Saturday, July 7, 2012

I find something Rondo is actually afraid of...

...and for once, my horses are afraid of the same thing.  Usually what bothers one doesn't faze the other, and vice versa, so having a common fear is a rather big deal.

Their common fear, as I discovered today, is the sound of rain on the roof of the indoor arena.  We had a crazy thunderstorm with torrential rain this afternoon.  I had planned on going to the barn, and I was so upset about the possibility of losing out on the one thing I wanted to do today, that I decided to go despite the storm.  By the time we arrived, the worst part of the storm had passed, and I obviously have begun to take Rondo's calm nature for granted, because I assumed he wouldn't be affected by the storm the way Panama would.

While I was grooming him, though, I began to suspect he might be a bit too up to ride for a few minutes as I'd intended.  And by the time we got into the indoor arena, it was starting to rain a little bit.  As unflappable as he is in the indoor arena, I never thought he would be bothered by the sound of the rain on the roof, even though most horses are initially (and Panama still is).

But Rondo started having a meltdown almost immediately, and the only thing I can think of is that would have caused it is the sound of the rain.  I immediately changed my plans, and Michael headed back to the tack room to get my lunge line.  Rondo almost trampled me twice by freaking out while I held his reins, waiting for Michael to return, mostly because another horse who was freaking out on the lunge line over the same thing was setting him off -- he wanted to run around and act crazy like that other horse!

So when Michael came back with the lunge line, I hooked it up as fast as I could, forgetting as I did so that Rondo tends to be a bit of a wreck when going to the left -- even on a good day, he tends to stop a lot (asking to switch directions, I think), and then dig in and run like he's being chased when he's told to keep going in that direction.  He also offers the occasional buck when he feels especially frustrated with that answer.

So in this video, you can see that in the beginning he's just melting down in general -- you can't hear the rain hitting the roof, but I really think that was the main thing that was upsetting him, combined with the fact that he was already a bit worked up from the bad storm earlier.  There was also another horse in the arena who was being lunged, and who was also rather worked up about the rain -- and every time that other horse exploded, Rondo did, too, even if he was otherwise close to calming down on his own.

If you watch closely, you might be able to see where he stops freaking out so much because of the rain, and starts throwing little tantrums because of which direction I'm making him go.  That's where he begins to stop periodically -- asking to turn and go the other way -- but because he was still kind of up at that point, I didn't trust him to stand still while I switched the lunge line.  Once he started moving a little more calmly, and stopped exploding, I did go ahead and switch his direction so that he could go the way he prefers.

And here is a video of him going his preferred direction, near the end when he was a little calmer.  Shortly after Michael took this video, I was even able to get him to walk a little -- at this point he was still too worked up to remember that there was a speed between running and halting.

I was disappointed that I didn't get to sit on him and ride a little, like I'd planned, but this is exposure that is very important, too -- obviously more important than I realized, considering I didn't think he would react this way!


My first ride on Rondo!

I promised a few updates...  The most important one is, of course, that on Thursday I rode Rondo for the first time!  My trainer had ridden him the prior week, when I couldn't be there, and she rode him first on Thursday, so she had been on him three times before I got on for my first ride.  We are still riding him bareback, although this time we grabbed my bareback pad -- next time we will probably ride with the saddle.  He's had it on before and he's fine with it, but initially she wanted to be able to bail quickly if he had a "WTF" reaction to being ridden.

I only walked him a little -- no trotting.  I haven't ridden any horse other than Panama in probably four or five years, and I didn't want to trot him for the first time bareback when he only had three rides on him, if that makes sense -- mainly because I wasn't sure I knew how to sit his trot bareback, and I didn't want my reaction to freak him out.

He did goose once.  He had stopped to look down at the little boy I nanny for (he was there with us), and I kicked him to get him to move forward.  Ironically it wasn't the kid who startled him (at another point, the boy was kicking the block, and even that didn't bother Rondo), it was my kick.  Even so, the spook was over almost before I even realized what had happened, and on the video you can even hear me laughing afterward.

Without further ado, here is the video of my first ride on Rondo!


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Apologies for unposted comments

For some reason Blogger JUST told me about 23 comments that were awaiting publication, from all the way back to February!  I just published a couple of comments a week or two ago, so I know these weren't there before.  If your comment is among the ones I just published, please accept my apologies!

I have more news about both Rondo and Panama, but I've had an extremely busy week and haven't had time to post.  Stay tuned and I'll post new pictures and video soon!