But that isn't what happened. Instead, I got wave after wave of support, understanding, well wishes, and useful advice.
Thank you. Just, thank you.
Fortunately, our lockdown lasted less than half an hour and was the result of a home burglary a few blocks away. The supect(s) fled the scene and helicopters circled, trying to locate them. I later heard that several were apprehended and one, quite the idiot, reported his vehicle stolen (the one used in the crime), and was arrested at the police station as he was filing the report.
My school is organized and the staff well trained so all students and personnel made it through the day without any trouble, but we just never know how things will turn out. So yeah, I am a little tired and grateful that it's Friday. But that's not why you're here! Since so many of you offered advice or well wishes, I wanted to tell you what we are trying with Sydney.
- We keep the rhythm slow so that he doesn't feel the need to hurry which leads to a feeling of loss of balance.
- While I am not asking him to hurry, I am always thinking and encouraging forward.
- If he does rush, I first resist with my core. If needed, I use the outside rein to say slow down and balance.
- If he ignores the outside rein, I know he's going to launch up and/or forward so I bend him in a small circle to the inside sending him FORWARD into the spin with my outside leg. The trick is to always be going forward.
- I put the bucking strap back on my saddle and used it to steady my inside hand. I also rode with a crop.
- When he tried to rear on Wednesday afternoon, I pulled him into the tight circle and repeatedly WHACKED the crap out of his neck with the crop each time he tried to raise his head as I sent him into the circle with my outside leg. And admittedly, I whacked him a few extra times just to let him know that I was pissed and punitive action will follow naughtiness.
- JL suggested another schooling technique that I will use when I ride on Sunday. From the walk, I am to duplicate the small circle driven by the outside leg but show him the crop and let him know that it too will encourage an AWAY movement as opposed to an UP movement.
- JL's plan with the crop at the walk is to teach him that he needs to move AWAY from the crop (or later my arm or hand) rather than UP. She has used this technique before with success. If I can get effective with the crop "pre-whack" from the walk, he will be more responsive to it at the trot. And interestingly, we don't have this issue at the canter, thank, God!
- On the ground, before and after riding, I am sending him BACK, BACK, BACK with a wave of my arm and the crop (same strategy as above, but from the safety of the ground). We then stop, and I call him forward, rubbing the crop on his forehead and neck; I don't want him to be fearful of the crop, per se, but I do want him to be respectful of it and aware of what it can do. And then I send him BACK, BACK, BACK again as many times as I need/want.
And that's where we are this week. I am going to Horse Expo this weekend (sweet!) so you won't hear from me until Monday. I will be able to ride at some point on Sunday, and I have Monday off (double sweet!) so my lesson will be earlier in the day. I will be sure to let you all know how the whacking goes. Hopefully he hates to be whacked more than he likes to rear. And once that attic door is shut, his only other option will be forward.
Unless he finds a basement door...