I wanted to write today about the nice dressage ride Izzy and I had yesterday; about how she's learning to step under herself and we're really making progress; and how the only mystery at the moment is why she stocked up last night after a light walk/trot workout yesterday. Yes, that was the blog I was going to write.
Instead, I went for a ride this morning. It started well--Izzy was responding and I was prepared to build on yesterday. She was just tense in one corner for no particular reason. As I rode her through it to see why, she leaped into the air and bucked, then plunged forward and bucked again. I'm pretty sure I didn't sit up like I should have, but I yelled at her and managed to get her head up and turned in a circle, so we stopped. I regained my stirrups and asked her to go forward gently. I was immediately glad that I had only asked gently, because I could tell in that instant that she was ready to buck again.
It didn't help at this point that there was a massive freaking out draft horse in the arena with us and another one in the round pen. Not their fault, but it wasn't helping my mood.
I decided the best course of action was to hop off and put Izzy on the lunge line. She galloped around like a maniac. My usually-lazy warmblood took off running around me. I didn't even need the whip I was carrying. She ran at least five minutes one way, then we switched directions and she ran the other way. I got back on after that and we tried to work again. Just when I was starting to get her attention, the lady got off the one freaking out draft horse, tied him up in the arena, and brought the other one in to ride.
Instantly, I lost Izzy's focus. I tried asking her to canter, and she tore off. Since she very nearly fell over when bucking, I took my time turning her in a circle so we didn't have a catastrophic wreck. I got her back under control, did two walk/trot transitions, and got off just as one of the draft horses tried to take the arena fence down. (To all the good drafts and draft owners out there: I'm not hating on you. It's just that these two are extremely destructive and strong willed and I can't stand them most of the time. Especially when I'm cranky.)
As I led Izzy out of the arena, she nearly ran over the top of me. Just because. That made me madder than I already was, so I took her to the round pen instead of her pen, took her tack off, and turned her loose. She galloped around like a maniac. I even pulled the (empty) water trough off the rail because she was acting dumb and my cousin had an accident with a horse, a water trough, and a round pen.
I put my tack away. I wandered around. She finally more or less settled down, so I went and caught her. She was completely soaked in sweat, so I tied her up and thought, "Huh. Here we have a teachable moment." I mean, she's hot, sweaty, and tired. She stocked up last night, so cold hosing is in order regardless. Besides, I was sure she was tired enough to stand still.
Again, I was wrong. She had a royal fit when I started spraying her (lightly) with the hose. However, she was securely tied, she knows better than to pull back, and I was in a mood. I sprayed her until she stood still and gave up. When she was thoroughly rinsed and hosed, I left her tied (good practice!) while I went to find a sweat scraper. (Apparently, mine has wandered off.) She more or less stood, but by the time I found one, the arena was empty of riders.
I know an opportunity when I see it. I had already figured out that this mess was most likely caused by having a weekend off, followed by light work and no turnout. Someone's mare is in good shape, has engaged the TB side of her brain, and she had no way to express it. Sigh. The trials of horses.
Anyways. I seized my opportunity and turned Izzy loose in the arena. She galloped off. I watched her run around like a maniac for five or ten minutes, then thought, "Well, I might as well get the other girl." I put my old TB mare out with her, thinking that she'd just run Izzy into the ground like she normally does. Instead, Cassie (the TB) galloped merrily around for a while, but apparently wasn't in a hard running mood. They played for at least 20 minutes, but Cassie decided she wanted to be done, so I caught her and tied her outside the arena. That lured Izzy over long enough to catch her, and then I was able to take them both home.
Leave it to Izzy to turn a 40 minute ride into a two and a half hour meltdown.
Lesson learned: when turnout is scarce, institute an arena turnout schedule for Izzy so she has some time to relax and be a horse. I'll have to work out something more concrete for her.