Yay or Nay: first lesson (!)

Let me start by saying, NO ONE DIED!

But Nay Nay managed to get caught in his hay net during the 4 minute drive to the barn and had to be cut out. Seriously horse, you are on a suicide mission.

We got there and thanks to the hay net incident, I had an anxious mess on my hands. I did some walk/trot/halt/backs in the indoor before starting to lunge but when my trainer came in, we decided just to run him around the indoor. He proceeded to not move faster than a trot, and keeping him trotting was HARD. We gave up when he decided he wanted to roll (no) and stuck his bridle on. He showed he had ZERO ground manners πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ˜³ and was a complete embarrassment. But, as I’m paying for assistance, he and trainer exchanged words and he was actually a gem for me to get onto once the bridle was on.

We worked for a while on walking and circles and keeping my leg against him without reaction or me pulling or doing anything (so hard just to sit and be loose!!!!). But we got there.

Then, how exciting, we trotted. And, nothing exactly happened. I had to not pull other than play with inside rein if he was focusing outside but we circled and changed paths and all that and changed directions. All was pretty good. He had moments of weird head fits that I can’t really explain–mini I want to act up but then doesn’t so he just tosses his head in the end.–I don’t know. But he was very good all things considered. He was anxious but, lesson 1 is in the books.

After the lesson? His brain melted out his ears and he couldn’t handle getting his bridle off or saddle off or halter off. Trainer’s husband helped and helped load him in trailer. But, then we got home, and lightbulb went off and he realized that we go places and we come back home. No pulling or poor manners. He wasn’t even interested in going back in the field or seeing his friends (walked to water and started eating hay). I’m pretty sure that with repetition, he will get better.

I will be doing a short course of ulcer treatment for him just in case. His whole life has been turned upside down and I just want to make sure his gut is healthy. He has some loose poop, especially when he’s stressed…

Lesson 1 with Nay Nay is in the books!

13 thoughts on “Yay or Nay: first lesson (!)

  1. He was trying so hard for you in the video. When Carmen learned that she can go places and come back she got a lot less stressed about trailering. Keep you eye on the head thing: a few ideas spring to mind:
    1. his teeth need to be done
    2. he was just so tight and tense and was trying to release it
    3. headshaking. If it’s that it will show up out in the field as well.

    • He was trying so hard. I tried not to fail him too much and my trainer was constantly on me about what my hands were doing. And reminding me that energy doesn’t mean increased pace. He got lots of praise. He actually steers really well, is stiff to the right (he’s a TB…), but with time…

      The only thing I can confirm is that it’s 100% not his teeth. He was done in March and checked by the dentist the day I picked him up. Actually, I had to wait while he was checked. He said there were no sharp points at all and he didn’t need to be done until spring. So he just scraped off a little bit of plaque on a few teeth and declared him good to go. The rescue doesn’t like letting anyone go without being up-to-date on everything.

      It’s not head-shaker head-shaking, kind of a head-shaking body shake? So I think it’s an, “I’m tight and trying to release tension.” He definitely doesn’t toss his head in the field at all. My saddle also doesn’t fit very well. I’ll see if something else I have in the basement fits better, but… UGH.

      • saddle fit can do it as well. Irish is more of a head tosser and can sometimes look like brattiness but it’s sometimes a guess. Hwever, not doing it out in the field is a big tell. So phew.
        I thought you rode him well through that.
        Also, have i mentioned how much I like him? πŸ˜€

    • I say any experience that ends without blood, death, or the vet is pretty good. But, the ride itself was pretty darn positive. Just wish the ground stuff post lesson prior to going home were a little better. But brain melting out his ears…

  2. yay for a good experience!! congrats πŸ˜‰ and i think you’re spot on with identifying that the horse’s entire life has just changed and even things he *should* know (like bridling) might be kinda wonky right now with all the other new stuff going on. and definitely think you’re 100% right in guessing that repetition will fix a lot of it! good luck!! in your shoes i’d probably start integrating “normal” acts like tacking and untacking (even if you don’t actually get on) into the routine at home. practicing small activities like that is a great way to start learning each other’s language, and means one less thing to worry about when going to lessons!

    • Fabulous idea! I was thinking I should just start leading him randomly daily (like up to the mailbox or something), but I like the tacking up even better. Some days he might get to get tacked up near his friends in his stall, but that’s OK. If the ground is frozen, I’ll try getting on in the round pen a few times just to practice mounting. Repetition, repetition, repetition.

      • Leading is a great idea too! It doesn’t even have to be anything special, honestly in the early days the most important part is just spending that time together handling low key low pressure experiences. Like even grooming or hand grazing count, ya know? Anything to help him start to understand that he should be looking to you for guidance πŸ˜‰

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