I think I just want somebody to say keep going, he'll turn a corner soon.
Dpony had been doing soooooo well (backed in April, taking life in his stride)
until a couple of "episodes" that have lead to me losing a bit of confidence in myself and him:
- He reared when I lost my dog on a ride one day (I put this down to frustration / confusion, as we were stood around for several minutes in a gateway and then went back through a couple of gates to re-trace our steps) Not the correct way to behave, but I could see where it came from.
- He reared again (I thought it was more of a spin, though my friend tells me he was quite high) This was because I was asking him to pass some pigs and he is scared shitless (literally!) of pigs. Can see why he did it.
- He bolted with me and I had to "crash" him into a hedge to stop him (Same ride / different day as 2) He passed the pigs, but then ran at the last minute. Again, not the way to behave, but I can understand why he did it.
- I took him back to re-do the pig-bolting ride (dosed up on super calm) and he cantered off down the round because something spooked him (this was before we even reached the pigs!) When we reached the pigs I got off, walked him close enough to see then, but not to push him out of his comfort zone. He stood and looked (snorting and sweating up) and then I turned him back and we went home. That felt like a small victory.
Anyway, to combat 1. I have been throwing in random "stopping and waiting" into rides, which seems to be working.
To combat 2, 3 and 4 I have been avoiding pigs.
What I don't know is what I can do to stop him "running". That's such a major instinct for a horse. The fitter he's getting, the stronger / more flighty he's becoming, spooking at things I can't see. I rode him out today and we'd been out for 1 1/2 hours, he'd worked hard. I thought we were getting somewhere. 10 mins from home before I know what's happening we're cantering down the rode. Then we had "crash" no. 2 because I couldn't stop him.
Usually on a hack, when he isn't panicking and running, he stops when I give the aids for a half-halt. He's responsive in that way.
I'm riding him in a sweet iron loose ring french link snaffle, with a flash and martingale. I don't know where to go next with bits and him in general. I think we have lost our bond that we had early on.