I had a fellow student from the L&HB course at the Parelli Ranch come stay with me before catching her plane back to Norway. We spent the day looking at pictures of her 6 week stay at the ranch and then getting her to the airport. When I got back, I had a short window of opportunity to ride before heading out to a party with friends. I talked to Marcy about taking a ride on Cowboy quickly since he was going to be her mount for the mountain trip the following week.
It didn't go so well. Cowboy wanted to eat grass and Marcy was struggling with it. She couldn't figure out how to get effective with keeping him from dropping his head for grass. She was able to get him to stop and move on, but he would drop whenever he wanted for more. It was obvious that she was getting pretty frustrated. I was wondering what to do to help, but I thought it was better for her to handle the challenge. I try really hard to let people find their own way when I can. My tendency is to take over and fix things, but that doesn't help my friends get better at their own horsemanship.
As we went down the trail, giving Marcy different things to try to manage his grass eating, we talked and tried to find a way to enjoy it. Well, when we turned to go back, Z got a little too close to Cowboy and in his defensiveness, he double kicked back at her. Now, Z and Cowboy covered a lot of miles together and this was a first for him. It surprised us all. He came up and gave a buck to Marcy. Marcy went right over his shoulder and landed hard on her shoulder and head. She was shaken up, but not terribly hurt. After brushing off the dirt, she managed to get back on him. I was glad she wasn't broken anywhere, but I knew her confidence would take a hit. Who's wouldn't?
Cowboy won't be going to the mountains with us now. Marcy is thinking she and Dave will just take turns on Jeffrey. She wants to trust her mount and I understand that perfectly. Darn it! Horses! It's just a risky deal.
Z was great and at the end, I tried to help Marcy get better at talking to Cowboy with her hands. She couldn't get him to back up. He was pretty hard mouthed for her and I'm sure a trail ride of fighting him against the bit didn't help things at all. We switched and she rode Z for a moment in my front pasture, while I worked on softening Cowboy. He got soft quickly once I got on him. He needs a good hand on his back for a while. He could really benefit from someone who knows how to help him be a good partner. He's not great for filling in someone else's holes right now. He's not the horse he was when he was at my place and training for the endurance race.