I got on at the gate to the tracks, he stood completely still and waited to be asked to walk on. We walked down the tracks to the gate, he was striding out and bouncing and very looky, but he felt good. I was thinking how well it was going and decided to go up another track which passes a house. We made it almost to the top of the track when Wolfie stopped dead, head raised and neck rock solid. I couldn't see what he was looking at, but he suddenly half reared and span to the left. I managed to turn him back to the way he had been facing, and then struggled to keep him straight as he leapt sideways. He took 2 steps and then started backing up at speed down the hill. I stopped him and managed to turn him and bounced back down to the bottom of the hill. All I had been able to see was what looked like a tree trunk in the field next to the track. I walked into the field and decided to approach it from the other way, to try and let him see it without trees and a wall obscuring it (if this was what he had been spooking at). We walked through the field and he tried to take off, I brought him back to walk and he did his infamous rodeo demonstration in frustration. We began walking up the hill and the tups started to run past us. Wolfie thought he would go with them and when I pulled him up, he did two huge bucks. Obviously annoyed that I was ruining his fun. We got to the top and started to walk across the field to the track we had tried to come up initially. The man from the house was outside, so he caught Wolfie's attention first and then about twenty feet away, he spotted it. It wasn't a tree trunk, but a roll of scarey horse eating turf.
He stared at it, trying to process what it was for about 5 seconds, then decided it was obviously incredibly dangerous. He started cantering sideways and then span and tried to bolt. I managed to turn him and he was leaping around, sliding everywhere as the ground was so wet. He worked himself up into a complete blind panic. I decided to get off, to see if I could lead him a little closer so he could see what it was. Even that proved difficult, he was spinning, leaping and backing up so fast I couldn't get off. Eventually I managed to get off and led him a couple of steps towards it when he span and made to bolt again. He nearly dragged me off my feet. The wind was up, the trees were creaking, this wasn't the day to be trying to work through this. I managed to lead him past it on the other side of the wall and back down the track. I led him back to the stables, got back on and walked along the tracks to the gate and back again. He was settled and very good.
As Black Beauty famously said 'I'm not afraid of what I know'. Wolfie didn't know what this was. He's young, had a long holiday and was looking for a reason to be silly. He blew it out of proportion and got himself completely worked up. Wolfie can be very unpredictable. He is so fast when he reacts, you get absolutely no warning. Some horses favour a direction when spooking or napping. Not Wolfie, he can pull any trick out of the bag, you never can tell which way it's going to be. I felt rusty being back in the saddle today after not having ridden for so long. I don't think I was riding completely effectively, in fact I know I wasn't. I know from past experience with him, that the quicker you get control, the better chance you have of riding through it. Today, I was too busy trying to sit to everything that he was throwing at me, that I feel I kind of abandoned him and never gave him any direction. I know it's just down to time and work to re-establish the trust and confidence. Wolfie has a very strong play ethic. His enthusiasm knows no boundaries and he needs constant mental stimulation. I need to find a way to channel his enthusiasm and energy positively, to have him concentrating on his work but also keep it fun.
So bootcamp begins. It's still too dark to hack after I finish work during the week, but weather permitting, I'll try walking him around the school at night. I think it's actually me that will struggle with bootcamp more than Wolfie will. He loves having something to do and learning.
|That was fun!|
|Cute as a Button|