Things went from decent, to terrible, back to good, with Boss.
When he first came to my house, he was antsy to start his work, a bit of a booger for the first 20 minutes (from catch into the ride). He'd jig around, ants-in-his-pants, and then half way through the walk, he'd finally relax a bit.
Then one ride in the howling winds, he decided to take off in the arena between halter off and bridle on. Off he went, in a flash. I pushed him around with the longe whip, made his life generally difficult, and found he LOVES to rollback, butt facing me. No, sirreee doodeedah, that sh!t ain't happenin' here, MisterMan. Chase Chase Chase, ease up the body pressure, and as soon as he'd give two eyes, I'd back away and walk off. After the third time one evening, he gave up. I rode a little while, (5 minutes or less), just long enough to prove I am BossMare, and called i quits.
The next ride, he was a turd to start yet again. "I'm not playing this game!", I called out. After two eyes facing up, I hopped on. By the third ride, I had a plan - longed him in the Side Reins. his ears flipped wildly, eyes wrinkled up tight. He *knew* then I meant business, and I wasn't playing a gallop-game anymore. Not only is his running disrespectful, it's dangerous. After the longe session, I took all his head tack off, and haltered him. Boss gave me the most bewildered look, as if he didn't understand quite why I wasn't going to ride. "That's enough for today. Let's see what I have tomorrow to ride."
Thursday, I longed him in the halter for 10 minutes to start. He was wild for only a circle or two, and then settled right down. Interesting .... The ride? It was great. I found a few holes in my riding ability, and checked with Samantha over them. She reminded me that I need to use my outside rein for good turns and bending.
Earlier this week, I put that inside rein to the test. With a sharp movement, Boss was making 90-degree turns. Outside leg, outside rein tight, turning my body from the waist up where I want to go, and Boss turns! He turns hard! We made the smallest circles ever, and I had absolutely no idea the Big monster could bend like that!
I have also found the secret to his "go". Spurs. I'm not a huge fan of the darn things, but I've noticed it only takes a poke or two, followed by leg pressure, and he's forward-going. We've also negotiated the canter transitions - he pushes up into them instead of the one-time rearing show he gave me, and he also stays in the canter now without me kicking every stride. It sometimes feels like my legs are out in front of my seat when I ride Boss - his swayback positions my saddle a bit odd, and that makes my legs feel a bit forward. With my legs in that spot, however, it's very easy to push him forward. I had the best trot and canter we've had yet together earlier this week.
"well done grasshopper" Sam sent me in a text when I told her about the inside rein and the forward gaits. well done.... :) hop hop!