survive to eat another meal. I had the acupuncture vet do an electro-acupuncture treatment on my horse's throat latch area (he's a roarer) and the machine that provides the zapping can hang on a surcingle. However, he's in cross ties which means "saddling paddock," and that means change (read "death"), so we took him OUT of the cross ties, stood him in the aisleway of the barn where I sat on a bench with the machine in my lap. He instantly went to sleep (which is the norm).

You're right--"switch it up" a bit and take Mr. Rogo out of his comfort zone. I have to do the same thing with The Emperor (his acupuncture vet's name for him) ;oD
Carol said…
Good advice. Thanks! Rogo has been unusually calm and accepting for a young horse, but at first everything was new and we took it slow. Now that he's gotten his 'habits', changing them is scary to him.
Funny about the pad. Maybe he didn't like the color or the smell or it didn't go with his coat,he thought it made his butt look big, you'll never know. Glad he settled down and you were able to ride. Bareback is just great for balance.

Relax and have fun at the upcoming show.
I have to let Val thoroughly sniff i.e. approve of anything that goes on, in or around his body.

Perhaps having the bareback pad just casually hanging around where he can see it... near his stall, on the fence, over the gate while you're riding in the arena? :)
Carol said…
GHM - you made me laugh out loud with the big butt comment! I know just how her feels :)
CFS - good idea. I'll give it a try.
Jan said…
Carol, It is unusual for Rogo to become so excited like that- perhaps it feels really different to him than you (bareback) or a saddle. It will be interesting to see what happens the next time you try it. Sounds like a good session once he calmed down. Good work!