Breaking Old Habits

Jake enjoying some grass after the show.


What a beautiful day it was in sourthern California. I am currently waiting for my friends to arrive so we can go to the beach. Planning on tanning and enjoying the hot day. So much for a winter right? It has rained only a few times, and the weather has been pleasant. Good for us riders, bad for the water supplies that Calfifornia always needs.


This morning was a show across the street at the showgrounds. As Jake and I both have show anxiety issues I thought it would be an excellent idea to not show but just play around in the warm up and hang around. That way we could have a relaxing day without everything going haywire. So once I arrived at the stables I found that Jake had laid in his pee spot and his white markings were bright yellow. Even though I wasn't showing I wanted him to look presentable. So I spent a while trying to scrub the spots but only to have to settled for a medium yellow stain instead of a bright yellow stain. I can't wait until he sheds out his winter coat and he stays cleaner. 


As I was saddling up I could tell he was not in a great mood. He was acting over reacting to everything. He didn't want to pick up his feet so when I gave him a smack on his shoulder you would have thought I had beat him with a shovel. He leaped, stood on alert and stared at me out of the corners of his eyes, snorting. Yet he picked up all feet without complaint. Then he acted very cinchy when I tightened the girth, he wanted to lay down. When I made that clear that he was not going to lay down on my saddle with a vocal correction he charged forward, spun around and proceded to prance with his tail up while I walked him out. Yeah, it was going to be one of those days. I think he heard the noise across the street of the announcer and already on edge. But normally he is fine on the ground at shows, just turns into a beast under saddle.


Once we got there I had to wait for the warm-up ring to clear up before going in. I could not get him to walk, instead he pranced with his head to his chest, I'm sure giving all the people a nice show of his parade walk. Giving up on the walk I decided to just get him moving forward, so I ended up trotting about 15 minutes before he settled and stretched out. Surprisingly after that he did good. (for Jake status) He was still very pissy, choosing to ignore leg cues, fighting the bit, side stepping towards the gate, and overall just being a pain....BUT he wasn't out of his mind hyper. Which is a huge thing for him. I got a nice canter out of him, there was no fight to keep it consistant. He fought between keeping contact and over bending, but still did great. I popped him over a few of the practice jumps (around 2'6") and he didn't even try to charge when I pointed him at it. He would rate himself until the last stride, then take the bit and leap. But considering how far he has come from charging the minute he was pointed at one...its great. He also was fantastic with coming back down off of a jump, before recently it takes a fight and several minutes to bring him back to focus. Today I just had to do one half hault to bring him under himself at the canter then a little give and take with the bit and within three strides could ask for a slower transition, which he gave to me immediately. No pulling required just sitting deep in the saddle and saying "trot" and he would bring himself down into a great calm trot. 


I am so glad that he behaved like this. Even though he was in a foul mood he didn't act 100% the crazy barrel horse that he has been. He was just hot and in a bad mood...but not crazy. I love this Jake, its all the fire I need but with the control I want. I'm going back tomorrow to do the same thing. I am crossing my fingers and hope he does the same, if not better. If he does then I might try a class or two next month, we will see. Pictures will be coming up within the next few days too.