Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Rolling the dice...

You all know what I'm talking about. You know when the horse won't do what you want, or is having a rebellious moment, and you have that little internal conversation? I was doing that last night with Drama, the POA pony I'm working for friends of mine. She is a lovely little pony, but the last two rides, she's developed this new behavior where she stops short and balks. This wouldn't faze me so much, but she has an ongoing behavior where she rears in the crossties. The crosstie-rearing has been improving, and she has never reared under saddle, but when you know you have a rearer on your hands, and they suddenly stop and suck back and start going backwards and all the weight goes to the back end, it does give you that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. And so my gutsy side and my chickenshit side were back to doing battle.

Gutsy Side: She's giving you Appytude. You need to whale her one and let her know that's not okay.

Chicken Side: Um, but what if she goes ballistic? I've never had to "get into" this pony before.

Gutsy Side: She's just gonna get worse if you don't make the point now that you're in charge. And she's 13.1. How far are you gonna fall?

Chicken Side: She could go right up and over and land on me, I bet a 13.1 pony weighs a LOT when it lands on you...who'd make the point then? I think I will just cluck to her and tap her with my heels.

Gutsy Side: Oh yeah. That'll scare her. Oh noooooooo I will never balk again, I might get clucked at.

Well, the clucking and tapping didn't work so I cautiously escalated. Nothing bad happened and I finally realized that booting the pony while growling really loud caused the pony to go forward every time. And after 2 or 3 boot/growl combos, the pony actually gave up and rode fine.

Gutsy Side: Bwahahaha, I told you so, you're such a dumb shit!

*sigh* That's always the hard part though. Logically, you know that 99 times out of 100, the horse is gonna give up and do what you want...but there's that 1 time that lands people in the emergency room or worse every day. The older you get, the harder it is to believe that you're going to continue gambling and winning.

I was going through this with a friend the other day, who is paying waywayway too much money for a trainer to do things she could perfectly well do herself, if only she could get over the mental block so many of us are fighting at this age.

Me: Has Horsey ever bucked anybody off?
Friend: No.
Me: Has Horsey ever reared and dumped anybody off?
Friend: No.
Me: Has Horsey ever spooked out from under anybody?
Friend: No.
Me: Then he's probably not going to develop any of that specially for you. I think you should ride him.

Of course, High Priced Trainer has told her she can't ride her own horse *eye roll*

Ultimately, we have to remember that we gamble every time we get out of bed. Sure, people get hurt or killed riding, but they also slip in the shower, get nailed by a drunk driver on the way to work, or find out they have terminal cancer after living the health-nut, organic only, exercise-daily life for forty years. We have all chosen to ride. Everybody reading this blog loves horses and wants to enjoy them. Sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith and decide that for the 10 seconds required, you're going to ride confidently...you're going to do what needs to be done. If you can convince yourself, you're going to have a lot better time convincing the horse!

(And by the way, this is head shaking pony, and before someone brings up that head shaking pony may be seriously out of alignment, we discovered the head shaking stops almost completely when we braid pony's forelock for riding! So apparently pony is suffering from Fluffy Forelock Syndrome which is not a condition requiring veterinary or chiropractic intervention, but is merely cured with a rubber band...LOL! I am told this is a comon Welsh pony quirk and this pony is allegedly part Welsh...)

As to the rest of my herd, Casper, the APHA filly from Cowgirl Spirit, had a pretty extreme wolf tooth removal so I'm taking it easy on her - we're slowly starting back ground driving and I rode her around lightly yesterday. She is quiet but lazy and very resistant to leg so I'm trying to put together leg + voice cue so that it makes sense for her. Right now if you just put leg on her, you get pinned ears and cowkicking, but she is starting to figure out that leg + cluck means trot and don't be pissy about it. She is very forward on the longe, I just don't think she understands the leg squeezing thing yet. She's dead quiet at the walk, has a perfect "ho," and I could take her on a trail ride tomorrow but now we need to develop those other gaits.

The VLC continues to be wonderful. He's my easy horse to ride, which makes me laugh daily. Who would think that my 3 year old, 16.2 stallion, who's been under saddle for five months, would be the easiest horse I ride? He is, though. He just never does anything bad. The only thing I have to remember on him is to steer because he doesn't realize how big he is and will go too close to the walls if I don't direct him. I set up new cross ties and now he gets cross tied right next to mares and he ignores them. He rides in the arena with others, no problem. He is almost 100% fine about his feet now - the back left, he will still try to pull away a time or two but he gives up pretty quick. I bought him a brand new rain sheet and even though I'm pretty sure he hasn't been blanketed at all in the past, he's fine with it and has made no effort to destroy it (GOOD COLT! Some of them are so hard on blankets.) He's just such a sweet, cooperative horse about everything.

I also got a great report about his mini-me -- Bullwinkle is leading, "longes" at a walk (goes in the direction you point, what a smart boy!) and is generally just learning everything about life very quickly. Of course he's out of the cute baby stage and now looks ridiculous, much like my Big Gold Yearling. I tried to get some good pictures of the BGY the other day...oh forget it. I'll try again in a year, ha ha!

I loved hearing everybody's updates - keep it up! It's really good to hear from those of you who finally found a trainer that works for you and your horse. The good ones are out there - I swear, trainer shopping is like buying clothes at Ross, you gotta go through all of the fuschia print hot pants and sweatshirts with teddy bears to find that little black designer dress in your size hiding amidst all the crap!


Pipkin said...

I totally hear you about the trainers being like Ross, you not only have to find quality, you have to find quality that fits YOU. That's the hard part. I have a friend whose trainer is good, does some NH, gets results, is good with the horses, has my friend's 3 yar old showing and everything, but I just *do not* like her. I don't know why, but I don't want her riding my horse.
My trainer, the military trained hard-ass, no-nonsense eventer, I'm perfectly happy with him and I trust (and have seen results) that Pip is getting trained. He's not touchy-feely, but Pip's an appy, and he seems to respect that he can't get away with anything, ever. But he's treated fair, and he responds to that. I guess I do too!

Miss A said...

Speaking of balky ponies, I have a question on mine. Is it okay to ask here? I have an identical sized POA who occasionally will decide he doesn't want to move forward (i.e. on a trail ride, "that path looks scary and I notice it's the opposite direction of the barn..") and he'll balk. We then have a "conversation" that involves lots of leq squeezing (I also don't like to push it too hard with booting him because he throws temper tantrums if you reinforce too hard). Then he backs up. Doesn't matter where we are, he'll just start backing. He doesn't do it too often and usually gives up pretty fast, but I would like to have a solid method to deal with the behavior. I've heard numerous opinions on handling this--from circling until he takes a step forward willingly to just letting him back up until he gets tired. Anyone have any advice?

Pipkin said...

Miss A, I had that problem with Pip. I used a dressage whip, and when he didn't do what I asked the first time, I would start tapping him with the whip. I and I do mean tapping, not hard, just tapping. Right along his flank, non-stop, until he went forward. I let him figure out what I wanted, and made it uncomfortable (not painful, just uncomfortable) to do anything else. He could back up, go sideways, stand still, cowkick, didn't matter. I kept tapping. The first time it took (I swear) 5 minutes for him to go forward. I thought my arm was going to drop off. The second time it took 2 minutes, the third time he went when I squeezed. He made the decision to stop the tapping, and once he realized that he could decide to be tapped til the end of time or go forward, he went forward.
Now I admit this may not be for every horse, but it's pressure like everything else, I didn't want to have to kick him hard every time to go, so I escalated the aids enough that he realized if he didn't go at the squeeze, something much more annoying would happen.

As Cathy said in her post, 9 times out of 10, the horse is going to give in.

Pipkin said...

I would practice this in the arena first, because the first time Pip went after being tapped, he WENT about 500 miles an hour. And I couldn't exactly stop him immediately and expect him to get the lesson. Just hold on to the mane, in case he does more than step forward.

Miss A said...

Thanks pipkin! I'll give that a shot. In the arena first. :)

annabelle said...

Miss A, pipkin gave you awesome advice, but I'd just like to add a different method that worked for me with my lazy but crazy Quarab mare.

When she started backing, I said, "okay, you wanna back up? Fine" and MADE her back up until she was sick of backing up, and then a few more steps for good measure. She figured out pretty quickly that it's a lot easier to walk forward than to run backwards. And *bonus* she developed a perfect backup.

Serendipity said...

My issue that I can't seem to fix- getting the redhead to cross a creek.

He walks through puddles, floods in his pasture, and dry beds with no problem at all. Ask him to cross a stream and it turns into a big fight. The last time, after growling and kicking to make him go forward, he reared for the first time ever. I shoved him down and fought him until he went and put his two feet in the mud at the edge, then I ended our ride because I was tired and we had that small victory.

A more experienced rider trail rode him when he was younger and she did get him to walk across, at which point he began to play in the water. I'm pretty sure he's doing it just to be a stubborn shit, not because he's afraid. He won't even follow other horses across, just plants his feet and gets a sulky look. I just wish I could be confident about going for a nice trail ride and not worry that we'll have to turn around once we get to a crossing.

Ellie said...

Hi! I've really enjoyed reading your blogs and I was hoping you would add my new blog to you links. It is about my new horse and my experiences as a rider with Cerebral Palsy. Ellie and Werther

The Barn Bitch said...

I'm so glad you write about the fear issues. I'm a 43 year old who's had horses for over 15 years (not counting the pony I had as a child that I rode thru countless "episodes").

When I bought my first horse as an adult, I picked an unbroke, unruly, bitchy 3 year old. My confidence was SHATTERED.

Fast forward to my next horse...a pushbutton, quiet, calm, "just sit up there and shut up" mare that gave me back every ounce of confidence I lost twofold. I even bought her daughter as a 10 month old, although I didn't ride her until she was 7 and I considered her "dead broke", LOL! We showed all of 2003 and we kicked ass. Best year ever!

Fast forward to today...My babysitter horse passed away at 27. The daughter and I continue to work well together, although she is much more of a challenge to ride. She's snorty, spooky and requires every minute of my attention. Not a mean bone in her body, but those spooks of hers can be quite unsettling! Everything had been going great until she decided to crowhop with me out of the blue one day. We figured she was having saddle fitting issues (due to her growing obesity problem) and I didn't get back on her. Well, now I have a saddle that fits....and I'm all ready to get on.....and I'm shitting my pants. What if she crowhops again??!! What if she REALLY tries to kill me this time??!! What do I do?? I'm here all aloooooone!! Can you hear me crying?

Your blog comes at a perfect time. I know if I can sit up there for 10 minutes and have a good ride, I'll be over this. You as so right. It's just a matter of saying "OK, let's get her done!"

Karen V said...

Miss A - Balky pony/horse/donkey/whatever - Out on the trail, there are monsters hiding EVERYWHERE, and they eat horses! No kidding! Don'tbelieve me? Ask my appy!

Solution - Since I'm out for a leisurely ride anyway, I let her stand there as long as it takes for her to figure it out. I make her face the monster, but I sit quiet and still while she looks. She will only balk when she's alone, unless the buddy horse I'm with has identified a monster also.

Sunday I went to a barrel race and along side the warm up area there was a semi hitch, like you'd pull the little pup trailer with. Between the hitch and fence, there was a HUGE shrub/weed. Angel could NOT figure out what it was, therefore, it was monster and ate horses. I let he drift a little to one side, where she could see it more clearly. She dropped her head, looked around to see if any of the other horses were watching and snickering behind their hooves, and walk away swishing her tail. The next time past, she snugged up on the fence to prove how brave she was.

My point - sorry so long winded - let your pony stand and look. If it seems to be taking a really long time, get off and lead up to it. This usually get them "over it". (Unless it's a cow. Cows eat appaloosas. Don't know about other breeds, so beware!)

Miss A said...

annabelle...thanks, I will try that too!

karen v...oh yes, the pony eating monsters! we know all about those :) Unfortunately his balking/backing is usually just about him deciding we're done and it's time to go back to the barn rather than being spooky. He's actually pretty steady and great about going out alone. But he has a time limit and knows exactly when he thinks it's time to go get his banana for his efforts. In his case I'm hoping the annoying him into moving forward will work!

equus said...

ha ha, fugs, we are on the same page again! i had posted an update on the previous subject re: how our projects were doing. i said how thrilled i was that my 11 yr old half-arab upgrade was doing great. well, then he started the same balking, light in the front-end behavior. my one rider (thank you, god, i have two young girls riding him!)is a bit intimidated by dusty and had a hard time keeping him going forward, whereas my 16 year old rider just uses her legs and growls and he responds fairly well. i am very concerned that this behavior is the start of a rearing problem. hopefully, it is just what john lyons describes as the 'very bad' behavior section of all training, which will be followed by 'very good, trained' behavior.

the real downside is, though, that i am now too intimidated to climb on him. man, if it was only 10 years ago, i would have no problem with this, but now at 57 i have lost my nerve. the bod just doesn't respond like it used to. crap.

quietann said...

I had an oh-shit moment on Feronia yesterday. Now this horse *has* reared in the past, though the worst she's done with me is pick up those two front feet, and either driving her forward or turning her in a tiny circle until she gets over herself always gets her out of it. The two times she went straight up were with a fearless, foolhardy teenager who was really overfacing her, and my poor mare was scared half to death. It takes a *lot* to get her to that point and I'd rather lose the battle and go a little easier on her than put her, or me, through that. (And said teenager is not allowed to ride her anymore.)

All that said, she has not even picked up those front feet in months, thanks to being ridden by mature, capable riders who are not asking too much from that. But she will back up when she's upset, and that can be a prelude to rearing, so...

I'm not doing much with her besides cooling her out on a loose rein at the walk after her training rides, though that involves some basic schooling figures, leg yielding etc. At the end of every ride, she gets a "carrot stretch" with a baby carrot in each direction before I dismount. Did I say that this mare will do almost anything for food? (Had said fearless foolhardy teen been thinking, she would have packed some treats, and maresy probably would have gone past the Big Scary Things with just a little bit of Drama.)

So yesterday, on her first carrot stretch, she dropped the carrot and lost track of it. Oh my, this could lead to Drama. She pinned her ears and started backing up while I fumbled for another carrot. In the back of my mind, I was aware that she might rear, but I kept myself leaned forward over her neck and she stood still as soon as I had the carrot out. And after that she was *perfect*.

I've had a big breakthrough with her in the past week or so. I am just plain not scared of her anymore. It may sound crazy, but I've done some clicker training with her, because she can be pushy, and that helped her develop more respect for me. And, in the totally "woo-woo" category, I've started loving on her a lot more -- hugging her neck, telling her how wonderful she is, kissing her etc. I *swear* it's making a difference. And mentally, I've realized that back when I first had her and I was really questioning my judgment, the times she spooked or got really wound up, I rode through it, she did not hurt me (she does NOT try to throw her rider, ever.), and really, I'm good enough for her.

But yeah, at some point she is going to throw something bizarre at me, and I'll have to throw away my middle aged "be careful!" attitude and just remember that 99% of the time, the horse does listen when one's insistent enough.

BTW... for anyone loving photos, here's a good one of us from September 12: http://annsrats.com/horses/feronia/davidphoto.jpg

VT Horse Lady said...

We have a lovely, quirky, welsh pony who has tried every trick in the book to get out of working. I know for a fact she has never been abused, except for once, by a trainer we had (briefly) at a show. That abuse was cinching her up too fast before a class and booting her in the ribs when she set back. Its taken use 3 YEARS to get her good 99% of the time, but last weekend, we had like 10 mins between an inhand class and the next riding class to tack her up and sure enough, she set back and went up. Calmed her down and got the very unflappable 13 tr old up and they took 1st and 2nd over cross rails at their 1st show and there were 4 others in the class WITH a trainer there. We were shocked to say the least as both the kiddo and the pony learned jumping all on their own. Here's a link http://www.flickr.com/photos/12078440@N08/?saved=1

I grew up with ponies and they all are quirky, I think its because they are very smart and know how to get out of work lol. My daughter has basically grown up with this pony and has done all the riding on her as she was green broke to drive when we bought her from the breeder 5 yrs ago. She still tries to 'get away' with things on a regular basis.

Promise said...

My concern with backing up until she's sick of it, stems from an experience with my mare, where my trainer made her back up WAY too much, and pissed her off. My mare forgot I was on her (which, my trainer should have been smart enough to tell me to get off her while using this particular backing up punishment, but thats another matter) -- and reared to get away from the backing up. She flipped over. I was lucky enough that she somehow didn't land on me.

amarygma said...

My Dante balks and backs, but it's when we're too far from friends, not from anything scary in particular.

I tried using a crop- but someone had beat him before (once) so that's not a winning solution. Squeezing is a nothing to him when he wants it to be a nothing. Kicking too, just makes him back faster. he then turns his head around to look at me all white eyed with this OMG NO! expression.

So what do you do with a balky horse who HAS flipped over on someone before, even though they deserved it (from what I've heard)?


Dangerbunny said...

wow I really resonate with your post today, I have ridden some crazy horses but lately when I am riding my little arab and she stops and bites my boot cause she is pissed I am on her, internally I go ahh I am going to die. It really has taken conscious effort to relax and get over it.

I used to feel really safe on Joy, she is four and I have been on her maybe a dozen times but two months ago I think her back hurt or something because I was riding her and she started throwing a temper tantrum and jumping around (like all four feet off the ground at once) and spinning, So I got off and worked her and got back on and she was ok, but ever since then I have been nervous on her, She is very sensitive and stands great for mounting up but then she would plant her feet and refuses to move, swish her tail, bite my shoe or tense up like she was going to jump around whenever she was asked to move, I ended up yelling at her every time she fussed and praising her lavishly whenever she moved forward, and so far it is working, I rode her yesterday and she was great.

LJS82 said...

First time to comment here. I'm still getting use to the way things go with these blogs.

I just wanted to say that it's funny how subjects come up just when you need them. I'm currently working on getting my 6yo SSH under saddle. I'm not that experienced of a rider, I mean, I'm 47 but only been riding for 4 years and only had scant lessons. Most I'm learning on my own. So, anyway, I can identify with your message and really boosted me to know others out there have the same fears, talk themselves through things, and decide it's ok to feel this way. Loved the conversation with yourself! I do that all the time!

barngal said...

I agree with the abundance of trainers and having to shop for the right one but you also have to have the funds. Most people I talk to have a "trainer". Sorry to say, I'm not impressed with lots of the teaching so my searching will continue. I enjoyed my lessons but even my non horsey DH saw that BCG just wasn't getting much out of it and even he can tell me to get my hands up or heels down so we're taking a break.

BCG has been taking an attitude when told to do something he doesn't feel like doing. I have to be one step ahead of him and for example, be prepared for a buck if the crop touches him or if I kick he may stop. Most of the time he is great but I can't let my guard down while riding. After quite a while of being a deadhead I now have a youngster that may be shocked that a cat is standing closeby and leap the other way. He took an attitude during a lesson when he couldn't follow a pony he really liked, and when straight up with no warning! Not a happy camper here! He is now doing that while lunging. Girthy, coldback, sore, who knows. I wish I had a horsey friend to hang out with like I used to and just watch but now that I'm older, the kids shun me like I shouldn't be riding or I have to fork out tons of money for help. The video camera has been great to have.

autumnblaze said...

Dangerbunny - the arab I ride bites my boot too(when pissy about real work in the ring and knows I do not have the crop... now he knows I can just smack his arse too & rarely does it). Cracks me up though.

He balls up like he thinks he might buck... he did this the other day on the trail after we saw a horse eating groundhog. Well, I saw it I think he just HEARD it crashinto the woods, which made it worse. Once I stopped him from heading off in a hurry, he first backs up , and he balled up under me like 'HEY! We need to leave and I can buck you off and go!' I let him know what a crappy idea that was, instead of throwing up a little in my mouth like usual. I was proud of me. We fought a little while about only heading off at a walk and staying at that speed. I won again. I can't believe I might be growing some guts... even if it's really because I know he has no intention of actually hurting me.:)

Pipkin said...

marygma, I hear you with the beating, but I don't hit hard, I just tap. LIke when you're on the phone and someone wantsyour attention to they just tap your arm. For 5 minutes. In the same spot. It doesn't hurt, so horses don't get afraid, it's like the fly that keeps landing on the withers, it's annoying, not painful.
And I was very surprised at how quickly he learned this. You can use it on the ground as well, if you ask him to move over and he won't, you can tap with the whip until he learns to move away from it. That might give you a better idea of how he will react to it.

SammieRockes said...

I have Finally found BBGs calling, I would love to do it, but I can't, but the other day I found out that with proper training, he would be a GREAT cutter, we were just playing around in the field, trying to herd cloud away from everyone, and it was the MOST rebel has ever listened to me before. He actually stopped VERY promptly when asked, and from a lope, he went in either direction that was asked, and listen ed perfectly. Yesterday was almost a dream day, until he threw a minor hissy fit before leaving the field and Reared. He got a good whack for that one.

badges blues N jazz said...

OOOO Cathy. I had a mare that would balk and suck back. She WAS starting to go up when I tried to push her forward. My "cure" that we figured out together was to turn her and make her go in tight circles, then walk her out straight, if she started to balk, then she would go right back into the circle etc. Whether that was right or wrong, I dunno, but it worked! Just wanted to share...

badges blues N jazz said...

Barnbitch: I just want to sympathize with you for a moment. I TOTALLY get it. My filly bucked (not crowhopped) me off when she was 2. I had so much fear of her for the longest time. I decided one day " to hell with it!" put a helmut on and conquered my fear. That being said, it wasnt done in one ride, it took about a week of consistant riding. Also, once I was overly confidant of her, she decided to put my ego back in check, and threw me. Now, I know that when she has been left for a week, that it is HEALTHY for me to have a wee bit of fear. lol. anyway, long story, but just wanted you to know, once you put your mind to it, try and ride at least every second day, and the confidance will grow.

NYCowgirl said...

I have really learned to listen to my Gut on things while riding. While breaking out my gelding, he used to balk at my leg and suck back hardcore. After being decked after his best imitation of a rodeo bronc, I have really gotten in touch with the side of me that says both he and I have checked out and call on my trainer for help. He is a well-behaved five year old now, but, back in his younger, greener days, he could be a scary bastard. I swallowed my pride and realized that I am no longer 20 and willing to ride anything with four legs and a pulse. Humbling, yes, but important when I realize I am going nowhere fast and am at risk of getting hurt.

annabelle said...

Promise, you're absolutely right that overusing backing up as a punishment can be dangerous. However, in my experience, used correctly, it's a great tool. I've only ever used it as a punishment for not moving forward, and since (again, in my experience) it's fixed the problem quite quickly, I haven't had the opportunity to overuse it.

Of course, all horses are different and miss a knows her horse better than any of us do, so any of our suggestions should be taken with a grain of salt. :)

mugwump said...

I love the bit about the head shaking pony. My yellow mare twitches and kicks to the point of making you think she's colicky....when she feels sweat trickling down her flanks.

MP said...

Alright, tell me your secret. How do you get the VLC to ignore the mares? I have a 7 month old stud colt that is trying to mount everything in the pasture!

fanoffugly said...

Great post, my update with BBH (Baby Black Horse) is that I did chicken out and send him to a breaker who was just brilliant.(babyblackhorse.blogspot.com). Trouble is I just read a page of horseproblems.com.au on the "day in the life" and saw the the result of that 1 in 10 time it does not go so well. The girl in question is a brilliant rider. So my chickenshit side is winning. I might get back on the older boys first. I know it is just a matter of doing it, but hell sometimes the innervoice won't shut up.Augh!

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

>>Alright, tell me your secret. How do you get the VLC to ignore the mares? I have a 7 month old stud colt that is trying to mount everything in the pasture!<<

I'd put him out with a couple mean old pregnant broodmares and let him get nailed and put in his place. The VLC grew up in a herd of mares and babies and some of those mares were very alpha/aggressive - I definitely credit that for a lot of his good manners around mares.

He has NEVER been isolated. To this day, he has a gelding he goes out with daily. I really think it's extremely important not to isolate stallions and keep them away from other horses (and then expect them to deal with 30 other horses in a show ring!) If he earns his right to breed in the future, I'd like to have 2 or 3 really nice big Thoroughbred mares that he can be pastured with...I think that's the ideal situation for a stallion.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

Oh, and tonight the pony did not balk. Tonight was Spook-and-Prop night. Awesome. LOL.

AbbyAugustArabian said...

I hear you about the whole "Horse back riding is a risk" thing. I event at Beginner Novice. I take twice weekly lessons. There is one thing that people have to remember is that your trainer can only take you so far. You have to go into the arena by yourself. Your trainer isn't going to be there to bail you out of every crappy jump or hung leg.

I have also figured out that Youtube is my worst enemy. I can have a fantastic lesson, and have tons of confidence. Then I go home and get on the computer and watch the videos of the rotational falls and the nasty pile drive falls that some of the eventers take and I am all like "Why the hell do I do this again?" I go to the barn the next day and have a really good ride and it is like "Oh yeah, thats why."

We just allow ourselves to get into our own heads too much. My trainer always tells me to stop thinking about it and just do it.

Jackie said...

Hi, all...need some advice.

I have always loved the idea of taking on retired horses...well, to be brief, I have the opportunity to board not one, but two. Both are geldings, in their teens, ex-jumpers (and lame with arthritis right now, and the lameness may go away with barefoot and pasture for a year) and the owner is concerned they would fight over my mare. I'm pretty sure that would not happen, but I've learned that what I did as a kid with horses (just threw them together) was not always the best. I told her I'd check online with people whose opinions I can think about.

Thanks!! I really wanted to take on a rescue, but this is a rescue of sorts...these poor old warhorses need a place to just unwind and get to be horses. The added fact of getting paid to cover their expenses makes it really appealing in this economy!!

Crazy3dayer said...

I had to add my bi-polar conversation with y'all.

Psychotic side: I'm soooooo going to die.

Rational side: Look Debbie JUST MENTIONED you could ride her mare

Psychotic side: Are you effing kidding me???? She's a MONSTER did you see her hooves they are the size of dinner plates. And how the hell am I supposed to get on the mare she's like 18h!!!

Rational Side: Look dumbass, Deb said she's 16.1 1/2h and YOU KNOW Deb can stick a horse. She's put baby beginners on her..she's a packer

Psychotic side: I can't breathe, is it hot in here? Did someone turn the lights out? I've got heart palpatations, where are those damn EMT's??? I swear she's 19h!! I'm 6 foot and a cool 200 plus, that mare dwarfs me. I'm not riding her, now is no time to face a fear.

Rational side: Tardo...she's going to put you on a lunge line and if you are up to it pony you. My god you ride her stallion and don't stress, you trusted her enough to get on a green broke TB and be his 5th ride..Your still alive

Psychotic side: Not effing way, that mare will kill me she's like 20h, I think I saw her in the Guiness book (or was I drinking Guiness..oh that's another story) You know I hate chestnuts and that mare is chestnut and she heard me say and been giving me the crook eye since. Have you heard from 911 are they on their way????

Rational side: you are such a doofus, you know she lives like 2 1/2 hrs away and are freaking yourself out for nothing..and you're speaking out loud so now your husband is wondering if he needs to commit you.

Psychotic side: she's going to kill me like that time at band camp!!! I know it, she's 21h, have you seen her cannon bones??? OMG there huge..I can't do it. where is my pacifier?????

Rational side: oh for the love of Pete, when Duf gets down here you know she's going to make you get up on her and you'll do fine. but you will get on her and she's only 16.1 1/2..get over your big assed self

Pyshotic side: you can't talk to me that way......I'll tune you out and take over!! You've heard of a hostile takeover..You've got it coming "rational"

laurie said...

"Me: Has Horsey ever bucked anybody off?
Friend: No.
Me: Has Horsey ever reared and dumped anybody off?
Friend: No.
Me: Has Horsey ever spooked out from under anybody?
Friend: No.
Me: Then he's probably not going to develop any of that specially for you. I think you should ride him."


fugs, i have to tell you what an impression this statement had on me. even though my fjord has never, ever done anything that would make me think i am deep shit, i still go through a fear moment now and then, probably brought on by my first horse who DID buck me off and broke ribs at age 54. ouch.

everyone who rides my horse has told me how much fun he is, and my instructor, who knows the fear i have worked on, often tells me how good he is. now i can repeat your phrase when i have a weak moment, and it's really working.

i am learning that the whip is not going to make him go racing around the arena, but it does remind him to quit sleep walking around the arena and get his butt underneath him.

i am also getting some canter confidence back, and starting that again and remembering there's no way he's going to expend any more energy than he needs to. he is more than happy to slow down.

so, thanks for those words, they suit me perfectly.

verylargecolt said...

Laurie, I'm so glad that helped you. I use it on myself, too!

verylargecolt said...

Crazy 3 Dayer - I'm size-phobic myself, which is why training the VLC has been both good for me and a challenge. I had a friend ride him the other night and said the same thing...it's a really long way down. I LOL'ed. I said "hence the name of the blog!"

Crazy3dayer said...

Fugs, the worst thing about being size phobic is I really am 6 feet tall w/a 36 inseam. Unless the horse is well sprung my feet drag on the ground. So I'm stuck with these tall horses.
The other crazy thing is I DO ride her stallion w/o a 2nd thought. OH thank you asshat, jerkward pos ARIA certified trainer for destroying 20+ years of joy in one single moment!!! sigh. Thank goodness for drind like Deb who give me all time in the world and even though they treat me like a 2 yr old it's not snotty. It's all good. Deb has sat on a LEAD line with me for goodness sakes as I've had a 'break down'.

Emele Duncan said...

I have something similar in that I'm shopping for a horse at the momen, and am rather ridiculously wearing about it--because while I will happily hop on other peoples' rearing/bucking/bolting messes, I refuse to own a rearing/bucking/bolting mess. xD And it's actually very a very common practice to keep problem horses sedated when they're being marketed.

The Barn Bitch said...

badges blues N jazz, that's what I'm figuring on too. It can take me FOREVER to get over stuff.

I was at our clubs horse show yesterday and just learned there is a huge organized trail ride going on next weekend right down the road from my house...I really want to goooo!! My mare is NOT a trail horse, she's a rail horse. I will only have this week on her with the new saddle (first lesson on Tuesday), in the safety of my own home. I'm so not ready for this, mentally or physically. But I'm going. We are both going and we are going to have fun, dammit! I'll be with plenty of friends and their calm trail horses, we don't have to go any further down the trail then we want, and most importantly, we will have food :).

Wish me luck! I wasn't prepared for such an adventure this soon, but there is no time like the present. Watch my blog...you'll either see pictures of the day or if I never post again, I'm dead.

Crazy3dayer said...

Well next weekend I think I am going to hop up on that mare and see if I survive. I'll have Debbie and Duf w/me so I think I should survive. I'll have her drag the arena so I land in something soft.

wish me luck and keep your fingers crosssed

athy said...

I have a 12 yr old Appy - Plaudit grandsire so of course he is a hair or two over 16hh. He really has beautiful confirmation - is a joy to work on the ground and he has never bucked or anything. But he is high-strung. Likes to go all high head on me and get shifty.

When I was 14 I would have smacked his ass and ran him in circles till he settled.

I expected to feel the same now.

But times have changed - that was about 27 yrs ago and now he makes me nervous. I get more pissed off at myself for having that feeling than anything else. I thought there was something wrong with me till I found this blog.

I wish I were at a barn with other people around. But we are out here very much isolated - but beautiful as we are right on the Carson river. But I feel better when someone is outside with me.

Sometimes my husband has time to come out and hang out, but most of the time he is pretty well tied to our home office. so I am pretty much on my own with this - and I guess feeling lonely when I'm not nervous.

Jen said...

LOL cathy, loved the internal monologue. i can't speak for THIS pony but if she's part welsh, you likely do not have to worry too much about explosions if you have to "express your opinion." my experience with the breed has been that, they will test you frequently to see if you're paying attention (the stopping could very well be her little "test"), but if you "call their bluff" so to speak, they'll accept that and do exactly as you ask. sensible little horses they are, and can be cheeky/naughty, but they do tend to take care of their riders when push comes to shove.

too funny about the forelock!

Back in the saddle said...

Fluffy Forelock Syndrom! I just can't stop laughing!!!