Runkle Trains Me

Has anyone ever noticed that sometimes, your horse is the one doing the training? And I don't mean the 'riding a schoolmaster' kind of way.

Runkle's pretty much back in full work. We had one little baby jump lesson, so that's still a work in progress. But I haven't been counting my laps at the trot for awhile and we've been cantering. So far so good, as far as his leg is concerned.

Where things haven't been 'so good' is the left lead canter.
This is not the left lead canter.
It started off with him just swapping the lead behind. Then he'd pick up the wrong lead the first time I asked him. Then twice. Then he'd have a little mini fit. It devolved until I could not for the life of me get the left lead canter. I'd spend twenty minutes picking up the wrong one over and over and over, and then he'd finally pick up the left one and I'd be like "... I have no idea what I just did differently that caused this result".

It looked like this. But with more bucking.
Naturally, being me, I assumed it was rider error. He's green and I am very far from perfect. I continued struggling with it and made a mental note to ask what the hell I was doing wrong that caused my horse to forget how to do the racehorse lead.

Well yesterday I had a flat lesson and I mentioned to my trainer my current shortcomings as a horse mother and trainer and person (okay, melodramatic...) and she said "okay, try picking it up and we'll see what we've got".

My horse is a petulant pony, and he trained me how to ask for it so incorrectly that I wasn't even really asking for it anymore. He somehow convinced me to really pull on the right rein until he picked up the wrong lead and cantered around kind of diagonally until I got frustrated and gave up. He also was a really slow little shit that lagged so hard when I asked for the canter I'd throw my upper body forward to try and nag him into it.

Basically he turned me into a flaily jackass.

I threaten to send him back about 3x a week.
My trainer set about to putting us to rights. Runkle DID NOT like this very much. She cut off all his grumpy little turd pony evasions so he had to listen to me. He did not want to do that. He tried everything to get out of it. And as I waited him out and combated his normally very effective resistance methods he got more and more annoyed until he finally gave up.

And then I got the left lead about five times in a row without any chasing or swapping (but with some angry bucking).

This is not dressage.
This horse is such a fractious little monster sometimes. He makes me second guess myself and frustrates me to no end. He's not the kind of gelding I can just bully around. I just have to wait him out. He's like a goddamn mare. And a pony. He's a pony mare.

But, you know, I got it through to him and now I have his number. I know what I was doing wrong so he's SOL now. Until he comes up with something else to convince me I can't do, ruins me for a week and forces my trainer to spend forty minutes fixing me. Boy is he lucky he's cute.


  1. I definitely do not know anything about my devious pony training me to lean at him and flail wildly in an attempt to get the canter, thereby allowing him to not canter. Nope. Don't know anything about that at all. Cannot relate.

    1. why is my go to flail wildly

      haven't I been doing this for 20+ years


  2. Me. This is so me. My horse is better at training me than I am him.

  3. Yeah no idea what you're talking about. None. Nope.

  4. Like, literally the exact same thing that Murray and I did with canter departs in general. My trainer was like "how about you just do... less." and suddenly -- cantering.

    1. yeah like what i'm not supposed to flail my body around and pull all the reins like a seesaw??? MAGIC

  5. I think it's pony tantrum week in blogland! I'm glad you have trainer handy to get you guys straightened out quickly. I blame all of this on winter. Stupid winter.

    1. they're all going to boarding school if they dont shape up.

  6. ha yup you just described my, ahem, pony too. my trainer tells me that the answer to our left lead problems is 'more whip.' charlie begs to differ, but i'm starting to see the light lol

    1. ugh that sucks when they get so sticky behind the leg. i'm like please PLEASE don't make me pick this fight. I like my body being in one piece.


Post a Comment

I love comments so much, it makes me want to give you a BIG hug.

Popular Posts