Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Aidol's Story.............A Little Rehab..........

Part 1

It took some time to get Aidol over the experience from that lease. When I first rode the horse he was defensive about any kind of pressure on his face. In addition to that the horse had become confused about what the cue to go forward meant.

The horse was no longer lifting his back but instead was bracing at the base of his neck expecting punishment to come. Along with this, the horse had developed his old problem of anticipating the canter. Aidol was popping into the canter at any kind of movement on his side or any request for more forward.

There was another thing I noticed about Aidol during this time. The horse had always been enthusiastic about working. He'd wear his cute little perked ears forward and there was a spring in his step every time I asked him to go to work but now those things were gone. Instead I had a sullen insecure horse. It was heart breaking to see such an attitude in this horse.

It was time to go back to basics. I totally forgot about frame and worked on getting the correct forward from the horse. I basically threw the reins away and let Aidol put his nose wherever. The only time I used the reins was if I needed them for steering or flexing.

Of course, I did lots and lots of flexing. Getting the horse to move more laterally off my legs was the easiest what I knew to get the horse into lifting his back again. It also took his mind off his fear and gave him something to concentrate on.

Luckily Aidol loves to go so it didn't take long before the horse began moving freely under himself again. Still I gave him some time getting comfortable this way before I began to incorporate frame into our routine. I wanted the horse to solidly understand that pushing with my legs and seat meant driving from behind, lifting through his back end all the way to the front.

At first Aidol wasn't sure what to think about rounding up into the hunter horse frame again. Just the shortening of the reins caused the horse to shut down. I pushed him through using my voice as reassurance that he was OK with me and I did lots and lots of petting on his neck. Reluctantly the horse began rolling over into the bridle without sacrificing any of his correct movement.

Once I had the horse comfortable with the hunter pleasure gaits, I moved on to see what might be left of his western pleasure training. You just never know when a horse has been confused about going forward where the demons associated with that issue might rear their ugly heads.

Fortunately, Aidol didn't have nearly as many issues about collecting up for western as he had for hunter pleasure. It didn't take long and the horse was rounding up and going slow just like the day we'd bought him.

Luckily Aidol came out the other side of this experience with his perky attitude about work intact. Once the horse realized what was being asked of him and that I was going to be fair with him in the process of getting there, the old Aidol returned. Whenever I would ask him to canter the horse's ears would perk brightly forward and I'd swear his eyes twinkled. I was relieved to see the repurcussions of the lease were now nothing but a memory.

I spent a few more weeks making sure things really were fixed. Then Aidol went back to being a pony of leisure on this farm. There was still an occasional trail ride but with Dave no longer allowed to go, those were few and far between. Aidol continued on in his ways of finding his own entertainment of letting his buddies out of their stalls and making up pasture games. Most days he was always good for a laugh. We never knew what the horse might think up next.

I don't think there really was a particular day when I decided that Aidol really needed to have a new home. I had the horse listed on a couple of websites but I wasn't really doing much to see the ads were seen or to really let people know I had the horse for sale. I may have posted flyers at a horse show or two but I was really dragging my feet. Getting Aidol sold was not a priority by any means.

I guess in my mind if it happened it was meant to be. It sure wasn't going to happen because I was working hard to get it done. It was more about wanting it to be exactly right for the horse. I believed if the right people came along, I would know it. Then and only then would I allow Aidol to be sold.

Then one spring it was almost like something had changed in the air. I began getting all kinds of calls about the horse. Many of those inquiries I didn't even let come look at him. I steered them towards other horses instead. Still I could feel the change, with the number of class I was getting sooner or later one of them might just come from the right people for Aidol. I was beginning to believe that day was coming soon.

To be continued...............

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  1. I'm glad to hear that you gave him back his confidence. He wouldn't have come through this if it wasn't for his trust in you and your kind treatment. It's a shame that he lost it in the first place. He sounds like a real character and a lot of fun around the farm.

    If he's meant to leave you he will, if not I'm sure he'll be happy to be your horse forever.

  2. How cool that you get to work with horses the way you do. Arabian's are gorgeous.
    We have 3 Canadians (yes that IS a breed name) and one quarterhorse.
    I love them.
    I am just taking riding lessons and have ALOT to learn about horses.

    always enjoy it when you stop by me blog,

  3. i do the same thins to rehab a 'ruined' horse - lateral flexion is more important than longitudinal flexion in softening and relaxing horses, and the first step to getting that lift and roundness down the road. so many people start with the frame first...

    they are so forgiving, and it's great you were able to get him back to his old self. he sounds like such a cool horse!