Friday, August 31, 2007


Thank god it's Friday. I only have the one class today, and I'll be going in early for that to work the bay out some and try to get him behaving before actual class.

The name Buck is not working out for him, I tried calling him Buck yesterday, and he stopped dead in his tracks. Called him buddy boy and he was good again.

We stayed in the arena yesterday until my leg started twitching and giving him conflicting signals, and I never did get him lathered. I got him blowing a little, but I was having to hold him to a walk and do figure eights at one end of the arena, because whenever we got close to the end with the gate, he got excited. He kept wanting to speed himself up into a trot and in the interests of me being the boss, I kept him at a walk.

Everyone else went out on the trails yesterday, but the instant everyone gathered at the gate end of the arena and started going out, he started acting up. He'd been better about behaving up until then, I tried a different bit on him yesterday, an o-ring snaffle, and he seems to give to it better than the curb bits I've been using, so I'll keep using it.

Had a couple of hairy moments yesterday, he tried bucking a couple of times, but he only got one jump in at a time and it wasn't very impressive, since the instant I felt him start to jump his reins got a lot shorter. This precipitated the rein wars... he'd hold his head lower and lower until the reins got long enough (so he thought) for him to do what he wanted before I could correct him. Fortunately I've figured out the secret of two handed riding at least in the configuration I use, and can shorten my reins in a hurry now. We also tried to have a runaway a time or two, but his nose got friendly with my boot when he did that. Hard to run at all when your head is bent to the side, and hard to go anywhere but in itty bitty circles when its touching your rider's boot.

Eventually, I'll get him over needing to be plow reined (all the time neck reining, not just when he feels like it) and we'll have enough discussions over things that he'll stop needing every possible cue to turn when we're having our figure-eight sessions. Right now he's being deliberately obtuse unless I give him inside direct rein, outside neck rein, and outside leg. It's been that, or pull his head around until he doesn't have a choice but to turn.

Progress is being made. Every time he tries to back away from me when I try to mount, I simply drive him back, walking by the saddle and backing him with the reins. Every time he tries to wheel we go in a couple of itty bitty circles in the other direction, and then go away from wherever it was he wanted to go. I didn't have as much of a fight with him yesterday as I did the day before, and I won't have as much of one today as I did yesterday. It's all about consistency and patience. He won't be a perfect horse for many years, he's too young and full of energy to be the nice laid back la te dah do whatever horse, but he can, and will, behave better than he has been.

On his back feet, Marylin and the kid that does the trimming up here were discussing giving him a mild tranquilizer. I'm fine with that, we need to get those back feet trimmed or they're going to cause problems, and its going to take a while before he'll relax enough about his back feet even with hosing them down to let someone handle them long enough to get the shoes off and trim. It's the lesser of two evils, really, and better for the bay if we can get him trimmed up.

Talked a classmate into cleaning my stall for me... indefinitely... because she spent all summer cleaning stalls and she's bored with just doing one or two. The price? Keep a cooler of water stocked in my car for at the barn. I can do that. I was thinking about doing that anyway. All I need is a cooler... and I have one of those at home its just getting the time and motivation to go get it, instead of buying a new one. Oh and I need to buy the water, obviously. I'll hit Wally World today, they've usually got some pretty good deals on bottled water.

I'm tired. Most of it is working with the owwies, part of it is the constant battle with the bay, and part of it is, its the first week that we're having real barn classes and I'm not adjusted to it yet. Last week we had classes but they never went the full time, and I didn't have to argue with the bay all the time. I'll get used to it eventually.


jon said...

Long distance advice, and I don't mean to be a nuisance, but I'd make the feet a priority.

To me, either his feet are bothering him, or he's using them as control. If they are bothering him, he'll settle down after they feel better. If not, and he's using them as control, the more you mess with them, the more nervous he'll be and harder to control.

Oh, yeah. Try to have a good weekend and take some time for yourself.

farmgirl said...

Yeah I wound up not riding today... puttering around the apartment this morning my leg gave out on me, so I decided not to ride and let him get away with things that he shouldn't, so instead we played with the hose, and sprayed his legs until he quit freaking out about it, let him rest and dry off, and then did it again. I'll spend a good chunk of the rest of the day on the couch with my laptop working on my Lit paper, in between moving around enough to keep things from stiffening up.

Anonymous said...

On a bad pulling mount, I use to lengthen the right reign and pull it through the right stirrup and access under his belly. When he shied away, I would pull the reign and use a function word; HEEL.
Usually the horse would stop pulling and come to "HEEL" at command after a few lessons.
The problem is riding with 6 feet of extra reign when you get going.
Sounds like your learning and that is good.