Monday, July 5, 2010

The Letting Go

I came here to let you know
The letting go has taken place
I have held the winter's son
Become one, set my pace
Isn't that what we wanted all along
— "The Letting Go", Melissa Etheridge
from her 1992 album "Never Enough"

Poco did not want to get in the trailer. I'm not surprised, since our trailer rides of late have meant that he gets to work his butt off in the heat while Bubby plays with the junior stallions or munches hay in a cool, dark stall. No matter. For the price of a cookie, both horses stepped right in, and we headed to Iron Ridge for lessons.

Heather said I'd get 2 lessons, and had suggested the first one be on Nita's aged mare, Keeley. Keeley is a good ride, but I haven't ridden Jaz myself in awhile, and he hasn't been ridden at all since O got hold of him, so I opted to use him for the first part of the lesson. The barn was full, so after consulting with Heather, I put Poco with the junior stallions and tied Jaz to the stocks to get tacked up. Poco was in hog heaven, because he had a pen full of youngsters to boss around — Zire, Rico, and Scorch plus the lame QH gelding, Rover.

How quickly we forget ... Good gawd, Jazu has the
worst trot ever, on top of a case of the I-don't-want-to's. If I could get past his trot to the canter — skip 2nd gear altogether — it would be great, because he has a nice canter, but I'm not there yet. He really didn't want to work. I rode him through it for 35-40 minutes, then hosed him down and tied him to the stocks while I fetched Poco.

Yeah, about that... I walked into the junior stallion pen and Poco took off in the opposite direction at a trot, tail flagged. Nanny nanny boo boo! Look at me, boys, I'm too cool for school.

No, really, Poco.

I approached him again, and Mr. I'm-All-That-And-A-Bag-Of-Chips took off again.

Seriously, you're running from me? FINE. I will run your sorry proud-cut ass until you beg me to stop.

And I did, while Heather, Kris, and Jason laughed hysterically. Picture this: Poco was trying to
hide in a corner behind the juniors so I wouldn't make him run anymore. The young boys knew he was in trouble, because they weren't running from me, and they started picking on him. He was so concerned about keeping away from me that he didn't even bother trying to fight them off. Even bottom-rung-submissive Rico got a couple good shots at him. Finally, I toned my energy down and led a heaving-and-humble Poco to the stocks to be tacked up. It was over in less than 5 minutes.

What a
freaking amazing ride we had. He was more than amenable to my cues and commands. I was able to get him up into and hold him in a perfectly lovely, well-paced trot, as opposed to trying to catch it on the way down.

Then, I let go and gave him his head. You know what happened?


I had one hand on the horn, prepared for him to escalate into the canter/lope, but he held where I put him. I could not have asked for better. He got hosed down, lots of "good boy's" and Gatorade before we called it a day, loaded back up, and headed home.

Gotta love it when you're gone and back, rode 2 ponies, trailer put up, gear stowed, cleaned up, and drinking beer by 3pm. That was no small pen I had to run the Pokester around. He's not the only one whupped from the day's efforts.


aurora said...

Glad you had such a great ride Leah!

Bet Poco doesn't play catch me if you can, next time.

Unknown said...

Poco is coming along like a champ, isn't he? Do you think its the consistency? Or did that boss mare session end up teaching more than what it means to be caught?

Leah Fry said...

It's a constant battle of wits between us. I always have to play head games with him to establish dominance: make him do stuff just because I can and because I say so. I don't care where he's standing when I feed him, I will make him back away from me, even if he's a respectable distance back already. If he steps forward before I say he can, we do it again. Jaz gets fed first, Jaz gets treats first. When I'm done petting him, I don't just walk away, I send HIM away. It's the way it has to be because if you give him an inch, he'll take everything he can.

The Boss Mare chasing the fat boy around in the heat, humiliating him in front of inferiors — oh yeah, it's about SO MUCH MORE than just being caught.

The consistency is helping, even though it's only once or twice a week. I'm sure if I could ride more he'd be even better.

Anonymous said...

Whoo-Hoo! That's awesome! I have the same goal for 3pm today. :)

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Yeehaw, girlfriend! You taught that naughty boy some respect and manners. Good for you!
And he gave you what you asked for. How awesome!

Apache's trot is joltingly uncomfie, too, until she gets into her 'groove', as if she's not even thinking about it, like it's second nature. When she's trying too hard to get a smooth trot, she gets it all wrong. Weird, huh?


BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Yea, it's a never-ending battle with those dominant types...but I tell ya what, when you get them rolling your way...they are soooo much fun.

Sherry Sikstrom said...

Well done , sounds like Poco got a bit of comeuppance and it was good for him.

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