Last night I rode the boarding horse as I am working him in partial training, he is currently for sale and the owner wants him brushed up on skills so he can be seen as best he can be. He has some problems, a pretty bad contact avoidance problem, a real touchy 'stop' button, no standing still while mounting or dismounting and a randomly spooky problem. To fix the avoidance problem I have been riding him in draw reins so that no matter where he puts his head I can keep contact. It has really helped and while the first ride with them he was a very, very peeved pony, this ride he was 80% better about keeping contact and I didn't have contact on the draw reins most of the ride.
His 'stop' button is really touchy as well, if you even think stop, and sometimes not even then, he will slam on his brakes like he was a reining horse doing a sliding stop. On the plus side he is very balanced when he does it, on the other side he does it All. The. Time. He is slowly starting to get better due to being smacked with the whip whenever he decides to stop without being asked. We started where I would immediately ask him to continue but after several dozen times if he stops now he gets a solid whack. There is only so many times I am willing to overlook this kind of disobedience as anything but a big middle finger.
His randomly spooky button is the reason he is for sale, his owner wanted him as a solid, safe trail horse and he just can't be trusted for that job. He is extremely looky at everything and I mean everything. He gets turned out in the arena every day, as the arena is used as part of my pasture, but he will always spook at something in the arena when you ride him. When I bring him in or out from the pasture, he goes this route twice a day, he will always, every single time, spook at something we walk past. When on the ground the spooks aren't too bad, he runs/jumps sideways (sometimes into you), he will go backwards, he will stop and then back up but under saddle he takes it to a whole new level. When his owner fell off last week, he was about 80 feet away from a barrel that a cat was sitting on. The cat jumped down, he took the opportunity to 'spook' and went backwards and then sideways and then jumped sideways until the owner fell off. He then didn't run around/away from the cat, he meandered over to some hay on the ground and took a nibble. He is just looking for a reason to spook as there was absolutely no reason for that kind of reaction IMO.
My ride last night went pretty well, no huge fights like I was given on the first ride. He is starting to move off of the leg and is doing better about going forward when I ask and not 3 or 4 times later. I started the ride by helping him realize he had to stand still while being mounted and it took him a good while to figure it out. I would say it took at good 20 mins of showing him that standing was the best option before he finally stood still. I kept telling him "Rest is the reward" but he wasn't believing me.
We finished by working on standing while dismounting, another big issue for him. I threw my leg over the saddle and stood in the stirrups, he moved, I got back in the saddle, worked him for a few moments and tried again. I threw my leg over the saddle and stood there. He stood there for about 3 seconds before he decided to 'spook' and went forward. I tried really hard to get back in the saddle but he then went sideways. I grabbed the saddle and fought to get seated and then (from eyewitness account anyway) he jumped sideways and down I went. Stupid gravity. That was the first time since April or May of 09 that I have hit the ground, that one was thanks to our Sinatra. I immediately got up, grabbed the horse, beat his fuzzy little butt, got back on and made him WORK. After about 15 mins of hard work I let him rest for a moment and tried dismounting again. He moved so he got worked again really hard for a few more minutes and I tried again. He moved again, he got worked again and then he decided it was easier to stand still while I hung off of him. I finally hopped down, brought him to the mounting block and got on and off twice without him moving and called it a night.
I am disappointed in falling off but, as RB3 and RB4 were there, my eyewitnesses say since I wasn't actually ON the horse so I can't count it as falling off lol. Luckily there isn't anything broken and I only see a small bruise on my elbow. My hip is a little sore this AM but that is all. If nothing else I guess I can no longer say I only fall off of white horses. HA!