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Wizard Rides 318 & 319: Foggy Notion

December 5, 2011

Wizard in the Fog

Monday, 11/28/11

I rode Wizard under the lights at night after work. He was really great at the walk and trot, with very little ear pinning or tail swishing… until we cantered. Then, he got bouncy and irritated. This horse is a puzzle.

Sunday, 12/4/11

Foggy, foggy night! I turned Wizard loose in the outdoor arena and he ran and ran and ran and ran. Tail flagged, nostrils flared, he was having a ball. I tacked him up and he got very goosey as soon as I was in the saddle. Once we did some trot work, he stopped pinning his ears and was better. We stopped in the middle of the ride and I dismounted while I watched my friend’s horse, and then got back in the saddle and continued our ride. Interestingly, there was no ear pinning. I am so confused! He rode really well at the trot in that second half of the ride. Is this a habit that he is picking up? Am I somehow reacting when he does it? I try really hard not to react and to keep riding, but I wonder if I am giving off some subtle body language. We mostly did circles and changes of direction and he did better with that than he did with lots of straightaways. He went from being really chompy on the bit to taking contact and actually sitting on it a little. We stopped again for a few minutes, and then he got ear-pinny again. I need to figure this thing out.

When we were done, I started grooming him on the cross ties. He pinned his ears and snapped in my direction. He has been doing this lately, and I decided that it was unacceptable behavior and put a lead rope on him that had a chain over the nose. One single “hey” with one pull on the chain completely removed all ear pinning and snapping. I then put the saddle pad and saddle back on a few times, and he stood like a stone. Some horses really respond to the chain, even when it’s barely used, and Wizard is one of them. He’s probably also surprised when I reprimand him since I’m usually a mush :^) I am attentive to his discomfort, but there is a line between being unhappy and misbehaving. I hope to get the chiropractor back out to see him when a month is up, and I’m curious to see what she thinks. If she can find an issue, I’m all ears, but so far, every professional has said, “just ride him”.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anna permalink
    December 5, 2011 2:27 am

    Sarah, do y’all just hang out together sometimes? Babe doesn’t really have bad manners, but he does ask daily if I’m sure I’m the leader (and the answer hasn’t always been ‘yes’), and I find hanging out together and doing some laid back, at liberty exercises really improves saddle time.

    • December 5, 2011 2:13 pm

      Thank you for your suggestion- we used to do a lot of that sort of thing. Wizard usually has very good manners, but I’ve heard that he had some habits in the past. I’m hoping to get him back on a better work schedule again and that will help him get on an even keel again.

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