I did have a really good April Fools Post…

but after my ride on Phoenix today I am just going to have to save it for next year. Suffice it to say I am having a hard time typing this post because my hands are all tingly from the liniment that is on them. No, I did not fall off. And No, Phoenix did not fall down either. My nerve, that I almost had back, is now gone again. Phoenix did his exploding leaping into the are nonsense again today. He has not tried to pull that crap with me since the fitting. It was scary. I am now scared of Phoenix again. He bolted 4 times, 3 of which had leaping involved. It was so bad that I actually contemplated just throwing in the towel today and taking all my shit and just walking away. Not kidding. I turned in my April money so it would have been like 30 days notice.

I rode the PISS out of Phoenix because I was so mad. At myself just as much as at him. His leaping is just so nasty. If there is warning, I am not feeling it. The first time we were in our canter warm up. I was on a nice big circle to the right when out of no where he takes off full speed. I, of course, sit up and yank on my reins (I know, I know, that is not nice of me at all…if I could react better I would) and as soon as he feels me yanking on his poor face he goes up. That would not be great, but it would not be the biggest deal in the world if that was it. The problem is he keeps leaping. He does it again and again. I cannot stop him until he is ready to be stopped. After 4 times of leaping in the air he continues trying to bolt, to which I do the emergency pully rein so he stops. Blood was boiling in my ears at this point so as soon as he breaks for a trot I am already prepairing to canter him again. Good right? I mean, most people wouldn’t want to canter again if they were scared. At that point I was still okay. It was when we didn’t even make it around half the ring because Phoenix spooked at the dog coming out of the trees that I started to loose it. Once is a young horse in the spring being fresh, twice is now a problem.

I was still determined not to let it get me down so again he took off with me, and again he lept in the air, but this time only twice. Just like last time I refused to come off. I WAS NOT FALLING OFF ON A BEAUTIFUL DAY! I am so making it 8 years without falling off dammit (and yes I did just knock on wood). With the pully rein he stopped, and so again asked him to canter again. We made it around the ring and he was okay so I took a deep breath and did some trot work. Phoenix was sweating and I was hurting. My refusal to come off and to instead move with his dramatic motion had me cringing with pain in my back.

Now that Phoenix had taken off twice with me my nerve was starting to disappear. When out of no where from a beautiful floaty trot he bolted with me again and lept into the air (this time I did not even have time to shorten my reins so I know he didn’t hit my reins or anything) I started to cry. I was scared. Not good people not good. By the 4th time he did it (from the walk mind you) I was ready to be done with him. This was not FUN at all. Why am I doing this? Why am I pouring hundreds and hundreds of dollars into something that is making me cry?!?!?! I did end up getting some more nice trot work before I called it a day, but the tears did not stop. I pretty much cried for the next hour.

PO and I were talking and the reality is that it does no good to ride a horse you are afraid of. None. In fact, all it does is damage. I don’t think I am at that point yet, but I don’t know. And I won’t know until tomorrow when I try and ride again. Phoenix was exhausted and sweaty by the end of the ride.  He will be sore tomorrow, hence the liniment. I just want to get him to walk around nicely. Maybe a little trot if he is feeling up to it (which I doubt he will). This is not good people. I need to figure out if I am scared of him. If so, there is no way I can show him and it would also not be a good idea to keep riding him. I have today, Friday and Monday off of work so I can spend plenty of time at the barns. If it is working I need to get out. I mean, yes I have already spent $650 on out show season, but it will cost me a lot more to keep trying if it isn’t working. I just need to take some time to think. And I need to see if I can get my trainer out to see what is going on with Phoenix right now. As PO pointed out, I am not in a good place to make a decision today. I am way to upset. I was doing so well to. I almost had my nerve back. Almost. What a crappy start to my day. Stupid horses. Why do I love them so damn much?!?!

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12 thoughts on “I did have a really good April Fools Post…

  1. I am so sorry Pheonix is being a brat, but sleep on it, and you’ll feel SO much better in the morning! *hugs*

  2. I agree you should wait a day or two but I don’t think the question to ask is if you are afraid of him. I think the question is: do you trust him?

    You also have to consider, at least some, the odds of getting hurt on this horse. You are still young enough to feel fairly invincible but who takes care of Gen if you get seriously hurt and can’t work?

    It’s hard to give up on a horse you love but maybe it’s just not your time for him.

  3. *hug* And *hug* again! I completely, 100% understand where you’re coming from — Reveille is a bit younger than Phoenix, and she was a bucker. She might still be, but she’s mostly stopped … still, there are days when she gets squirrelly and I get off and finish the ride from the ground or on a longe line because … well, dammit, I’m scared.

    I’ll go a little against the flow here and say ‘stick with it, if you think you’re safe.’ Especially if you can work with PO in lessons regularly. If you truly think he’s unsafe to ride, maybe PO can put some rides on him for you and work him through this? My guess is that he’s going through a phase — Rev has gone through several herself (bucking, tossing her head, not moving forward, etc), and we’ve broken through each one. Not without tears and doubts on my part, for sure, but … we’ve gotten through. It’s in large part due to the fact that my teacher is superb with horses that are giving people trouble — I can always ask him to put her on his schedule for a few days, and I take extra lessons or just work exclusively on the problem du jour in the regular lessons.

    I think Phoenix is probably a great little guy who’s having adolescent angst. If you believe you’re unsafe, get help, but I’d say excelsior. 🙂 Hang in there, and stay safe.

  4. I know the feeling completely. It why I don’t ride now. Prize is over all her stupid young horse stuff but I went through it with her and I remember and I don’t think I will ever trust her fully under saddle. It took me a long time to come to grips with it. There isn’t an easy answer.

  5. Been there. Done that (several times during my 4 years of riding Speeds). Here’s my advice. First, only ride in a lesson. Second, only ride in a lesson. Third, only ride in a lesson. Don’t even get on to walk him. After a while of this, then you can ride on your own. Obvously, you are missing some cue – not your fault, you are not a professional. Your eye’s on the ground will most likely be able to see that signal for you. Work on ground work like showmanship stuff (walking off when you walk, stopping when you stop, moving away when you walk into his shoulder, etc) and lunging. And no running around on the lunge line – side reins and working.
    Also, he’s been bratty in his field and I’m sure that has something to do with his under saddle behavior. He thinks he’s boss over you too. That’s why you should demand absolute obedience on the ground – at least for a while.
    And take pride in the fact that you didn’t fall off and in fact, you rode through it. (I bailed this last time) When you get over this you will be amazed at your confidence. You’ll be fine.

  6. Ugh..I’m so sorry..I know that feeling!! I do. I have fears and a lot of it stems from lack of trust. I don’t trust that my boy wont trample me on the ground when he spooks and leaps 10 ft over. I dont trust that he wont dump me in a mill second in his quick TB ways..but I’m working on it. BUT if you set your mind to re-evaluating what your new goals may be…maybe not showing but maybe getting this Appy who may have developed some fear to get thru it too.
    Good luck and keep us posted! xo

  7. I know you just had your saddle fitted, but do you think something else physical could be bothering him? Might be time for a vet visit (I know – more $$$ – ugh!). But I find it odd that a generally quiet, if green, horse is all of the sudden having such violent outbursts.

  8. Okay,

    You have had a bad day, we all have. My young horse nearly ripped of my arm about a month ago. I nearly decided to sell her, because she kicks, bites, rears, bucks, and more other things. I was to the point of murdering the horse myself, I sold my first horse for this young mare. I knew however if I did I would never be able to ride again. I then got into Parelli Natural Horsemanship.

    in the first year a people who bought horses 80% will give up there horses. Okay the other 20% 80% of that 20%will give up on the horses. This is due to Fear Frusteration, lack of funds. Now you know the facts, do I think you should ride tomorrow? Absolutly not. More people tend to get hurt in the spring with horses anyway.

    If it was me, I would get the Parelli level 1 kit, your horse does not respect you, you cannot expect to have control on a horse if you don’t have respect on the ground.

    Don’t give up on the horse yet he is young but now is the time you need to gain your confort and confidence. Lack of knowledge is lack of cofidence. I am not pushing into this but I know the frustration, and I just want to send you my experiance.

    My horse and I are on the ground right now but we are going to start level 2 Right now we are dancing on the ground without the lead ropes. She is respecting me and I am happy because I know I will have the confidence and the foundation to successfully ride in dressage FEI shows.

    Good luck

  9. I agree with the person who talked about ground work. Ground work can do wonders for your confidence and his and it give you chance to get that bond back. Sometimes we have to go back to the beginning to move forward. One thing that we did with my horse that likes to spook is do a lot of riding with one rein stops. I literally would walk off and do a one rein stop, trot off and do a one rein stop and did that over and over again until he got the point. It also helped me create that habit that, as soon as he spooks, I automatically move into that one rein stop. Now I feel like I have control and I don’t anticipate his spooks anymore but I have a great way to control him if it happens. It has become habit. Good luck. I don’t think you should give up on Phoenix or yourself yet!

  10. just recently added to ur site, Do you longe at all? does P longe? stay committed to him. ( thats me) allow him tomake mistakes so u can correct him. then be sure to reward even if its the smallest step towards better.

  11. I agree with all comments above regarding having your trainer ride him and lots of lunging, and as many supervised training rides and/or lesson as possible.
    My first thought was the fit of your saddle. He never had (or rarely?) these episodes before- have you checked the underside to make sure nothing is poking out? And if it’s OK, then maybe the “correct” fit of the saddle is now bringing to light possible spine issues? Also, when;s the last time he was floated? Maybe he’s got some teeth issues as well?
    Good luck. And PLEASE don’t ride alone until this behavior stops!

  12. Thank you for once again describing so meticulously your experience of a difficult ride. It’s sometimes easy to lose the forest for the trees, because what is also true about that ride is that you continued on after the first setback. Honestly, knowing how I cope with my own fears, I would have gotten off then. The fact that you continued the ride speaks to the courage that lives at the core of your fear.

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