|Ravenous enjoying down time at home|
Our breakthrough moment was when we were riding down in the big outdoor ring for the first time. It was well removed from the barn and it was "fun" getting him to walk down there by himself. We spent the first 25 minutes of that ride spinning, popping up/rearing, more spinning and just bullshit shenanigans. I suspect he played this game with previous owners, and that's how he ended up donated. I just sat there, repeatedly told him that forward was the only correct answer, that backwards/spinning/rearing would not be tolerated and it was just wearing him out, and eventually he caught the drift. He was a horse with a poor work ethic and the mind of a bad three or four year old - he would quit and throw a fit. Didn't want to ride in the outdoor? Big fit. Didn't want to horse show? Bigger fit. Riding him through his little temper tantrum early on in the summer actually paved the way to some great development. He learned forward. He learned that just doing what I asked was way easier and faster than throwing hissy fits. That hissy fits didn't get him anywhere, because I didn't get off and I didn't give up. And he came around very quickly after that.
I don't think I'll ever forget that following school year either, I was extremely fortunate to have the ride on him regularly, working under an amazing dressage instructor who also was an accomplished eventer an fox hunter. I was very honored to be asked by the dressage team to be his warm up rider in the intercollegiate dressage shows.
I learned that sometimes a favorite horse's place isn't with you. He needed to be a part of that program for his own sake, and I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to help him grow into that role. He was still there years and years later, working hard helping to teach others.