Well, Eagle had his first (But not last) runin with an instructor in the saddle, today.
Diane was scheduled to ride him at 10 this morning, I managed to make it out at about 10:10. She was running late (dealing with a colicing horse) so I just had bonding time. It's been a long tiem since I just took the time to fuss over him.
Of course, he got remarkably shiny in the process. We've also relearned that we don't have to be clipped into the cross-ties, but if Momma is working on him, he will stand still. Really nice, actually. I never have had to tie him, but lately I've been doing it out of force of habit.
So Diane shows up and tacks him up at about 10:30, gets on.
The mounting block. Dundundun...!
He was (predictably) a jerk. He also got his ass handed to him. Eagle's MO is that at the block he'll swing his butt to the right. Step under himself-he does a very fancy pivot, I might add. But the instant you take contact with the right rein to turn his nose to the right to prevent his butt going that way-he hauls into reverse.
Contact + mounting block = backing up.
No contact + mounting block = horse's butt going to the right.
The first time around, she shoved him into reverse and represented it. He said 'mmm fuck you. No." So she spun him around (clockwise). And around and around and around. and then represented it and he stood there.
Personally I think he was dizzy.
So the ride went well. She recovered the mounting block issue twice after that and he settled down. Ish.
I think that will be a WIP.
Today was more of a "ride and see what we're working with".
He leans on the right rein. Sticks on the left leg. Pops his butt left when you ask him to halt. Comes behind the vertical when he's asked to engage, and rushes poles if you don't half halt regularly.
It was productive.
He cantered a few lines (just poles) and did fairly well at it. He looked nice at the canter, too. Carried a frame most of the time she was on him.
Pony was livid, though. When she set her leg on him and said "Sorry. It's there. Get used to it" (He would rather you not ride touching his sides-which I do most of the time anyway because my leg doesn't fall well on his barrel. They're too long...) his ears disappeared into his fluffy little mane, they were flat against his head.
Poor boy. Eagle'll get over it, I'm sure. He and I walked out after-I cooled him off and put him away for her. I think the two of us have 'reconciled' this betrayal. We'll see (tomorrow, maybe?) how mounting goes.
The key to this, I think, is consistency. More than anything, my horse is a creature of habit. I have to remember that, and I have to remember that as forward as he is, he still gets nervvy and tense. I need to keep that in mind and relax myself, to relax him.
It's only a fight if I make it one.