The horses have all been feeling a bit fresh this week & I was not getting the green light from Hero to do a first ride on Monday, but we ended on a good note once we worked on Stirrup Driving. Tuesday's groundwork went better & we proceeded with his first ride. It started off relatively well, though a little sticky-footed at times, which I had expected. Once we got forward motion, we were able to walk, trot, & lope (intermittently) going to the left. There were a few times that I could feel him get a bit nervous about the old weeds growing around parts of the round pen (left on purpose so that the horses get used to things brushing up against their sides). He handled me rubbing his neck & slapping my leg well. He was a little nervous the first few times that I reached back to rub his hindquarters while in motion, but he was soon unbothered by that. When we changed directions, we were able to walk & trot. Not long into it, he tucked his butt & bucked, I didn't have a close enough hold on the reins & he managed to unseat me after a few jumps. Thankfully, he didn't remain as wide-eyed & on edge as Hickory did, so I felt comfortable climbing right back on. He wanted to tuck his butt a couple more times, but I was able to keep him bent around well enough that he wasn't able to do anything beyond that. It took a bit, but we were able to get a very brief lope & called it good.
In the video, you'll see that he sulled up a bit during Yielding the Hindquarters. While not a big deal on the first ride, Hero has a tendency to do this more frequently than other horses throughout our other work. It's as if he loses his 'try' & desire to look for a release. He's a horse that's more 'inside of himself' or introverted & I would love to see him come outside of that current 'norm' & be a bit more extroverted.
In talking with Jen from Knotty Equine, I joked that the Hancock had finally shown itself. She mentioned something that most people don't mention with the Hancocks, which is the freeze before the potential buck. That makes a lot of sense with both Hero & Hickory & even many of your past horses that I've worked with. Getting that forward motion is tough, though none in the past have offered to buck aside from the random kick out in the hind end when encouraging forward motion.
With that in mind, we spent the rest of the week smoothing things out on the ground. In those areas where he has a tendency to stop his feet, I would like him to continue moving. For example, Throw to a Stop became Throw to a Walk.
Next week, I'll put Hero through the laydown process & see if that helps those lingering little spooky moments. Pending how that goes, I'll look to get back on mid to end of the week.
- Lexy Nuesch
Next week's update will be posted on Friday.
I do my best to get these updates posted in a timely manner, but it's not uncommon for me to be outside until after dark, depending on the weather, my schedule, & who gets worked when so updates will sometimes be posted quite late in the evening. Don't be alarmed if you don't see your update right away. In rare cases, I may have to push them until the next morning, but I'll reach out & let you know if so.