beyond the basics of the story, i haven’t shared much about my journey with auto. that’s mostly because it’s been really, really tough and filled with so much angst. it’s still really, really tough. he’s a tough horse with what seems to have been zero training and a lot of not-easily-explained baggage when he came into my life.
there’s no doubt that he’s come a long way, but dern it’s slower than molasses in january. he’s been in very consistent work (4-5 days/week) for more than a year and we’re still struggling with the same issues: he wants to go around like a giraffe, he bottles behind my leg and inverts even more when asked to move forward, and he generally avoids any semblance of contact. over even the smallest of fences, he charges like he’s a bull in pamplona.
i’d be lying if i said it wasn’t really, really disheartening and it leaves me clueless on most days.
i am keenly aware that training/retraining a horse is long, slow road often filled with setbacks and forks. i also know that i know absolutely nothing about this horse’s past. one person suggested barrel racer (he’d be an awfully large barrel racer). he’s not tattooed as far as we can tell. my best guess is that he’s a homebred TB (though that’s a pretty dishy profile) that had a pasture accident and never raced (though you don’t need a tattoo to run on a “private racetrack”), and then barrelled?
still, with a more than a year of slow and steady work under saddle (in arenas and out) and in side reins on the longe, i had hoped we’d be further along. he’s had more than one full vet workup resulting in SI injections, serious teeth work, and even a month of marquis. he’s in great health and gets regular body work, with no indication of needing chiro.
don’t get me wrong, i’m not expecting second level movements, but i thought we’d have said goodbye to the giraffe and have a more consistent tempo in approach to the little Xs and verticals.
is he in pain? is he only suited to be a trail horse? do i need to call the animal communicator and have her give him a message for me? i just don’t know.
what i do know is that i am unbelievably bonded to him, and in recent weeks it has seemed that he feels the same. i finally feel like he knows i’m his one and only human. i am committed to the long road with him, but it would be super if it were a hell of a lot less foggy.