So it's confirmed: Arabee hates slippery, muddy footing. Hates it!
I rode yesterday after having given her both Sunday and Monday off due to me being a wimp and not wanting to ride her in high winds Sunday, or below freezing temps Monday with warmer weather forecasted this week! Monday the ground was partially frozen in the shady spots (North sides of hills) and partially thawed and SLICK in other places, and in some places had hoof-sucking mud.
She's not a fan!
Therefore, she was essentially refusing to put her focus on me, and instead her ears and mind were back at the barn, where she would have much rather been. She spent a lot of time traveling with her body curved, but going straight - now that's awkward to ride - and since she was ignoring me, rarely listened to my aids to straighten her.
She was okay at the walk, but once when I asked her to trot up a hill, she veered off towards the left, when I wanted her to trot right, which meant her path went into a big rut (formed from a tractor tire) that was super slippery. She began to scramble to keep her feet, jumped forward and a little to the right to get back out of the rut, and then when she got out threw in a buck because she was MAD. THAT nearly unseated me......and if she wouldn't have stopped when I said WHOA, I would've gone off.
So I highly recommend teaching your horse WHOA. Only use WHOA when you actually want the horse to stop RIGHT NOW. Use "stand" when you want the horse to stand still, but only use WHOA when you need them to stop moving their feet. Continually practice this, and it will pay off sometime. Yes, it will. Reserve "whoa" for you-have-to-stop-right-now, and use "stand" (or something else) when you just want them to "keep" stopping. Don't wear out the "whoa" command - it's real handy having emergency brakes! It saved me from coming off twice yesterday, another 2 or 3 wild strides and I would've been off.
We were able to trot enough on the flat parts to get her breathing up and the beginning of a good sweat, but with the unique part frozen part thawed slickness, we called it quits after 45 minutes after making sure to end on a good note. Since it was so slick, after regaining control and composure, we did a good bit of practicing walking on a long rein, practicing around the creek, practicing across ditches, logs, up and down hills, and staying at a walk and not breaking into a trot. I also practiced walk-halt transitions.
Hopefully tonight I will be able to gain her focus and attention. I've got a longer ride planned, since I won't be able to ride Thursday, and a short easy ride for Friday since I really want to haul out for another training ride on Saturday.