Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What, now we're channeling a mule?

I knew I spoke too soon about my perfect colt! Today, since of course I wanted to get done and go over to Juliane's to watch the news, we had our first hint of attitude.

(As Juliane pointed out, being in a hurry is why I got attitude. Touche.)

Anyway, he just started out with that look in his eye. You know the look. The F-U, Mom, I really don't want to cooperate look. Of course I thought, okay, it'll be good to work with him in that mood. After all, what if he's in a mood the day he has to go to a show? Better learn to work through it now, right? So I forged ahead.

I'd decided tonight was the night I was going to hang a bit in his mouth, so I set up a plain ring snaffle on a working headstall. He already decided that looked like a good toy - as I was grooming him, he picked it up by the bit and swung it. There you go, colt - your mouth is exactly where that goes! However, when I actually put it on him, he was less than thrilled. Well, that's an understatement. He wanted it out, out, out of his mouth. Now. Even though it was loosely adjusted, he shook his head to the ground and slung it around and tried to rid himself of the annoying thing in his mouth. He bit the post, he made faces like I was killing him. I only left it on ten minutes but I'm pretty sure I managed to put him in an even pissier mood with that little exercise! I'm really clever that way.

Then he decided he was going to regress totally and refuse to stand to be mounted. I started off doing the natural horsemanshippy thing where if they don't stand, you send them out to longe. Well, we probably did that six times. He wasn't getting bored with it or apparently learning a thing. Finally I decided it was time to revert to Traditional Horsemanship.

"Goddamnit, HO!" I finally yelled and smacked him in the chest.

He gave me a surprised look...and promptly gave up and stood still for mounting. OK, so much for being open minded about new methods, in the future we will go straight to the chest smack.

Once I was on, he started out fine. We walked our usual circles and figure eights. The trot was quick but I was expecting that as it was cold and windy outside and he'd had two days off. I figured he'd start to soften up as he got the edge off like he usually does. Instead, as we came through the center to circle, he just plain...didn't turn. Um, what?

Thus began Rubbernecking Night. And I admit, I was annoyed as hell because, damn it, I wanted to get OFF and go watch myself on the news, and now I knew I had to do the responsible thing and work through this. He'd be good and trot along and then all of a sudden, he'd veer toward the middle like a 25 year old lesson horse having a pissy day. This was a completely new behavior. Well, I think we saw shades of it on ride number 2, but here we were at ride number 13, and ride 12 I had been trotting him around on the wall with one hand on the reins, chatting with my friends and not even having to pay attention.

We have a fence in the middle of the arena and he ignored my directions and simply drifted to a stop facing the fence. Now we were stuck. He wouldn't turn left. He wouldn't turn right. He wouldn't back up. He didn't care what I did. It was like sitting on a stuffed horse. Uh-oh.

I looked at the ends of my reins with the little leather pony whackers on them. Clearly they were going to have to be employed and I was going to have to face the consequences. I sat back, heels down and smacked him.

I think he yawned.

So I smacked him harder.

He twitched an ear. I was sure I could see his ears growing longer as this went on.

At some point I remembered that I used to ride a filly by his sire, and she also had an amazing ability to grow roots and totally ignore any temper tantrum taking place on her back. You had to outwit her, confuse her, and distract her to get her back into forward gear. I leaned forward, grabbed the cheekpiece and turned his head. Finally I got the all important forward step and then he gave up and walked out of it.

Before we quit, we (1) trotted down the wall once and stopped when I wanted to stop, not when he wanted to stop and (2) walked a very straight line without succeeding in pulling away down the wall he didn't want to go down.

I know exactly why this ride happened. I was in a hurry. I wanted to get done and get off. That's never the frame of mind to ride a greenie in. It also happened because I had been sloppy about some major building blocks of his training. He's so quiet and well behaved normally that even though I knew he didn't have much of a bend to the left, I hadn't really been making an issue of it. Oh sure, we'd trot circles that direction, and I'd reward him mightily for turning his nose into the circle, but I hadn't really worked on loosening him up in the neck. When he decided tonight to simply set his neck and refuse to move it, I didn't have any strategy other than trying to outpull him and you know how well that works!

So, now we know what we need to work on! My friend is coming to visit tomorrow and bringing me a Wintec which should fit him, which would be great. I know I ride for crap in the purple cordura saddle and it should make a huge difference to have an english saddle on him where I can get my leg on him and I don't feel like I'm tipping forward due to those strangely far-back stirrups.

Then again, it does occur to me that if that is our bad ride, I probably shouldn't complain, right?


Anonymous said...

Well, look at it this way: at least you know he will stop, lol! It could be worse. He could be a bucker, a rearer, or a bolter, but instead he's just a stopper. He'll figure it out. Eventually.

Latigo Liz said...

Now you have an inkling as to why I haven't been riding since March! If I can't dedicate myself at least 3 solid hours, then I don't even bother. Lame excuse? Maybe. But I would rather do that then get myself in a bind and find out I needed 6 hours instead of 60 minutes. My time is coming, I can feel it...or at least it better be!

fanoffugly said...

Fugly if that all the VLC has to throw at you by ride 13 you are laughing! Well done.

Anonymous said...

Love the NH versus TH approach. And good thing you recalled the filly - that would have given me extra confidence knowing that I had dealt with this before, rather than thinking, "Look at the SIZE of that thing! My weapons will be useless!"

Horsegal984 said...

Man, must have been the day for bad rides!! I'll admit it too, me having a headache and being sleep deprived had NOTHING to do with PITA turning back into an actual PITA! We were lazy, touched with leg we became racy, then yanking on me and throwing his head in the mouth to avoid the bit. Back and forth, I think we made it maybe 3 strides at one speed before suddenly either speeding up or slowing down.

So we get the warmup in, bucking right along at the canter, and start some little over fences stuff. Normally this would be the part where he starts to pay attn and behave, since he seems to really enjoy it! Nope, not today. Over the fences nicely, then stopped in a semi-straight line after running though my hands for 3-4 strides. Tell him good boy, cluck and walk on. Nothing. acted like VLC at the fence. Kick hard with one inside leg, and he goes straight up. Front feet weren't too far off the ground, but managed to whack me in the head with the back of his. For tonight, I chose to ignore it, due to my total inability at this point to correct without actually maiming him.

Did the jump exercise again, went much better, so ended on that. Figure I'll stop while ahead, and try again tomm, in a Western saddle, with my protective vest, and a crop for his head!

Jackie said...

Must be a week for it!!! My PrimaDonnaDiva was in such a "heat" pissy mood that when I rode her on Tuesday (and yes, I was tired and wanted an easy day) that when I asked her to *trot* she humped her back and bucked out...just one, but to let me know I as going to have a hard time. Which I did, got her to roughly do what she smoothly did Sat and Sun, then we quit. Gave her yesterday off (I spend *another* day trailer shopping...where are the decent ones that are under $2,000 that are not totally falling apart??? Why do people think that a piece of junk barely towable is worth $1,200?). This weekend promises to be warm, sunny, and I have 4 days...I do believe we are going to work on some issues, too :)

4Horses&Holding said...

*** shrieks: "HORSE ABUSE HORSE ABUSE!!!! ***

You smacked his chest!

Hahaha..... See I use some "NH" methods myself.... a lot of them. But I mostly look at them as a teaching tool. A lot of it is great for showing the horse how to do something and encouraging them to do something they don't want to do. You know - "asking" them. But, sometimes they will say "NO!!! I know what you want, but I don't WANT TO!" And then as long as you know the horse KNOWS what you are asking, you may have to 'revert to traditional methods'.

I've learned the 'don't rush' and 'work young horses while relaxed and happy' lessons well (way back from my first horse - if you were in a fighting mood, she'd oblige you!). I think that is part of the reason I so seldom work with Justin under saddle. I'm very often stressed and rushed.

As far as skipping building blocks - I know what you mean! I think we all do it. My mare was (although strong willed) very easy to handle, as a rule. She was probably the least 'trained' horse I've ever had. She was the most 'broke,' but the least trained.

I've done the "pull the cheekpiece" maneuver, too!

As bad rides go, it was pretty damn good! Although, you may have learned (or had refresher courses) more than the VLC!

ellen said...

Well I had one of my broodies bolt up in the hayfield with me -- prompted by a General Yeehaw moment from the five horses in the pasture across the fence. Thanks, guys... relatively minor but good for getting rattled.

Blame it on the full moon -- contrary and/or hysterical has been the order of the day for a while now for most of the critters I've had to deal with, regardless of leg count.

Still, you can call your ride a win (and I mine) as you and VLC got home at the same time, and in the proper configuration, human on top.

mulelisa said...

Oh, boy. I love it. I have the same problem as latigo liz mentioned: it's hard to block enough time when I know I must be in the car for after-school taxi-duty. But when I do get a chance to work with the mules --real mules-- I've done the same NH-stuff to start then if that doesn't work, wham! enough already! They always give me a "Oh, you actually wanted me to do this?" look.

Mary said...

HA! ~points to the scars on the inside and outside of her bottom lip~ Rushing put my top tooth THROUGH my bottom lip when my TB mare popped her head up while I was adjusting my foot in my iron. I wsa showing her to a potential buyer, it was the day after my brother's wedding which he held at my house, I had a ton of cleaning to do and I was in a hurry. When my face met the back of her head, I was out cold. Fell off a 16.3 hand mare, into the fence which caught on my shirt ripping it off of me. I came to on the ground, my face covered in blood, in just my jeans and a bra (glad I wore one that day), dizzy with my mare standing over me looking at me like I just lost my freaking mind. I got back on though! Only to have it happen again! Found out the retarded horse put the bit under her tongue so when I made contact with the reins while ficing my foot, it hurt. So, I got knocked out cold...and landed on the ground...again...and ripped my second shirt...again...and got the look from my mare...again...I didn't get back on that day...

Amazingly enough, the gal looking to buy her DID buy her.

So ya, your bad day wasn't all that bad!

barngal said...

I just recently had a day like that. I rode at the local fairgrounds with some 4-H kids I sometimes work with. I was going to use this as an opportunity to be around other horses AND have a nice flat area to work on cantering.

I saw BCG wasn't going to be acting his best so I had to worry about a blowup at some point and it seemed wherever I rode I had to avoid a kid wandering around oblivious to anyone else. In the meantime, while waiting for a clear spot in the arena, I did get a chance to ride over the trail obstacles and he was so good. BCG has a true desire to be a western pleasure/trail horse where movement is a lot slower, so he was happy.

Finally the ring was clear but I was being ushered out, time to go. I once tried a nice canter but immediately saw I was going to deal with minor blowups since he still has to be "encouraged" a bit with a crop. I didn't want to hurry and possibly have a rough time and then leave on a bad note so we had another nice trot and called it a day.

Heidi the Hick said...

"I wanted to get done and get off. "

hahaha, NOTHING good can happen when you're in a mood like that! haha sorry.

I think I'm at the age now... if a horse is in a crap mood like that, I back way off. If the plan was ambitious, it might turn into something really simple, like "we're going to walk in a nice straight line and turn around and that's it." Or even just, "You're going to stand still while I tack you up. Then I'm going to untack you and go back in the house and wrap myself in a blanket."

Moods really change everything. You're right, he has to learn to work through it, and we riders/ trainers do too, but it's hard to pick and choose your battles, isn't it?

It's good that you recognize your hurry as the problem. Soooo many people don't and just blame the horse.

I'll tell you another thing: I had an explosive hot little horse for 17 years. I loved him. I was ready for his temper fits. (I loved him even more when he never freaked out with my kid on his back!)

NOw I've got two level headed critters who just plant themselves and say no. It's a different kind of frustrating, but I'm getting too old to deal with hot tempers.

4Horses&Holding said...

OT - there is a link to the Serenity Training blog here - but when I get to the home page, none of the links are clickable....

Any idea why?

mugwump said...

I'm paying the price of rushing AND temper this week.
I got into a locked neck stiff thing that I have been dealing with for quite awhile.
It was my last horse of the day, I was tired, wanted to go home, mare was pissy from the get go.
Result? She's fine. I'm hurt. Stiff neck is still waiting for me when I can get on next week.
Boss is mad because she said, "You want me to take over? I don't need you laid up right now."
"#@$%#!!!" I replied. Then I got nailed. Ahem.

Lyzz said...

Heheh, I've so been through this before. Thankfully I'm not planning on showing or anything (well, one at the end of the season, but that's months away!!) and am finally able to enjoy riding to its fullest again...It was bad this winter. I knew I had to ride, so when I was able to force myself to ride (I was incredibly burnt out over the fall/winter), I would end up getting impatient - wanted to get off, I was cold!! - and would end up cursing half the ride while Shay acted up...of course, once I started riding more often because I WANTED to, all of that stopped happening.

I'll stop rambling. =P

CNSpots said...

Thanks to all the inspiration from this blog I finally bit the bullet and decided it was time to saddle & sit on my son's Very Bossy Mare. The VBM is 4 and the son is 10. I tricked VBM into going into the round pen and slammed the gate behind her.....did I mention no one can catch her lately except my son? Once inside the round pen, she reverted to her former sweet self. I brought out the old beat up all purpose English saddle and the sidepull. VBM became Very Nosy Mare and checked everything out thoroughly. I don't believe in easing around the horses because I want them used to sudden movements and unexpected actions since they are around kids (mine know how to act, but I can't be sure their friends will), so I just tossed the pad on her back and....surprise! She stood still. Then I tossed on the saddle, still no reaction. Knowing this mare as I do, I was really waiting for an explosion of some sort because I haven't worked with her for over a year due to my health. By this time, my son had wandered out to see what was going on and was perched up on top of the fence (6ft tall extra large wood round pen due to having a draft horse). On goes the side pull, still nothing. Even though this is a small 14H Racking mare I am physically unable to jump up on her so my son brings me a bucket to stand on. So I rattle it, bang it, drop it at her side because if she's going to do something I want her to do it BEFORE I'm on her. Still nothing. I step up on the bucket and lay my weight across the saddle. VBM turns to see what the hell I'm doing and sort of gives a "what now" sigh. As I go to put my foot in the stirrup my 10 year starts having a don't get on her, you might get hurt (did I mention I have Fibromyalgia & MS?)! I calmly explain to him that SOMEONE has to get on her and I really don't think she's going to do anything. Down from the fence he comes and over to VBM. This 10 year old faces me down (he's almost as tall as I am) and informs me that VBM is his horse and HE will get on her. When I object, he reminds me that I just said she wasn't going to do anything stupid so why shouldn't he. This child has a habit of turning my words against me and usually can present a good arguement as to WHY we should do things his way (did I mention he has a genius level IQ and a way with animals?). I finally cave and tell him he can have the first ride, but only if I stand there holding, this was not one of my saner adult moments. Up he goes and VBM turns to see what is on her, realizes it's my son, and goes completely relaxed. My son is grinning ear to ear and all I can think is VBM probably would have put me on my ass since she has such an attitude towards adults unless food is involved here lately. I lead her around a few times and my son convinces me to let go at which time VBM promptly stops. WTF? Okay, I walk off and she follows. I stop, she stops. Now I'm telling my son to give her a little leg pressure and cluck, but she just stands there. We finally convince her to walk without me walking in front of her and my son is laughing his ass off because this mare is riding around like she's been broke forever. She goes where he steers and stops when he asks. After I'm sure there will be no trouble, I finally let him put his feet back in the stirrups ( no way was I taking the chance of a buck and him getting his feet hung up in the I like for him to learn balance). Suddenly my 6 year old flies outside yelling "me too, me to!" Out comes my non-horsey husband who says might as well let him get on too. So, VBM had her first ride under saddle put on her by a 10 year old and then a 6 year old. When it's all over with and I unsaddle her and try to turn her loose out of the round pen, she doesn't want to go. This mare stands there and practically begs for more. Then the other horses (except Spooky Arabian Pony) come up and start smelling the saddle and wanting in on the "fun". Too bad... one is only 2 and way too young and the other is 18 and has dsld. I have to say I was very pleased with VBM and happy that my original instincts about her when we rescued her 2 years ago were dead on. She has always had a special bond with my 10 year old and it's great to see that bond will extend to a riding relationship.

Anonymous said...

lol, well it could've been much worse and thank goodness it wasn't! For a while I thought my QH/TB mare might have had some OAK TREE in her blood she would get so stuck! We got through it though!

deanna may said...

Hahaha, that sounds like a draft thing to do! Are you sure he's not like 1/32 elephant? Haha.

In my circle, we call that kind of behaviour "Drafting Out." Like, when riding a greenie draft cross, and he just stops and refuses to move, we'll say "He just drafted right out!"

Once we went to a dressage show about an hour away and when we were loading Tango (a rescue, hinz-57-who-knows-what-breed-but-definitely-draft-something-or-other. His previous owners honestly thought one flake a day would be enough for the three-year-old Tango... pour guy) into the trailer IN THE RAIN, and he just totally drafted out. He just stood there, a few feet from the trailer and WOULD NOT MOVE.

We tried everything. We shook buckets of oats. He didn't blink. We tapped him on the butt with a dressage whip. Nothing. We popped him good on the butt with the whip, but NOTHING. We put a chain on his halter. Nothing. We chased him with brooms and rakes. NOTHING! He just totally checked out, and nothing we did phased him. He was like, "No, I am not going in there, and I don't really care what you do because I'm just going to completely ignore you!"

And of course, it was pouring rain, and the three horses already loaded were getting antsy, and we were all tired and cranky, which didn't really help.

We did eventually get him in, but that was the first time we ever coined the phrase "drafting out." We've used that phrase many more times since!

PS: Tango is now a fantastic Pony Club mount, and is fawned over and loved by an eleven-year-old girl. Other than the occassional draft-out, he is a wonderful gelding. Really sweet.

Sagebrusheq said...

My comments may not apply to any of the above instances but they remind me of something I see quite often with green horses. The horse goes well at first and seems to understand what is going on and then appears to regress. To cite a typical example, a youngster goes 'well' the first few times on the trail, crosses water, pays no attention to spooky objects and travels in front of the others without a care, or so it seems. The rider is pleased with what appears to be his boldness and unflappable attitude and makes unwarranted assumptions and then gets upset and thinks the horse is messing with him when a week later the same horse takes exception to everything he encounters. It's impossible to know what's really going on in their minds but as a working theory I would propose that initially they are so over-amped with the flood of new sights and sensations that they don't have the presence of mind to object to anything. When they calm down and get over the newness they reveal how green they really are and start to pay attention to things that previously passed by in a whirl of confusion. Much as a horse running in a herd will go over and by things he would spook at when he is calm and thinking.


fuglyhorseoftheday said...

Deanna - I think it's just a Big Horse Thing. They know they are big and strong and really, what are you going to do if they decide to grow roots?

Sagebrusheq said...


Maybe you've hit on a successful sales tactic. I admire your spirit but... owww.


Sandy M said...

Re: The not standing when you go to mount. Hav eyou tried the Mark Rashid "make 'em walk in small circles around you until they are bored and stop" method? Worked for me with a friend's Morgan (He's 14.3 - one of the few horses I can still mount without a mounting block).

I see YOUR VLC also suffers from ADD. Mine does even on home ground. Very disconcerting when you're trotting a nice circle, properly bent, etc., feeling pretty good about things, and suddenly you're trotting right, but he's looking left, falling over his shoulder and about to run into the side of the arena.

But yeah, your bad day is better than mine were last fall: Flying through the air and pancaking because someone dropped a bucket.. or just because he FELT like it...But for the past five months, only some guy with a nail gun has provoked any "I'm bailing" reactions from me - and at least that was my choice. The buck-offs last fall were NOT.

CutNJump said...

As you noticed, being in a hurry will doom you every time. They always fuck you in the drivethru. Why? Because they KNOW you are in a hurry (or just being LAZY! LOL!)and will just drive away, without making a big stink. If you weren't in such a hurry you would have parked and came inside...

Always pick your battles. If he isn't in such a good mood and you really don't have time for 'issues' maybe do groundwork instead. He can learn to 'work through the 'tude', and you will stay safely on the ground.

We take our cues from the horses. If they aren't ready for something and we want to push the issue, we usually end up a step or two behind in our progress.

We don't feel 110% every day. Hell some days we are doing good to be feeling 75%-80%. Why should they be any different? If you are feeling a bit 'off' before going into work, how does your day usually go? Mine goes to shit, from the moment I get in the truck and start driving. Every moron is attracted to my big blue truck. Once at work it doesn't go much better...

If the stirrups are putting you out of position, drop your feet out of them.

If he has little to no bend in the neck or just to the left in general, then it go back to long line work and fix it. Always easier to fix everything from the ground.

Other than my above ranting- WAY TO GO! At least you are riding. Me? Not so much anymore and probably not ANY more until after I pop! It's just not even comfortable to sit on the old broodies anymore, so I am grounded for the next several months. This DAMN SURE, AIN'T happening again!

CutNJump said...

Are you sure the 'bad day to ride' wasn't SUNDAY?

JR had a good ride on his yellow mare. I got some good pictures. I will send them. Then they took a break, changed horses and then everything went wrong. And boy did it!

Brian got on a big buckskin horse and they went to town, bucking and squalling and turning and turning and bucking and cussing, around and around and around. He got off an longed the horse before getting back on.

JR got on his namesake red mare. She wasn't in the mood for anything, expecially NOT being ridden or working cows. She was a BITCH to the N'th degree!

Every stop her head shot up, she sank her tail and froze. She let cows go by her and didn't seem to care. She did everything he didn't ask for and nothing he did ask for. She was suddenly deadsided and hardmouthed, all in one- ignoring everything. She got into trouble. Finally started to work like she should and knows how to, so he got a few nice turns and quit.

They got on two more horses-same thing. Neither one would work worth a damn. Got a few nice turns out of them and called it a day.

Some days just aren't meant for riding, I guess.

ellen said...

two words for you cutnjump -- FULL MOON. I gave up between them being loony and me being cranky it was a disaster looking for a place to happen.

ljbrooks said...

I don't know if I'm glad or not that I'm not the only one who gets impatient and tries to rush through a training session. I admit that there are times that things aren't going right and it is going from bad to worse very, very quickly. Not very often, and usually with my mustang who, I'll admit, I don't fully "get".

In the past, I do try to work through it. Now, on occasion, I KNOW I don't have another hour to go (kids to gymnastics, people coming over, whatever...)and I go back to something easy, make that successful and be DONE.

When you're on him and he just won't move, that's a bit different. I think grabbing the cheekpiece was brilliant, or at least helpful. The pull was the same, you just had more leverage and immediate contact. Whatever works, I say. Within the realm of moving forward, not digressing into curling into the fetal position in the tack room.

hope4more said...

My bay boy saved me the trouble of forcing a ride. I was really lazy feeling out of it but the weather here was finally nice and I trudged out the the barn. I walked up to his stall he looked at me pinned his ears, flared his nostrils and bulged his eyes. That would be his horsey equivalent of 'up yours'. I laughed out loud at him because I knew exactly how he felt so we did a little ground work and had a glamour day. He was so lazy that while brushing and feet cleaning he pretty much fell asleep. Probably a good decision not to ride as this horse looks like a weight lifter and if he so decides I will be taking a flying lesson to the dirt.

deanna may said...

Cutnjump --

Hahaha! That's from Lethal Weapon IV, right? Joe Pesci's like, "they fuck you, and they fuck you, and they fuck you with the drive thru!!!"

It was laugh-out-loud funny.

dp said...

Ha! Traditional Horsemanship. Love it!

fssunnysd said...

Sagebrusheq said... "My comments may not apply to any of the above instances but they remind me of something I see quite often with green horses."

I've noticed that very thing. In fact it seems to be a year-after-training type of deal. With 3-year-old QHs that have been started at two, the third year they test everything. It doesn't matter how quiet, deadhead broke they seemed to be at 2, they have new size and independence the next year. The Arabs I've been around are the same way in year four (if started at 3.) It's sort of like kids -- everything's just ducky until they hit their teen years, and then they HAVE to challenge and question and protest every little thing. Thankfully, the faze lasts less long with horses! LOL

Char said...

Hey Fugly,

I’m really proud of you for getting over your “NH” moment…lol!

I had an “NH” cool-aide moment a few months ago and tried doing EVERYTHING “natural” for 2-3 months…..and he was so grateful that he turned into a brat. Pinning his ears when anyone would go into his stall, biting, running into you, the works. He even stopped loading in the trailer. WTF??

So……I went back to treating him the way I always have with appropriate smacking here and there when needed and whadda ya know?? All of his problems vanished. Now he is back to his ear pricking, polite self again.

Also, congrats on bitting him for the first time…won’t be long now –

Look out Congress, here you come!!!

ellen said...

I find five to be an interesting year for the Morgans -- not only do they have the late adolescent challenge mentality (I already know EVERYTHING and YOU can't tell me anything), they are also growing, while expected to do work challenging enough that the growing makes a difference. Canter falls apart at this age often, as they adjust to the change of balance. It's also the Age of Saddle Fit Issues.

CutNJump said...

Deanna May- I know I heard it from a movie, not sure which one... Sometimes you have to relate things in a different way too. Something we can all understand.

And they DO fuck you in the drive thru. Which sucks because with twins due in November, as many of us know-ANYTHING with a drive thru is a Godsend!

I got to know the guy at the local liquor store really well this way- little one in the car, drive thru at the liquor store rarely had a line and they have COLD soda! What's not to love about that? (Added bonus- he was easy on the eyes!)

Ellen- The first horses out on Sunday were good and behaved well. I did manage to get a few good pictures! The rest got progressivly worse. Last time I took more photo's of the cows, then the guys & horses actually working the cows.

I'm not riding anymore. :-( It's not even comfortable being on the slow plodding along broodies. I'm done for a while. IT SUCKS TOO! That's why this WON'T be happening again. I'm done there too! LOL!

crazyhorse said...

"Dammit HO!!!" has always worked better than anything else...Market that, girls, and we could shove Parelli to the side at the bank!!!

CutNJump said...

Crazyhorse- let's not forget Whoa you sonofabitch! or knockitoffasshole! or how about Quitityouprick!

Sorry there aren't more but they come to mind more easily when you are 'in the moment'.

bigpainthorse said...

LOL, right, Fugly, some "bad" ride you had there. A little muleishness is not too horrific to overcome.

CNJ and CrazyHorse, I hear you! My personal favorite seems to be "cut it out, dickhead!" The chest smack works. My horse likes whispering as much as the next, but she's headstrong and sometimes I have to whop her with my open hand to get her attention. (I think it's the noise it makes, more than the impact of my tiny mutant hand on her 1200 pound body, that actually does the trick.)

mulelisa said...

My two personal favorites: "Knockitoffyousumbitch" and "Stopitdumbshit".

Mary said...

My hubby, the farrier, and myself get calls all the time to come help load people's horses. My hubby, whom I love to death but has the worst potty mouth, has wonderful training phrases that leave most owners shocked and grasping for words:

"Hey dumbass, I'm talking to you!" (He's actually refering to the owner, but he stays looking at the horse)

"Come here, stupid"

"Hey dumby, over here"


"Nice move, dipshit"

"I bet that felt good, fuckhead"

These are all phrases that come out of his head while loading a horse because they all do something to warrant it. But hey, between him and I, there hasn't been a horse we couldn't get to load themselves in 15 minutes or so and be HAPPY about it! :)

Masquerade said...

I got my second ride in today. Yea me. He was very good except he has the root problem as well. I had to have a helper to get him walking and then try and keep him going myself. He did have one little snit of head shaking and started to trot but I think it was more confusion on what I was asking of him. Tomorrow he can have a day off again and then on the weekend when I have a "horse savey" helper we'll try lunging with me in the saddle, I'd like to try a trot in a controlled environment.

Way to go to all who are getting up and going for it.

Fugly, at 13 rides if that is the worst I get I'll be immensly happy.

Jackie said...

Ha! That reminds me of when I was in a group lesson and I said out loud (and very loudly) without realizing it, "Don't you buck me, you bitch" to Starlette, my mare (and no, I did not pick the name, but she was boarded where they called her that for a year, so it stuck). This is a bit of a Bible-thumper area, and did I get the looks!

My ride tonite..the same as Tuesday...I think the muleishness is catching...she finally cantered, but it was low energy (and probably perfect WP) that she kept slipping into a trot...I finally broke out of the circle and we cantered across pastures (I have 3 connecting so I can rotate them) just to give her something different to think about. I was in the Western saddle, and tomorrow I'll switch to the English to see if she wakes up again! I have a dressage whip, and I'll bring that along, too - my legs are getting tired from pushing her!!! Sometimes I wish I had a horse with less resistance!

which_chick said...

I was *going* to go ride this week, and every time I got to the barn it was pouring rain. Didn't help that it was maybe fifty degrees out. Dumb weather. Friday and the (long!) weekend are supposed to be nice, though, so I've rescheduled horse activities to make the most of the good weather.

Also, a question for people breaking the unbroke horse: How do you know when the horse is ready to canter under saddle? What do you look for?

PH is still working on turning left and right and having soft, easy transitions between halt, walk, and trot. We're at ride less-than-ten, just introduced a bit two rides ago, and I'm not pressed about cantering at this point.

However, at lesson tonight, my instructor asked if I had cantered PH yet. I said no. She was like "You should ask for a canter pretty early on, before you've had her under saddle more than a month. Don't wait too long or you'll have a fight to get her to canter well under saddle." (I am skeptical. PH is 7/8 arab and gives every indication of being light, relaxed, and pleasant in a slightly forward sort of way. Braking, not giddyap, will always be her weaker skill.)

But, y'know, since instructor raised the issue, how do you know when your horse is ready for cantering? (In assessing canter-readiness for my own situation, I am taking into consideration my lack of an enclosed area and the fact that having better brakes first will really help my confidence at the canter.)

fernvalley01 said...

My personal favorite "Smarten up asshole"

telltale said...

UGH! I have had the rides where you want to just get on and get off and halfway through the ride you think to yourself why? why didn't I just wait until I was finished what was so important and then ride? Now I have to work through this and end on a good note. *My* Note. Good for you for pushing through though, I know exactly what you were feeling.

Princess Jess said...

>>which_chick said...

Also, a question for people breaking the unbroke horse: How do you know when the horse is ready to canter under saddle? What do you look for?<<

I make sure they are VERY VERY VERY solid in walk, trot, halts, and steering before I'll even consider it. usually you know when the horse is ready. This sounds hokey, but they'll tell you. If they feel good, and they feel like they want to take off at a nice canter, I'll put them on a 20-meter circle and let them go.


(Going from NH to "Traditional Horsemanship" and now taking it a step further into Classical Horsemanship...)

Have you considered long-reining the VLC? (And, as far as I'm concerned, there's a huge difference between long-reining and ground-driving) It's almost impossible for them to refuse to bend since the long reins give you SO much more control, AND if you have some "growing-roots issues" you can seriously get after them safely on the ground without fear of them bucking you off. :)

Jack tried being silly in the long-reins ONCE. Never tried it again. I find most horses respect the long-lines a LOT.

Plus, there's the added benefit of teaching them about the bit and what the bit means separate from riding them, which seems to work really well. I find that long-rein work translates extremely well to under-saddle work.

Caveat: they do take some finesse, as they can be really dangerous for the horse and/or the handler if you don't know what you're doing. If you DO know what you're doing, then they're an amazing training tool....

Twist said...

Ha, my mare used to do that back in her green days! Of course, I wasn't with a great trainer at the time and it eventually, after two years, degenerated into her bucking, rearing or kicking out in place - anything but going forward. Thank God for good trainers - she still has it in her but we come down hard and heavy on her for it and she's been wonderful. :D I shouldn't think you have much to worry about if you're only on ride 13 though - he's still just a baby, testing to see what he can get away with, and it seems like you're showing him right away that this is Not Okay.

BTW I came here as a lurker by way of FHOTD. I love training blogs, especially ones where you hear about a young horse coming along, so I figured this would be awesome lol.

ellen said...

I get a lot of mileage out of "QUIT". Everybody here knows what it means.

At his very first horse show, big doofus Ap was to be the first ride of a very frosty fall morning. His TB AND his Ap were out, so when he bumped into the mounting block (the SAME mounting block as we have at home) it fried his circuitry and he launched into the harrier jet crowhops -- before I had my right foot in the stirrup. My body works about as well on a frosty morning as his brain, so this was cause for some concern on my part.

About six jumps in I growled QUIT!! at him and ... he did. He still rode about like a nitro powered Slinky, but no more bucking.

brat_and_a_half said...

The only NH stuff I really do it a bit of join up. The horse is going to move out of my space when I walk into it confidantly, and it's going to follow me where I go, and it's going to be DAMN happy to do it, lol. We (the little WB filly and me) had an issue with this 2 days ago. As we were getting tacked up, it was nice weather. By the time we got to the ring it was raining fair well. You all know how rain and wind effect horses work ethic, they don't want to be in it either. So she wasn't great. Reverted back about 2 sessions, but we were even agin by the end of lunging. But we had some discussions about walking through the puddles. She follwed me in, but if I stopped she throught it was ok to walk right on past me out of the puddle. Not ok. It took a few backing through puddles, and a very wet me and the filly later, but she was good, not overly happy, but good haha.

Fugly, your grabbing his headstall reminded me of something haha. The appaloosa gelding (who's extremely herd bound) that I'm riding, likes to neigh. A lot. WHen he does (away from home, like at the show last weekend) he puts his head in the air and does a 'hoppy' hollow canter. He also sounds like a dinosaur. He did this all through hunter the first day, a few people asked me how I rode through it lol, I guess it looks worse than it is. But after most people were packing up for the day, I took him in a training ring and we had a dicussion. I was so sick of him throwing his head in the air. Neighing doesn't bug me, blowing me off does. So when he flipped his head in the air, I would slap him in the cheek (thats how high his head was. it was getting dangerous). It took 4 or 5 smacks, before he stopped doing it. We came to a comprimise, yes he can neigh, but he has to keep his head down, and it worked really well. All through basic seat the neck day he screamed his head off. But he never once flipped it in the air, in fact, he stayed round and soft on the bit. Lol silly horse.

I did ride #1 today!! She was good, she connected the voice commands from the lunge line quite well to under saddle. My coach was 2 steps away at all times, but she stopped when I said woah and sat back and put light pressure on the reins, and turned actually pretty well (delay, but hey, it's her first real ride!) Moving off isn't great yet, but when you think about it, its the one thing that you don't actually do from just plain halter handling on the ground (not training, just leading). It'll come though. She's gotten so good at standing at the mounting block lol, she comes up to it really well, and then when she's next to it, takes really slow steps until I say woah, and then she's parked. Even getting on today, my coach wasn't really HOLDING her, she just had a hand there incase, and she just stood. I'm very proud of her.

Kemo Sabe said...

Note to self: When trying for a shameless plug on one's own blog, don't make it comment number 123 of 124 after yesterday's blog :)

Thanks to Cathy's inspiration, I've started my own blog, detailing the trials and tribulations of owning a difficult QH filly and what we've both learnt. Anyone who's interested can find me at

It's off to a somehwta shaky start but I'm heading over there now to make it slightly more interesting :)

Keep up the great work Fugs :D

SOSHorses said...

Fugs, I sent you an email yesterday about several horses in Western Ky. I really need help. I can and am taking one of them but I can't save them all. The lady is ready for help, and we can save these young lives. Most of them are less than 6. All TWH's

I also need some advice on rehabing (weight) Sam is about a 2 on the body index scale.

Please help

wolfandterriers said...

Fugly, my cannibal mare has had bit moments. I simply bought a jar of molasses and dunked my bit in it and allowed her to lick it off. She's had to wear it for a long time under her "work" equipment (lunge cavesson, bareback pad, and surcingle--but she got to wear a leather halter instead of the cavesson as she has a plate in her head now). Maybe try bitting alone in stall (w/molasses and ~5 minutes at a time--early in the morning before turnout is what I've done for my really hot ones) or during lunge work instead of under saddle. I let my mare smell the molasses jar before I dunk the bit and she starts licking her lips! It's quite funny--her tummy so rules her little brain. Good luck!

wolfandterriers said...

Another thought...I always make a training log on a blank piece of printer paper. It's easy to jot down what you were doing, what you were TRYING to accomplish, and what the horse was comfortable with, trying hard to do, and not understanding. Blogging is nice, but it's not the same as "2 trot/halt on voice and rein aid each direction on lunge w/halter; v.g. for both; v. attentive; got cookie for square halt" kind of thing. I keep a big 3 ring notebook for each pony that I've worked and it's very easy to see where you're getting off track if you keep those kinds of records. Maybe I'm too much of a visual learner!

Anne said...

I am still giggling at the "traditional methods". Sometimes they just work best.

This blog has been the best vicarious trip down memory lane for me. I am celebrating my youngest gelding's 7th birthday this weekend, and there were times when he was 4 and 5 I really wanted to sell him to the gypsies for dork-ish behavior. The I'm-Not-Budging ploy was one of his favorites.

scaequestrian said...

Some of my favorite training phrases...

"WHAT is your major malfunction?!"


"All right, lets put those two braincells together now"

"PRETEND like you have some sense!"




"They're COWS! STAND UP and be still so I can get back on!" (Crazy bastard saw the cows and SAT DOWN to avoid going past them)

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

>>Caveat: they do take some finesse, as they can be really dangerous for the horse and/or the handler if you don't know what you're doing. If you DO know what you're doing, then they're an amazing training tool....<<

So you'll be coming to visit and doing that with him, right? :-)

I freely admit that I know how to basically ground drive, but advanced long lining is not something I've been exposed to up to this point.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

I'd hate to think if someone taped us! I have those things that I say too.

"It's a goat, it's not gonna bite your ass."

"Horses all over the world wish they lived as well as you, now get your furry ass on the wall." (I believe this is analogous to the "starving children" line parents use on their children)

"We are RIDING, not conducting a poop inspection" (Said while pulling VLC's nose up from ground)

"NO TALKING" said while glaring at VLC who I know would really like to whinny at a mare.

CutNJump said...

Which chick- When the horse is ready to canter, just push them a little stronger and stronger at the trot. They may break into a canter for a few strides and when they do go heavy on the praise.

You may only get a few strides before they go back to their faster than hell trot, but push again and get a few more strides, then let them come back down. They are still trying to balance you, your tack and themselves.

When they are ready they will do it. If not they will let you know and usually in no uncertain terms.

CutNJump said...

Mary when we are called to come load a horse, most people say such things because hubby walks up says "Get your ass in the trailer" and they hop in with no fuss.

Pissed off more than one owner that way!

Best one was a big buckskin horse coming over for training. Owners called "We are loading him and will be there shortly." Called an hour and a half later- "We can't get him in..."

We drive over hubby takes the lead rope says "Get in the damn trailer." Thump, thump, thump, thump- hooves on trailer floor.

Get to the house- wife says when you open the door he will come flying out. So hubby undoes butt chain, opens door, waits, waits, waits...

Reaches up pulls tail and says, "Get out of the damn trailer." Horse looks back over shoulder and divider. Hubby, "Yes I mean now." Horse backs out of trailer calmly, one step at a time, no rush...

Only had one who was supposed to be a hard load- she ended up standing in the trailer for about 2 hours because they couldn't get her out! She wouldn't back out, wouldn't turn around in the slant and walk out.

Finally hubby dropped the rope and yelled at her, "Would you get your ass out of the damn trailer?!?!" she looked at him, blinked, dropped her head and walked out on her own.

CutNJump said...

Fugly- email me. Ground driving/long lines isn't horribly difficult. Or give me a call- you have the number! Duh!

which_chick said...

Today went well after a kind of weird, balky start. I saddled up PH and went for the planned ride (on goal posting) up over the hill and down into the hollow and up again to the buckwheat field and then down the zig-zag to the hollow and home again via the way we came in.

PH would NOT, repeat NOT, go forward over the driveway. I do not know what her major malfunction was but she stood and stared at *something* and I could not get her to move with an encouraging seat, reasonably firm leg, or a hand-swat on her butt. I got mad. Very mad. I got off. I yelled (no hitting) at her. She backed up into the pipe gate of the field. I quit with the yelling and *led* her past where her issue was. *sigh* I am a failure. Real trainers do not have to get off the horse and lead her past problem obstacles that happen within ten steps of getting on.

Past whatever it was that she was staring at, I got back on. (This took a fair amount of bravery.) PH was slightly nervous, but not unreal. Mostly I think her neves were due to me yelling at her. We proceeded across the hard road and up the hill at a reasonable walk. She offered to trot a couple of times but came right back to the walk for me.

We went on the planned ride despite her weird behavior at the outset. The ride had some challenges for us because this was just me and PH, no older, wiser horse there to offer a model. Also Lookie (the border collie) slunk along behind us, causing PH to give Lookie the hairy eyeball every now and again. PH is not a huge fan of the border collie breed. For her part, Lookie was clearly of the opinion that I just had to say the WORD, just say the word, gov, and she'd have that bad, out-of-field horse rounded up and headed *home*. Sometimes Lookie is more "help" than I really want.

On the trail, there was a big sloppy mud puddle (covered the whole road, probably six inches deep with clay underneath) so we went around that (off the road and into the woods). There was a log across the road that PH did not want to walk over, but she walked over it anyway. And there was a road blockage (stumps and big rocks) meant to cut down on ATV traffic so we went through the woods (no trail) around that, too. All three of those (puddle, log, road block) were fights on not-going or not-going-off-road that I won. Go me. :)

I also trotted two pretty big sections of the ride (more than a hundred yards each) during which PH picked up and held a nice medium trot without speeding up or getting stronger. Downward transitions got a lot better during this ride, too, and we practiced halting on the trail and standing for a little while. PH whinnied for friends twice but didn't fret overly.

I rode her home, no issues at all, and went to the de-tacking area, turned her around and rode back out the driveway past whatever the scary thing had been when we'd started (she didn't flinch or eyeball anything) and did a nice turn and came back to be done for real. For a first by-herself outing, I think she did pretty well. Walk, trot, steer, and halt are all on-line and working fairly well. All in all, it was a good outing. I'm glad I persevered despite the balky outset.

Princess Jess said...

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

>>So you'll be coming to visit and doing that with him, right? :-)<<

Sure. Make sure he's REALLY good at longeing first! And not afraid of ropes dangling all over his body... that's helpful, too! LOL. :)

So... Wintec saddle with adjustable gullets... check. Long-lines and surcingle.... check. I'll bring up my much loved old Crosby, too, because I have yet to find a horse it wont fit (and it's like a personal mission with me now).... video camera... check.

Oh, and a note to anyone considering long-reining an OTSTB: Be VERY in-shape and be able to run VERY fast for keeping up with them in the trot work! LOL. I was literally sprinting to keep up with Biff, and I'd have to stop him halfway around the arena because he'd get too far away from me and I'd lose control (and my arena is NOT that big).... damn racing Standardbreds, anyway..... Ironically, I was trying to use the long-lines to teach him a little collection....

4Horses&Holding said...

which_chick said..."I quit with the yelling and *led* her past where her issue was. *sigh* I am a failure. Real trainers do not have to get off the horse and lead her past problem obstacles that happen within ten steps of getting on."


I have three "perfect" first lines for my response:

Why? Why don't they?

Who says?

The smarter ones do!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with leading a horse past something. As long as it doesn't become a habit, on a green horse it's a good low-stress way to teach them to walk by scary / questionable objects.
The horse is not thinking "Oh, for the rest of my life, I will make my rider dismount or I will not move."

Several times, I got off and led my Arabian - he ended up being a terrific trail horse.

Look at it this way, you are teaching the horse to stand for mounting / dismounting on the trail. :)

Sagebrusheq said...

Ah yes, Crosby has some oldies but goodies. I will keep rebuilding my Prix de Nations until knee rolls go the way of the polyester. (The worst offenders though are the new dressage saddles. Jousting anyone?)

Princess Jess said...

That's exactly what I have- a Prix de Nations. LOVE it. I will NEVER sell that saddle! I think I want to be buried with it..... I ride everything in that saddle.

Yeah, what is the deal with the knee blocks on Dressage saddles now, anyway? They drive me insane!

QueenSkankarella said...

So true about being in a rush. At the beginning of this month I had my first lesson with my new instructor.

Me: "She's really green, but I totally have the best five year old in the whole world. She can be a bit of a monkey, but no bucking or anything! I love my pony because she's so awesome!"

Five minutes later, I'm lying in the middle of the arena while my horse is having a big ol' bucking party at the other end.

Looking back, completely my fault. We were at a new stable in a completely new area, I was in a rush, I hadn't ridden her in two days... the list goes on. Good learning experience, though a painful one.