It’s been a rough 48 hours around here. Shannon hasn’t been sleeping much (I think the culprit is her teeth) and the only person that seems to make her feel better is me. It’s exhausting, but I’m glad that I can help her to feel better.
Going out in public today was very similar to taking a youngster to a show. “I swear he’s really not this bad at home, he’s quite sweet!” as he takes off bucking for the fourth time in two minutes. All my horsey readers know what I’m talking about… those of you that don’t have kids… be smart. We were those people today.
Despite the fact that I was running off of coffee for the better part of the day, I made time to go up and log another ride in the book. Our steering is coming along really well and our brakes are almost sort of reliable! She doesn’t like to be asked to go forward and is still biting my boot when I ask. I try to sit deeply and quietly, relax my upper body so she doesn’t hit any tension when she does step forward, and use my voice in conjunction with my leg. We’ll work through it.
I was thinking, tonight on my way home, about all the horses that I’ve started, and one situation really sticks out in my mind. Even all you non-horse people will get a kick out of it. Instead of whining more about how my kid had me so exhausted I wore cowboy boots all day (the idea of laces made me want to cry), I figured I’d share.
About two years ago I was asked to start this cute Quarter Horse filly. She was about three, chestnut, about 14.2 and a really great little horse. My job was to put a solid 60-90 days on her, she would sit over the remainder of the winter and then her owner wanted to use her as a cow horse if she hadn’t sold. She had a great mind, great ground work, and was going to be easy as pie.
At about the 30 day mark she was going around like an old pro, I had let her reins go at the end of our ride and we were meandring around the area, cooling out and working on leg yielding.
Let me preface the rest of the tale by saying that this guy had a great set up. Big indoor. Because he worked cattle, he had a big mechanical bull type thing on a track down one long side of the arena. It was controlled by a switch in the aisle and he normally used it to work on his heading/heeling skills.
It was later at night, and the barn was quiet. I’m sure you can see where this is going.
We meandered up the long side, my reins long and loopy, filly totally relaxed under me. I was enjoying the peace and quiet (even though it was fuh-reezing!). All of the sudden, as we turned the corner, that stupid cow came to life and went roaring and clanking right up under the filly’s backside. I think I peed my pants at the same time that she jumped out of her skin. She SPRANG off all four feet right straight up in the air, and just ran. I never even had time to react and I don’t think her feet touched the ground once before she was on the other side of the arena. Think the old school Roadrunner cartoons…
I picked myself up out of the dirt, half laughing, half wondering what the hell had just happened. I probably swore a
lot little bit too. Filly was huffing and puffing in the far corner, eyes the size of dinner plates and ears so far forward I thought they were going to snap off at the base.
I heard laughing down in the barn area. Her owner had come into the barn and thought it would be a fun way to ‘test’ my training skills.
I recovered the filly, and did a little bit more work. At the end of what ended up being an otherwise lovely 90 days, we were BOTH immune to the mechanical cow!
I really do wish that I had pictures of her!
I’m off to put my grumpy butt (the miniature one) to bed. We have an obligation wwwaaaayyy early tomorrow morning, and I still have no clue as to what I want to wear.
Have a good night y’all… somebody out there get some sleep for me!