Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bad People, Good Horses

There is one kid in my riding class that I honestly think is trying to get kicked out. He's skipped classes entirely, ignores the "no running" and "no riding between the barns" rules, and just acts surly and not at all like he wants to be there all the time.

There's a bet going on amongst some of the rest of us on whether Marylin, our instructor, will kick him out or not.

If he were in JJ's classes, he'd already have been kicked out. Unfortunately, there are a lot of us in Marilyn's classes, and she just can't watch us all at once, and Mr C (the aforementioned student) manages to pull his crap when she's not looking, most of the time.

This is the same young man who insists that what I need is a set of spurs like his for Bubbah, because "A horse misbehaves because they don't respect you."

Maybe your horse misbehaves because she doesn't respect you, but I have a feeling that most of the time she's just pissed off because you're jabbing those pig-sticker spurs into her and then yanking on her head. My horse "misbehaves" these days because he doesn't know what I'm asking of him. When he gets it, he does it happily. Such as yesterday's right side pass. Once he grasped what I was asking of him, he did it beautifully.

He just didn't understand why I wanted him to go both ways.

Your horse, on the other hand, is developing a hard mouth, a leaping start (from those gigantic spurs) and a bad attitude. Mine is getting softer on the bit every day, he's listening to me and he's begun to look forward to our rides, because when he does well, he gets affection, attention, and rewards.

I really do think that Mr C is trying to get himself kicked out. My best guess is that he decided shortly after Marilyn didn't hail him as the pinnacle of horsemanship on the first day that he didn't want to be here, but mommy and daddy won't let him drop out.

Hopefully he doesn't manage to ruin his horse before he manages to get kicked out. The whole class would be better off without him.


Anonymous said...

Is this the kid with the flea-bitten gray?

And I was of the understanding that a good rider, even if he/she's wearing spurs, seldom if ever touches a spur to any horse. I've also read some articles about the histories of gear, such as spurs and spade bits, where the authors opined that the uses of such items are misunderstood from almost every angle.


Farmgirl said...

No, it's a different kid entirely.

Spurs are a tool, and like any tool, they can be misused.

A set of spurs, properly applied, cue a horse for a sharper turn, or a faster start. They're used to give definitive cues, when the horse isn't understanding just leg pressure or a boot heel.

Improperly applied they're a punishment, or a torture device.

I'm considering a set of "bumper" spurs for Bubbah, as he's getting more advanced in his training. The ones I'm looking at are just a round ball, to provide a single point of pressure instead of the spread out pressure that the leg and boot give.

Anonymous said...

You just articulated an expanded version of what I meant. On top of that, I've understood a horse can become de-sensitized to spurs too, much like they can develop that hard mouth from being jerked around.

Those ball spurs... one of the best barrel racers in my area uses them to good effect. She says regular rowels pinch her horse. In our conversation when that came up, we were comparing those to small rowels. My spurs are Colorado Saddlery with bigger rowels, but they have a lot of little points as opposed to large rowels with six or eight points. I figured the more points, the milder it'd be. But I've also figured it'd be better to use them with a nudge than a jab... when they would be used. That's just me thinking.

mustanger... again.