So it's been a while since my last post. On Friday last week, I worked Alex in the other "scary" arena. He was pretty much an angel on the lunge line and I thought, "this is promising." So I decided to get on him (I'd never ridden him in this arena), and was pleasantly surprised when he walked around rather calmly. We changed directions to the right and more of the same. I was headed for the gate and just about to call it a day when he stopped in the corner and refused to go further. I clucked and urged him forward and I got a small rear in return. I asked again and got another small rear and we started to go in circles. When he stopped there was anothe small rear. Awesome. So finally I reluctantly dismounted and proceeded to hand walk him around the arena. He spent the entire time trying to bite/chew on me which was fun. By the time I got him untacked and bathed, I'd had enough.
Saturday, I lunged him in the same arena and had Stephanie as my ground person to help walk us around. Alex spent the whole time looking around bug-eyed and trying to bite/chew on her, for which he definitely got popped in the nose a few times. At this point I had pretty much decided I needed help, someone to get on, boss him around a bit and get him moving forward. I had also, after lots of research and consultation, decided that Alex was most likely suffering from an ulcer or ulcers and this was contributing to the decline in his attitude. So he started his first dose of UlcerGuard on Saturday and I am revamping his feeding regime.
Monday, we were back at it after Alex had a day off. I lunged him in his "preferred" arena and then got on him. He walked around fairly calmly at the walk and I decided to call it a day before I ruined what I considered progress.
Tuesday, a rider from the track, who had been recommended by a friend came out to help me with the beast. He got right in the saddle and definitely let Alex know who was boss. Other than a few moments where he had to get after him, Alex was a saint. No rearing, no nothing... that damn horse. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that it's something that isn't permanent and appears to be not much of a problem at all, but it's always humbling, when you realize, the problem is most likely you.
Wednesday we were back at it. The rider from the track got back in the saddle for a bit and then I climbed on board. Actually, I wasn't nervous at all... we trotted and even cantered/galloped around the arena both directions. I got some pointers on how to ride in a manner that Alex is a little more accustomed to, until he gets more comfortable with me in the saddle.
I'm SO glad I got some help. I am normally a confident rider but this rearing thing really had me spooked. Now I know what I need to do, to get him going and discipline him when he acts up. I feel like I can speak to him in a "language" he understands and I feel a lot better. It was so frusterating to feel helpless. Tomorrow, I will try him on my own and see how he does. Hopefully it will be smooth sailing from here on out.