I am terrible at ring work with my horse. What's more, he isn't good at it either. We don't do well on the TTC obstacles because some of what we are asked to do would be stuff to practice in the ring and our ring relationship is in the toilet.
Tonight I decided to work on my canter departs. Only before I could do canter departs, I had to go back to square one with the bit (b/c he hates the bit and I never use it b/c he hates it) and work at the walk and the trot. He never really did well at the trot tonight, so I was nervous to ask him to do much cantering. However, a couple times he felt like he might canter, but then he just laid his ears back and stopped and acted like he would buck if I pushed him another step. If I'd had a stick I'd have smacked him...but I didn't, so I went back to more walk and trot work. I always second guess myself in these situations. I was riding in a bit and the western saddle b/c it doesn't have so much crap hanging off of it and it was easier to throw on. I feel really secure in it, but he doesn't seem to be so keen on it...but then I don't know if he's really not keen on it, or if he's just giving me a hard time b/c he doesn't want to do the work. I already know that part of the issue is Dixie being there. On our figure eights he would pull further and further outside of the circle to get closer and closer to Dixie. With my sprained ankle getting sore, I didn't have the leg power i normally have either.
I find myself wondering if Dr. Deb is wrong and if not all horses can/will go in a snaffle. I know that I haven't put the time in for us to really be comfortable in a bit, but it's hard when he is light and sensitive and does pretty much everything I want in an S hackamore. I find myself wondering why she HAS to be right and why the hack has to be wrong. She says I can go back to a side pull, but I don't find that I have the control that I have a with a bit...and it's scary to think i could possibly have less control than that.
It's very discouraging b/c he does down the trail beautifully and he's happy out there. I find myself questioning the why of the ring work, yet I know it's essential to our continued development. He doesn't like me posting on his right hind and the only way to really work on that is in the ring in circles. He doesn't like to canter on a circle...gotta fix that too. In fact, I find myself wondering why I bother to ever compete when we clearly have so few skills.
I'm sure he didn't have a good time tonight and I finished up the session feeling very discouraged...though he did stop throwing his head around and trot a few nice circles...he didn't buck me off and after it was all said and done he followed me around the pasture instead of running off, so something must have been right. I think the western saddle is definitely out on him. I can't find any fit issues, but I remember that the one time he did buck me off on purpose was in that saddle and we've had no bucking since I got the orthoflex. He didn't seem to ever want to canter when I used that saddle all the time, so perhaps something isn't right about it for him,even though he doesn't seem sore...or, he could just be pulling the wool over my eyes to avoid work he doesn't want to do. Won't know till I ride him again in the other saddle.
Monday I'm taking Tonka up to my friend Susan's and see how she does on the trail up there. So, Tuesday will be my next chance to ride him, maybe before the chiro comes.