First of all, no pictures... sorry! I forgot my phone. Second... it's time to step things up. Chrome was a butt!! To be fair, it was cool, windy and I was riding out on the road, which he's only done once or twice in the last six months or so (too lazy to go look right now).
Hubby walked with us, leading Jackal and Rocky. I rode Chrome in the bridle and saddle because I could tell he was feeling his oats (he galloped up to the front when I called him). It started out quiet, Chrome walking calmly and forward. Then we turned the corner by what we call the junk house (neighbor collects garbage and junk, then spreads it all over her yard so it looks like a junk yard). Someone was in there among the junk banging on something. The wind was also causing plastic in a broken car window to whip around. He didn't spook, but he was up. He was also looking for the neighbor horses, which makes him spookier because he's not paying attention to his environment.
Then we got to the neighbor's barn and someone has pulled a beat up, trashy camper in beside her barn and was cleaning it out.... very loudly! Seriously they were ripping cabinets out and throwing them out the door. There was also a service vehicle parked next to the road with one of those black truck bed covers that was standing open high over our heads. Chrome has never seen one of those, couldn't see what was making the noise in the camper and had finally spotted the neighbor horses way off in the pasture. He was balky, but relatively calm. Rocky was spooky too during all of this and Jackal was whining because the neighbor dog was stalking us. All very annoying.
We kept walking along the pasture and the neighbor horses neighed at us a few times which caused Chrome to slam on the brakes and swing his head around to gawk... which just irritates the you know what out of me. I kicked him until he kept going (silently berating myself for not having a whip, but I thought we were past this balking crap).
We kept going and he continued to be balky and annoying. I basically just tried to ignore his bad behavior and focused on keeping him going. Straight lines were optional. I swear it was like he was a baby all over again. We only went half a mile before turning around because Jackal isn't supposed to be on pavement too much.
When we turned around both horses obviously stopped being balky (Rocky because he's barn sour and Chrome because he wanted to go back to the other horses). We walked along fine until we got back to the neighbor barn. Chrome was ignoring the banging in the camper and the truck and the tin banging on the roof, but he was staring at the neighbor horses still. When we passed the barn he relaxed, dropped his head and resigned himself to going home.
I, however, saw the neighbor horses coming from around the barn, so I knew what was about to happen. They exploded around the side of the barn (they were feeling good too) and Rocky jumped forward right into Chrome as he slammed on the brakes and flagged his tail. He didn't even notice Rocky slam into him... he just stood, staring at the horses, all puffed up and feeling sixteen hands.
Okay... normally I would have gotten off as soon as I saw the horses coming because I'm a huge chicken and I knew how he would react, but I didn't!! It wasn't really a conscious decision. I just didn't think about it. Getting off never crossed my mind. That makes me so happy!!! I actually rode him through his shenanigans and wasn't really scared... okay a little, but not too bad. I was more irritated that he still acts like a green moron, than scared haha.
So hubby got Rocky back in control, miraculously without Jackal getting stepped on. We continued down the road. Chrome's tail was flagged and he was doing his floating trot... which really does feel as awesome as I thought it would lol. I could feel the tension in his body. He was two second away from bolting every time the other horses took off galloping and bucking. Amazingly whatever ounce of sane he still had in his brain combined with my death grip on the reins, kept him at a walk/prance. The whole time I was scared, but proud of him for containing himself when I knew all he wanted to do was run and play with his "friends".
So we continued on around the corner. The neighbor horses stopped at the corner, but just then a car came up behind us. Chrome was walking sideways, wanting to see why the horses stopped and was swinging his butt into the road. I scolded him and got him straightened out so the guy could pass. Then we kept going. He finally relaxed and kept walking. Then... just as I knew would happen... the horses bolted up from behind us and ran along the fence we were walking by and then off into their pasture. Chrome, again, wanted to bolt, but he didn't. I wrestled him into a walk and he calmed down again since they were way off in the pasture and we were almost back to the driveway.
Once we got back on the property it was like night and day. He was back to his normal self. Irritating, but I'm thankful he comes down so quickly. So as we walked calmly and placidly up the driveway I got to thinking about his behavior and was a little pissed off. I know I shouldn't get mad or take it personally... he's a horse just being a horse... specifically a young, inexperienced, sheltered horse... but I did. I couldn't help it. I didn't take it out on him or anything. I just made up my mind that there was absolutely no way the ride was ending right there when he expected it. I made him trot up the driveway and he jumped into it, very forward.
I waited for hubby to put Rocky away and then I started riding around the yard. Going up the driveway I asked Chrome to trot. Then he pulled a trick that he's done a couple of times now, but I didn't realize what exactly he was doing until today because previously it had only been at a walk. I had noticed that he was veering from side to side on the driveway, but I didn't know why. I finally figured it out at the trot. He started veering to one side and when I corrected him with the reins he tried to use that as an excuse to turn all the way around and go back to the car (okay so maybe he is a little barn sour... car sour... whatever, but it's because I've been letting him graze after I ride... that won't be happening anymore. Now that I think about it he does that every spring when the grass is first coming up). That totally pissed me off. I straightened him back out and kicked the snot out of him. I had to keep ping ponging him back and forth to keep him straight, but I eventually got him by that spot and he started trotting a straight line without all the veering. We trotted all the way up the driveway, then turned and walked halfway back down.
Then I turned and trotted him up my grandparent's driveway, turned around and trotted him back. Just as we were approaching my driveway he spooked sideways at something and then flipped his head and curled his neck like he does right before he starts crowhopping. I popped him in the mouth and he stopped. For a second I really thought he was going to start bucking. The sad thing is I think he was just being really playful because he felt good... but he has to learn that isn't acceptable under saddle. The good thing is that he actually decided not to buck before I even corrected him (so I really shouldn't have corrected him, but I was already reacting and couldn't process it in time to stop myself). It all happened in a second, so it's one of those things you realize after the fact. I don't know how to explain it, but all of you who ride know what I'm talking about. You can feel the horse's intention in his body and Chrome's reaction to the spook was to buck, but then he changed his mind because he knows better.... and then I yanked him in the mouth. Ugh!! I wish I could stop that reaction...
Anyway as soon as I yanked him to a walk I immediately sent him back into a trot, because he'd been so balky I didn't want to teach him spooking meant stopping. We trotted back up the driveway and then walked to the yard and worked on standing still while hubby put the hay fork on the tractor. Chrome did not want to stand still. I was verbally scolding him, but didn't do the lateral flexion like I normally do because my shoulder still hurts.
Finally I got so irritated with him sneaking steps in that I started turning him in tiny circles and making him keep going forward until he didn't want to anymore, then I made him keep going for a few seconds more. As soon as I took my leg off he stopped and then flexed laterally without me even asking lol. He was so confused, because normally I just flex him, I don't ask him to circle because it's hard on his stifles. He was really rubbing me the wrong way though. It only took a few times and he gave up and stood still. Finally! It's so weird riding him when he's so "up", because he's normally such a dead head.
I'm proud of myself for riding through the scary parts though, especially the fact that I never even considered getting off when that used to be my first response. I'm disappointed in myself for getting irritated and angry though. The weird thing is I was actually having fun when he was being good. Maybe that's why I got so irritated. Ugh. Anyway, we just both need to step up the rides and get back in practice.
I know that Chrome isn't upset though because after the ride he still came over and was begging for attention, even though hubby was driving a bale of hay out into the pasture lol.
The part on the road was 1 mile and the ride was a total of forty one minutes. He didn't act at all tired by the end of the ride, which is why I think it's time to step things up.
Sorry for the looooooong wordy post... it's probably boring, but I need to record this stuff so that when he's acting like a fool in a couple of months I can look back and see how bad he actually used to be so I know we're making progress haha. I still love the little turd, even when he makes me want to pull my hair out. :)