I’m amazed, and baffled, how people can consistently trail ride a horse that barely steers. I wouldn’t feel safe doing that. Especially out where anything could happen.
Basic overview of Levi:
- He defaults to balking when frustrated or stressed.
- He does not like the mounting block. Apparently someone whacked him hard at the mounting block, once, when he was for sale recently. Now he tries to avoid mounting blocks.
- Doesn’t really believe he needs to give to pressure. He will eventually give, but after some opinions on it.
- He initially resists all rein aids.
- Any ask for the trot results in violent head throwing.
- He is respectful of personal space, for the most part.
- He seems willing to please.
- He seems confused and expecting the worst from humans.
- He is a conserver of energy.
- Go buttons are sticky (he was being ridden with spurs previously). Im not comfortable in spurs, so I’m re-teaching “Go” to suit me better.
- He tosses his head any time he decides he doesn’t want to do something. Glad I wear a helmet, since our heads met at one point when I was trying to convince him to stand at the mounting block.
- He has not offered to buck, rear, bite, or kick at any time, even when I’ve pressured him past his comfort zone. (Very sweet guy).
- After a very short head throwing tantrum, he’s pretty amendable to whatever i ask.
- Lighter aids seem to work really, really well on this guy. Softer the better. He’s quicker to respond and more willing. Less stressed.
- I did have to growl at him twice when his head tossing started getting out of hand. He straightened up quickly.
- He gets the ask/reward method really quickly. Associates thing A with thing B quickly.
- He seems a little afraid to make a mistake.
- I get the feeling that he actually did have some semi-decent training on him at some point long, long ago… but non-riders over the years have screwed him up. I think that base will really help me get him progressing quickly.
He travels with his head up, stiff, braced, and hollow. He goes this way in the pasture too, without any rider.
He’s far more stiff to the right than the left, overall.
I think I can make some pretty good changes in him over the next 6 months. Maybe. Assuming there aren’t any underlying physical issues. My friend, who I bought him from, said he’s had chiro, teeth, and vet check done, and that his undersaddle issues were the same regardless. I want to get his teeth re-done soon though.
He does seem to relax and move better when I give lots of praise and reward for the small right answers.
My Tolouse saddle fits him nearly perfectly. I wish it fit me as well. My legs are too short for it.
Oh, I forgot… so, I’m big on giving treats during a ride. I think it’s a tool that can quickly say “Well done!” (I haven’t had any negative issues from it in 7 years). Anyway, I’m on Levi and I reach down to hand him a treat, and he freaked out. Like “What the h*ll is THAT HAND doing here?!?!?!”
I try again, and again, and again. And finally, he figures out theres a treat there and takes it. 😆
He’s all cool with treats from the saddle now. 🙂
Poor boy thought the disembodied hand was going to get him!
Last ride he was like, “Yes, I will have a yummy treat now!” Really sweet about taking it too. All lips. lol!
He’s growing on me. 🥰
Really, really hoping the canter isn’t a train wreck. I’ve only seen 2 steps of it under saddle. He canters in the pasture, but he seems to only canter directly toward me. Haha I can’t get a side view to save my life. He seems stiff and flat from the front view though. Not the awe inspiring, big air time, canter I had hoped for. Oh well, not like any of the one’s I’ve had have had great canters either.