I was sort of taken aback by my first solo ride on Ox Wednesday night.  When I hopped on him Sunday and jumped him around, trail buddy was in the ring and giving advice.  She'd tacked him up and ridden him prior to me getting on him.  He was in the position of lesson pony, which is a position he's spent a lot of time in.

Things were completely different Wednesday.

For such a common color, I've really only had one or two Chestnuts in my life.
When I went to take his fly mask off, he backed away.  When I went to put his halter on, he rolled his eyes.  When I walked him up to the wash rack, he slammed on the brakes and I had to do some coercion.  He danced in the cross ties, eventually snapping one.  He shied at parts of the woods.  He refused to bend right.  He spooked at a blue barrel that he'd gone by multiple times.

This is why people wear lipstick, yes?  Say hello to the big orange booty.

And at some point, it dawned on me that this horse did not trust me.  Or was testing me.  Either way, the result's the same and he doesn't think we've got to go from point A to point B.  I'm either a scary human stranger or a rider he can take advantage of.

Fortunately, I've been riding the master asshole for a decade now, and put up with none of his shit.  He'll learn to trust me eventually.  I texted the trail buddy and she immediately replied, "Oh, yeah, he's super slow to trust, but one he does, you're in."  Also, spurs.  

After getting him successfully over some small cross rails, I hosed the beast down and fed him his dinner.  Lots of carrots, lots of rewards for following.

Just look at the beefcake!
His worried eye says, "You are not my mom."

We have this in common:  we like treats.
I pulled Archie out of the pasture afterwards and walked him around bareback for about ten minutes.  L recently asked me how different Ox was from Archie and it's this:  Archie is smooth, Ox is disjointed (not so much that front and back don't speak, but maybe that his huge chest feels funny?);  Archie is almost downhill, Ox is so incredibly uphill that I feel like I'm going to slide off his back;  Archie is straight and responsive, Ox wiggles between my legs.

Archie is unimpressed by what I do with other horses.
It's an interesting comparison for me, especially when I take into consideration Big G.  I've been riding him regularly for six months or so and never felt like we had growing pains or communication issues.  

I ask Big G to do something and his response is an immediate, "Yes!  Okay?  Faster?!"  I asked Ox to do something and he ignored me until I corrected and asked again (I know you know the cue for canter!).  I don't ask Archie, I kinda sorta think something and then we can't tell who thought it first and if I asked him or he asked me and suddenly we're doing what we both wanted to do.  And that's why Archie will always be my heart horse.

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  1. Sometimes I think about Fiction and how we are so in tune with each other and yet I still don't feel connected to him. I'm jealous of your relationship with Archie :)

  2. You look so very happy! And trust will come with time, but you know that already.

  3. Your last couple sentences, exactly how things are with me and P and it's the best. <3 We always just exist on the same wavelength.

  4. it took a loooonnnnng time to get there with isabel. zero trust and zero connection and everything else instead. it comes in time tho!

  5. You guys will get there in due time!

  6. New horses are a huge adjustment. You will have his number soon!

  7. I am also jealous of your relationship with Archie. Katai is starting to feel like she knows all my little cues and I'm starting to know her really well but we still have an interesting relationship some day.

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  9. I am so far behind! I have some serious back pedalling to do to catch up!
    I am probably a weirdo be developing the bond & trust wih a new horse is one of my fav things about horses! Feeling them come around and when they show different sides to their personalities - there is nothing like it for me.
    He will come around as you're awesome, there's no way he won't love you asap, even if he is a stubborn redhead ;-)

  10. It looks to me like he might be just at least a little draft-y (the PMU babies often are I think?) and in my experience, draft crosses are slower to trust and believe what you say, but they're very sweet and loyal and willing once they do trust you. And you don't seem like the type to let that deter you at all, so I'm sure once you guys spend some time together you'll be a wonderful pair!

  11. His blaze is simply divine <3

  12. Dawh poor guy! Treats are always good

  13. I always respect my own horses so much more after enjoying someone elses.