... a week makes.
I really was ready to give up. I hadn't blogged because I wasn't even sure where to start.
I had come to the conclusion the best thing all round might be if I had Quadi put to sleep. Not because I was fed up of him or didn't want to try. More that I've given everything I can and I just couldn't dig any deeper, that nothing I did seemed to help him and that I wasn't sure the end justified the means. I would rather do that than risk making him lame or having him any more resentful.
He requires a lot more physical riding than I've ever had to use, than I've ever been comfortable using. I know that he can't go around with his head in the air or he'll further harm his back, but I didn't want to force his head down. And I couldn't find a way of encouraging proper head carriage. He gets angry when I take charge and tell him to do what I want when asking doesn't work. Last weekend he'd spent a lot of time on two legs and then none trying to labour his point!
As a for-instance, yesterday we headed out for a hack. There's still ice along our dirt road but not in the middle so as long as you stay there it's passable. Kate and Fin were a little ahead, Quadi rooted himself to the spot not long after we left the yard. He was convinced it wasn't safe to pass and it was terribly unreasonable of me to ask him to take even one more step. When I asked, he went backwards, when I asked him to walk backwards, he decided to back ONTO the ice and rear. Despite this being the basis for his entire protest only ten seconds previously. We did a series of bunny hops up the drive, and as I was wondering about getting off to lead, Kate brought Fin back and he was happy to follow his chum as long as he could shove his nose up his bum.
I've spent the week just me and he, trying to figure a few things out in the school. My mindset has shifted. Little bits and pieces are starting to click into place. Today was tricky to start as he was looking for a reason to have a tantrum (Fin was jumping in the school whilst we did some pole work). I trotted him on the right rein and that was nice and controlled, so I tried the left rein and he tried to rear and buck which set my tummy in a knot. The knotted tummy meant we had a couple more false starts but I gave myself a real kick up the backside and went for it, and we got it! He snorted at me a lot but he gave me a fabbie trot on both reins and he was light in my hands :D Sufficient to say that's where we stopped!
He's a lot lighter off my leg and a lot more forward going than he ever used to be. Dare I say hotter too? I guess he's feeling better now that he's not lame and sore. It's just taken me a while to figure out my co-ordination but I actually can't wait to school him again to recreate what we had today.
He wasn't totally compliant mind you. About ten minutes into our session he slowed down and lifted his back. I thought he was stopping to poo, so I asked him to walk forwards...and then I felt his legs buckling. I squealed for help as he lay down!!! I was frozen, I couldn't move. Kate ran over but he started to try and roll. Luckily my brain engaged in time and I made a flying leap to the right. I scrabbled to my feet and chased him up. He's absolutely fine, not colicky, just disrespectful of that fact that we were working and I was telling him what to do. This got my back up today and I was determined to have him paying attention by the end of our session. Rolling when he's supposed to be working is an absolute no-no, but exactly what I'd expect from him!
I really ought to take some video, as I wouldn't want anyone to think I'm over-riding him or being harsh. Feel and contact are two of the pieces of the puzzle which are only just starting to fall into place for me.
Anyway, a garbled post but I'm feeling better. Thanks for the collective kick up the bahookie ;)