Oh baby baby, how was I supposed to know… that something wasn’t right
Yeah, today’s learning opportunity comes to you courtesy of Britney Spears. I mean Murray.
Murray and I have been on a little bit of a struggle bus lately, mostly going left. Starting in October when he didn’t really want to bend left and instead wanted to crank his neck around. I’ve fixed one thing after the other, but he just doesn’t feel as good going left as right. I’ve checked him out with the chiro and there’s nothing seriously wrong with his body (just his brain probably), so I figured it was a strengthening thing.
And then for our last few rides Murray has started up our trot work with a generally pissy attitude, and the bucking that generally accompanies that feeling of “nope”. Today as I tried to get him forward at the trot going left he launched into full fledged Murray feels. I let him buck it out for a few laps, cantered a little, and then got back to our left trot work. Murray was really behind my leg and I kept having to push him forward ahead of my leg, as I could feel him sucked back and doing Shitty Trot. When I remembered my new No Nagging policy I decided to just really boot him forward instead, and I some more feels came out. I wasn’t exactly happy with that, so I pulled Murray back down to a trot and tried to push him ahead of my leg again. More feels, and in the same spot….
Wait a minute.
This story was starting to sound awfully familiar.
In 2013 I cleverly trained Murray to buck whenever he didn’t want to canter forward (always during dressage rides, because jumping is fun!) by assuming that he was hurting during the canter and pulling him back down out of the gait whenever he bucked more than a time or two. I let it go on for about five months and then had to call in a Fixer to undo my handiwork.
And this month that little bastard was trying the same trick on me. Last Thursday when I tried to push him into the reins going left he threw a fit, and multiples times today when I tried to push him into the reins going left he threw a fit. TWO POINTS MAKE A TREND, MURRAY.
So that happened… again. Murray decided he didn’t want to do something, expressed his feelings about it, and evidently in our last few weeks of riding, I’ve let him get away with it enough that he thinks it’s a strategy worth pursuing. Sigh. At least I only let it go for two weeks this time, not five months. So I’ll figure out what is going on that he really doesn’t want to do and both attack it and do it until he fucking loves it. But also I’ll probably attack whatever it is from another angle as well to see if I can’t trick Murray into it.
This horse guys. It is like I’m on Survivor, but there’s not a million dollars on the line. Just my happiness. Just gotta outwit, outlast, and outplay him to ear that dressage mastery…