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Date:4/18/2014 3:19:42 AM
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Yes, I always lunge Smarty before riding to assess where his mind is he ready to work or does he want to buck and play (like he did today on the lunge). On days where he's listening and calm I'll lunge briefly and then get on. On days when he's wound-up we'll work on lots of ground work before I ride. (Today, I lunged him over ground poles. This really got him thinking!)
But, yes, Smarty is very dominant. My trainer says that "horses like him drive me crazy" because "extreamly broke" but he's "just a butthead. He's going to try to get away with whatever he can even though he knows it's wrong and how to do it right." He will "constantly test me" by doing "stupid things" like he did at the Christmas party. She says that it doesn't help that he's very herd bound, but as I become a better rider I'll "become a better leader for him" though he will "always test my leadership. That's just who he is."
She's told me more than once that my horse is the alpha in his herd, so that means when I am with him I have to be "more alpha" than that, that I can't let him push me around.
She says that if I "can't handle that then I need to get a different horse," but if I am up for the challenge that he will make me a "fantastic rider and horsewoman." She says he is the perfect horse for me because of this.
I guess that's why, when other people say to not ride him, it upsets me. Because my trainer, whom I love and respect as an excellent horsewoman and teacher, tells me that despite his problems, we're a good match because he'll push me just enough to make me "not just a rider, but a horsewoman, and not a just good rider, but a great one."
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