My dozer guy is busy with bigger jobs and I have no idea when we’ll get to start on fixing my arena. It’s becoming apparent that if I want to be ready to show Faxx at all this year – including Arab Regionals in July – I am going to have to bite the bullet and ride him in the field like I do Faeryn and Fling.
I have always felt less secure on Faxx – partially beause he is so big I can’t really get my legs on him like I can Fling and Faeryn. And secondly, I bought him and did not breed him. It makes a difference. Fling and Faeryn are out of my ‘heart’ horse, Lisa, and I just feel like I “know” them and just trust them.
I recognize that part of my insecurity about Faxx comes from getting dumped by him about a year and a half ago. Even though he was not being naughty – he’s just cold backed and I did not realize it at the time.
Regardless – it was time to put on my ‘big cowgirl panties’ and get over it. Other than that one incident, Faxx has been a very good boy and my concerns are mostly unjustified.
First I started putting Faeryn and Fling in the small paddock while I rode Faxx – which was time consuming – since I had to move Thor, Mike’s “doesn’t play well with others” horse, into the back paddock first, then corral Faeryn and Fling in the small paddock – which always involved major careening around on Faeryn’s part. Faxx also was then reluctant to get ‘too far’ away from his buddies as I rode him in the field. I’ve gotten less nervous about riding him in general – I think when I had his saddle fitted, it actually made it so the saddle sat ‘down’ on him better, putting ME closer to him, enabling me to get more leg on him. Whatever the cause – I do not feel nearly as ‘perched’ or ‘precarious’ on him as I had before. Or maybe I’ve lost enough weight in my thighs that they drape better. Anyway – that helps a lot.
Last night I took the ‘final step’ and rode Faxx with Faeryn and Fling loose in the field. My only concern about that always is how the horse I am riding will react when the loose horses (invariably) start bombing around if something riles them up. Faxx actually was BETTER with them in the field with him since he was not having any separation anxiety. At one point Faeryn got wound up and took off – but Faxx completely ignored her. What a good boy! I think that was the the final ‘test’ for me – and I think from now on I’ll be a lot more confident about Faxx – not only riding him in the field – but everywhere. Hopefully, I’m finally over getting dumped by him. It’s never taken me this long to get my confidence back in a horse. But part of it was that I was never as confident on him as I was on the others. I just did not trust him like I did Fling and Faeryn – and weird because Faeryn has dumped me numerous times – although she has not dumped me since Faxx dumped me. And I doubt she will dump me much in the future. Also, I guess because Faeryn dumped me from stupid little spooks when I wasn’t paying attention – that did not bother me as much as getting fairly violently launched during a bucking spree which I could not stick. I am pretty good at riding out bucks – Fling bucked VERY impressively when I was teaching her flying changes – and I just laughed about it. She actually CRACKED MY BACK during one bucking spree. That’s how hard she bucked. But nothing compared to Faxx. He was not trying to be naughty, obviously – but just knowing how big the sucker can buck if he chose to – that’s intimidating. I do lunge him every time before I ride him now – even if I don’t think he really needs it. I did not realize he was cold backed until he dumped me. Since then I’ve noticed he just cringes from the saddle pad sometimes – before the bucking incident, I thought he was just being stupid and SHYING from it. Now I know it’s because he is anticipating it being put on his back. Sometimes he will literally try to run away from the saddle pad. Other times I can toss it right on him and he doesn’t move an inch. I’ve finally realized that when he is ‘shying’ from it – his back is really tight. I’ve started running my hands over his back first when he does that – with just medium pressure – and ALWAYS once I’ve done that – he accepts the saddle pad with no issues. I could probably skip lunging on days he has no issue with the saddle pad – but I won’t for my own self-preservation! Marie had a horse that was so cold backed once, he was even a nightmare to just saddle, she said. So it could be worse. He is basically a very good boy who wants to please.
So, Thursday I rode him out in the field with his half siblings and there was no drama at all. I rode him in huge circles, finally got to do a lot of straight lines and do some leg yielding. It actually felt great riding him out there. And I finally realized that now I am looking forward to riding him in the field – and not thinking it is something I ‘have’ to do.
Now, I need to schedule a lesson on him – it’s been about six months since I’ve had one on him!