|Old pic to remind everyone he is cute|
While we have never pushed the issue in his training, it is very clear that you do NOT want to pick a fight with this horse. He is a Dynaformer baby and his momma was a very tough racehorse so to start with, everything in his DNA says that if you get him into fight mode, he will go to the mat with you.
And I have seen glimpses of that in his personality. When I was first learning he might have some ulcer/stomach acid issues he was near unrideable. I could practically feel him saying "I am being as polite as I can right now, but if you don't get off me and fix this, very bad things will happen." So, my trainers and I put a lot of time and effort into convincing him that all the things we want him to do are his idea. I get that this applies generally to horses, but seems to apply moreso to Odin.
However - and this has been the hardest part for me to learn - that doesn't mean you can baby him. If I ask nicely and he ignores me, and I let him get away with that, he has learned something and that is not a good thing. So I have had to learn to correct VERY strongly but then to soften literally the second he gives. It is a bit of a tightrope to walk and it has been an effort to get me there. I assumed sensitive meant not to correct strongly but it really means (for Odin) to be incredibly firm and to give as much and as quickly as possible afterwards.
|Jasper pondering how tough all this riding stuff is|
When he tries to lean on the bit, it is a hard pop and then soften like nothing happened.
When he decides it is time to shoulder in down the long side when I am asking him to go straight, it is a hard boot and then again, soften like nothing happened.
As trainer R put it, sometimes he needs a bit of cowboy but you need to know when to stop because if you make it a total fight, you will lose.
He also has a bit of a high opinion of his ability to be the one driving.
|Me pondering how tough all this riding stuff is!|
I think he has been great for my education as a horsewoman because he is never scary and he isn't exactly hard - he will go out and be largely obedient. But to get the best out of him, you need to up your game.
And for me that has been learning a new balance for the dichotomous horse.