Working the Herd in Hand
It was snow showering when I got home, and the day had been so cloudy the ring had not dried up at all but was full of puddles. So, I opted to work everyone from the ground.
Tucker was up first on the long lines. Aside from being his usual lazy self, he was a really good boy and once I developed his energy level, gave me some really nice work. This included a series of canter/trot/canter transistions on each hand which really engaged his hind end and put him into a nice frame.
I lunged Toby next and, as usual, there is nothing really to report. He was as close to perfect as he could be. What a sweetie.
Then I decided to simply lunge Chance. Mistake. Without the bit for control, he fell more and more to the outside when he was on the right rein. Eventually, I was using all my muscle and leverage just to keep him on the circle.
So, rather frustrated, I took him back in to rig him up in the long lines.
Then the fun began. He does NOT like to go on the right rein. First, of course, he wants to fall out to the left. This is correctable with the right rein making a very active correction as soon as he even begins to drift.
But the problem begins when he takes the left lead on the right rein. Normally, I might correct this by using the outside left rein to straighten him a bit before the depart, but in this case, that only encourages him to try to spin left and reverse his direction.
The rest of the problem lies in that he does not truly canter off the verbal command and once he does canter, he thinks he can decide when it's time to go back to trot, so he breaks gait with alarming frequency.
And then, when he gets fed up with going on the right rein, he will pull a fast stop and a 180 turn to go the other way. If I can catch him before he does that, then his other solution is to rear up. Well, he reared twice and one of them was pretty impressive. Suffice it to say, he was very determined to have his own way.
Suffice it to say it is not my nature to let him have his own way.
We spent a good hour "discussing" this issue and I must say some of my language was pretty colorful. I have no idea what kind of vocabulary Chance was using, but I have a feeling he was trying to give me the horse version of some pretty foul words more then once.
I am not 100% pleased with the ultimate conclusion as I never really did get a full circle canter on the right lead but I did get several correct departs.
He is fine on the left, so he is a very one sided horse who is going to need some remedial work on the right rein.
Once he figures out I am more stubborn than he is, we will be fine.
He certainly is one opinionated young man. *sigh*