What Is He Thinking??!!!

I wish I could read PJ’s mind or we could have a conversation about what he thinks his job is.  Yesterday at my lesson, PJ was a slug. I could change his frame through half-halts and sending forward but it was with NO energy.  Barbara suggested I whack him one hard with the whip and wouldn’t you know it, then he went. And he didn’t fade after a few strides. So, for half my lesson he was Mr. Slug and for the second half, he was Mr. Perfect Dressage Horse, who could collect and go forward and bend and switch bends.  And when Bridget rides him, she has no problems getting him to go forward.

So, why did it take a huge whack to get him to change his whole attitude?  I could see if it was just a response to the whip that he would jump forward, go nicely for a few strides, then fade back to slugdom.  But that’s not what happened. He became a different horse.  I didn’t ride him any differently pre-whack than post-whack.  My aids were all the same.  I didn’t suddenly use my legs more or released the reins or post differently.  He didn’t have his ears back or swish his tail more or do any other behaviors that would indicate he wasn’t happy in the way he was going post-whack.  No clue what goes on in that boy’s head sometimes!

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One Response to What Is He Thinking??!!!

  1. Net says:

    My TB is much higher energy than PJ, but he has a tendency to suck back and be sluggish. He has gotten better from a focus on forward, but when he was still working on it, he always had a turning point during the ride where he changed his way of going. It actually had to do with starting to sit and carry behind and push off forward at the same time. In his case I discovered the easiest way to get it was rapid canter/walk transitions, but a good whack with the whip would have done the job if he didn’t buck me off also. 🙂 (He is… ahem… a little overreactive to the whip, and not in the desired way.)

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