|All photos in this post by Buffy (thank you!)|
When he's worried, he can't think and then he has a melt-down. I've been very careful not to exert pressure when I work with Tex. He is very pressure-adverse, very pressure sensitive.
I talked to one of the wranglers at Alisal about Tex. She's a very solid rider with great horsemanship skills. She started out eventing as a kid and then fell in love with Quarter horses while in college. She has experience in all disciplines -- and loves them all. I described the "can't bend to the right" issue to her and she immediately said, "Was he a roping horse?"
Well, yes, as a matter of fact he was a competitive roping horse.
She nodded and then explained. There are different styles of riders in roping, but many of them train their horses to come out of the box and get the steer and that's it. They never have to bend right; they bend left to be positioned correctly. She said she's ridden a lot of roping horses that were stiff as a board. "Hmm," I said, "kind of like race horses who are used to running in one direction and have to learn to go the other way?"
Exactly, she said.
This morning, Brett and I moved the boys up to the top pasture for the day. Tex was willing and ready, meeting me when I came into the pasture with his halter. I tried a couple carrot stretches. Bending to the left, his muzzle brushed his side -- plenty bendy. Going to the right, you could walk between the space between his nose and his side. He's one tight pony. I see lots of carrots stretches in his future.
And I plan to ask Mark Rashid for some guidance as well. The timing of our clinic with him (in two weeks) is perfect.