Last night, Kevin and I were finally able to cross the river in at least a week. Both horses seemed excited to be doing something other than going up and down the hill. Unfortunately, we didn’t get very far before we were blocked by a tree across the trail. Dejectedly, we rode back. When we were nearly about to cross the river to go home, Kevin suggested turning around and doing it again.
At first, both horses didn’t want to go away from home, but with a little kick, Cole too the lead at a very vigorous trot. Soon, we were cantering. I made him come back down to a trot. The whole way to the fallen tree, Cole wanted to go as fast as I would let him. Eventually, we put Starry back in the lead to settle the horses down. It was as if he knew that the sooner we would get to the fallen tree, the sooner we would turn around to go home.
I saddled up MerryLegs and led him from the barn. The only time he stalled out was right outside the barn where the grass was and when I wanted to pass up the arena door to go to the loop. I was able to signal him forward with the whip. We did the loop once and walked down the driveway. I then took him inside and lounged him. This is only the second time I lounged him with the saddle. The first time, he was very reluctant to trot—and I attributed it to the heat. Once again, I had trouble getting him to trot with the saddle. Praise and clicks didnnt’ make any improvement. When he did trot, it was unenergetic. Finally, he must have gotten disgusted with yet another request for a trot and he swerved towards me. I waved him away with the whip, and he decided to bolt out of the circle. I hung on, and he stopped. He then started bucking—a whole bunch of little bucks in place where his feet went up no more than a few inches. He didn’t kick out or twist around—just boing, boing, boing. Kevin, who was watering the adjoining barn, heard some commotion and came over to see what was going on. By then, MerryLegs was standing still. I started explaining, and MerryLegs personally demonstrated it with more bucks in place.
I think he was testing the saddle. It may have started when one of the stirrups (English saddle) worked its way loose and was flopping on his side. Once he stopped bucking, I led him a little and he calmed down. I then started to lounge him, and he was perfect at the walk and trot. He even moved with the exuberance at the trot that he shows when he doesn’t have a saddle on him. Maybe he just needed to do a little bucking. I’ll see how he does next time, and that will give me an idea if he learned anything from his silliness.