Jack has been a real challenge. The other day I spent about three hours on him and had a brutal ride. He knocked me over and took off down the lane then turned around and galloped back at me. He came thundering up expecting me to give way, but I just stood there looking at him until he was forty feet out then raised my arms to the side cutting down his options for pushing past me. He slid to a stop and I walked up and took his halter (I always ride with a halter under the bridle) regaining control. It was embarrassing to have him break free of me. I looped the lead rope around a fence post to anchor him while I tried to mount. He started bucking but was held close to the post so I was able to swing into the saddle. Finally he bucked enough to free the lead before I could release it myself and we had a few minutes of unpleasantness.
The entire ride he would pick odd times to react. Once when fording rather than balk at the water he crossed readily enough, but after reaching the far bank first bucked then backed. His rear hooves dug deep and as he reared and almost came over backward on to me. I pulled his mouth hard to the left and brought his front hooves back down avoiding the pain of a horse landing on me. Later when trying to cross a shallow gully (about 3 to 4 feet deep) he first bucked in protest then tried to jump the distance. We went airborne and landed in the middle; could have been worse.
Later I stopped in some rough terrain to adjust my saddle. When remounting he plunged into me pushing me into a group of vines and thorn bushes tangling me up; pulling away caused me to trip and fall. He reared and backed, bucking against my hold on the reins, dragging me about ten or fifteen feet. I finally got my fingers on the loop of the lead rope hanging from the saddle and has he turned to run I was able to spin on my back and shoulders bringing my feet around to dig in. He pulled me up onto my feet with enough force and while being drug like I was on water skis I was able to leap forward and grab the pommel freeing the rest of the lead and also get a hold on the lower part of his halter to pull to the right. Jack fought me on this and though I had his head around to the right he bucked to free himself and plunged us both down a heavily wooded ravine. We hit a small shrub tree (12 - 15 feet tall) and went right over it pushing it down until he straddled it and I was tangled. I extracted myself but jack had his legs entangled with the tree pushing up against his brisket. I lay back against the ravine side and took in the problem. No visible injuries or movements indicating him completely trapped; I was the only one bleeding and the smears of blood on him were mine.
Knowing the only way to get him out was to let him feel his own way out I rubbed his neck and talked to him letting him know what he done was stupid. Then I removed my water bottle and sat there and had a drink while he figured his way out of the predicament. He finally did and was still to shocked to keep me from remounting. The two riders with me were stunned that I hung on after he bashed me into those heavy vines and were even more amazed that I was able to spin around and kick to my feet while being drug. When he went over the hill I was attempting to get enough force to do a running swing into the saddle. The tree branches stopped that idea cold. They were impressed by the whole thing apparently; especially that I was fast enough and strong enough to move as I did. Lifting weights and doing yoga 4 or 5 times a week helps.
All in all I did take a battering. I reopened the previous cuts and deepened some of them, put more bruises on my back and legs, re-sprained my thumb, and had minor strains on my groin muscles. All this happened on Wednesday. I was back working with Jack on Thursday. Monday I'll spend the day with him excepting the time I use for training Lone Star. By the end of September you would not think Jack was the same horse he has been for the last two weeks. I'll be working him into Ranch Horse training like I am Lone Star by then.