My work with Brumby has been pretty good the last few months. But in some ways the rollercoaster has started on it's downward track.
I'm sure we've all known horses that could be stubborn. Horses that get tired and try to evade work, maybe try to head for home or even give a buck once in awhile. But I'm used to horses that, for the most part, work with you. In my view, a normal horse is fairly co-operative and willing to learn most of the time. One of the lesson horses I used to ride would get seriously pissed-off if you did something wrong or were too strong in your aids. I consider that within the range of normal - she had a reason for behaving that way and if you did things right she would give you some amazing work.
I am not used to a horse that constantly tests the rider and is generally defiant. This is, apparently, Brumby. A number of months ago I mentioned how much weight he had lost over the winter. His owner was thinking it was the stress of the abscess since he was very lame for quite awhile and was kept inside therefore separated from his buddies. But he just wasn't gaining it back as you would expect of a young gelding with free-choice hay and twice daily grain. About 3 weeks ago, his owner realized he wasn't getting nearly as much grain as other horses his size so she has been increasing it.
Within about a week I started having issues with him again and so did she. Although we were getting some good work in, I was also began having more issues with brakes, bucking, trying to go home...basically anything he could throw out to try to get his way. It is becoming difficult to balance ending on a good note and not letting him get away with the behaviour with not starting a battle I might not be able to finish.
Not all bad.
His owner says this is the horse she knows him to be and attributes it to the increase in food (which includes sweet feed). She says he gets this attitude from his daddy. But his sire was extremely successful, so it must have been channeled better, I guess. I've mentioned that I think too much sugar could be part of the defiance issue, it doesn't always manifest itself as a "hot" horse in the typical sense. Apparently he was like this at the old barn with a "very bland" diet. But at that time he also had a saddle that was pinching him quite badly.
What do you guys think, is he just a grumpy gelding with a poor work ethic? I know there are a million variables you don't know (or me either, for that matter) but I'm curious if you think some horses just have a strongly defiant attitude and don't really like to work with people. As I said, I've never met a horse with an attitude quite like this. Or is it more likely that some outside factor (e.g., feed, pain) is influencing this behaviour. His saddle was professionally fit in the fall by the most respected fitter in our area. He saw the vet for vaccines & herd health stuff in the spring and no issues came up that I know of.
Now, some pictures from a good day. We were working on a gymnastic of 3 jumps - trot in, a one stride, and a bounce. They were only about 2' but it was a very good exercise and not a bad start after not jumping in quite awhile. Hopefully this won't be the last good jumping lesson! I will cry.
Trotting in to the first "jump" the first time through.
The first time through is just two low elements.
One stride to a cavelletti.
Next a bounce was added.
Hmm, I think we took the first cross rail
out and added this final element at the end.
This became a little oxer later.Never a dull moment, anyway.