Sunday, August 16, 2009

Now I'm Confused....sort of

Well took Top to another Carrie lesson. He was great. Really a good boy. Carrie did have me ride him with drawreins. Not a first option for me...but they did really help. He seemed to relax more quickly with them. Actually chewed softly on the bit, and stretched over his top line. I know some of you purists are going to be horrified. Oh well, not much I can do about that. The horse is happier, and steadier. This is not a permanent fixture...these are a temporary aid to help both of us. He can't lever my butt out of the saddle and it sets better boundaries for him. I'm riding on the direct rein, and only engaging the draw when needed.

I'd like to know what the difference is in his mind. The drastic change from the barns in town, to Carrie's place. He actually comes out of the trailer, and you can see him relax...let down. He has been like this since the very first time he arrived there. He was a lunatic at Elaine's. I'm stumped.

One thing is really irritating me though. There were a couple ladies from the barns in town there. My friend was sitting there and listening to them talk to Carrie. Carrie was wondering if Top's issues could be anxiety or fear from me. As she has never seen any really poor behavior from him. So, of course sycophants that they are, (even a supposed friend that was there) said things like. "Oh yes, we've never seen him put a foot out of place. He's just perfect in town. Never does anything wrong." I am so very tempted to hand them (one in particular) his lead...and say, "Since he's so good, and I'm manufacturing, or perhaps fabricating his issues please show me."

I guess this one person in particular said something about it to a student of mine. Saying she thought he was such a nice horse, and how she didn't think he did anything wrong. My student (bless her heart) said, "Yeah, if you don't mind rearing. I was there when he went up." A big, "Oh, really I didn't know he really did that." This is the same person that when I said I got Top, was horrified. He was a terrible horse. Had issues, wasn't sound yadda yadda. Guess it matters which way the wind is blowing, huh? I do want to ask her, 'Well, you freaken moron, why would I say a horse did something that bad, and that dangerous when he didn't? I'd like to be able to find him a good home down the road, and rearing is pretty much the kiss of death.'

So, I'm beyond irritated. Wow, I never realized I was so fearful. (Please). I respect his ability to move quick without warning, and that he could probably dump me...that doesn't mean I'm immobilized by fear, or going to make shit up about a horse.

Haven't quite decided what or if I'm going to do anything. Still stewing on it.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Whew Top?

I took Top over to Elaine's to ride him in a quiet place for a few days. Well, that didn't work. He was a basket case. He was having trouble just existing. Pacing, screaming...he spooked at a weed with a blue flower. We were watching him graze in the pen...he has his head down eating...sees the flower and jumps backwards splay legged. Sometimes this horse flat makes me crazy.

When he does something like this I often look at him, and say pretty loudly, "What?!" He looks at me, and I put my arms out a little from my sides palms up...he looks and settles. Who freaken knows what goes on his little brain.

We arrived at Elaine's in the late afternoon yesterday. We left Elaine's late afternoon today. Top didn't eat any hay, nor drink any water. He drank a little this afternoon when I led him over to the trough, and held him...and kept him company while he drank. So, he drank his fill, which was quite a bit.

Yesterday Elaine watched him for a bit yesterday. Watched me work him on the line. She says, "You're riding this horse?" Oh never a good sign with Elaine. She is basically saying he is not together enough, or trained enough, or sane enough to be riding. Well shit....strike two. (Strike one was the neurotic behavior in the pen). The last time she said this to me was when I took Strider to her 14 years ago. And he was naughghghtttyyyy. He used to rear, and slam me into crap while on his hind legs.

But hey Strider came around. She didn't get on him until she had at least 30 days of lunging and driving on him. He came around huge. He left Elaine's after one winter at 2nd level and very steady. He was young though. A quarter horse and not afraid of anything. Fear wasn't Strider's issue. Strider was more 'You wanna fight...we can go to war.' He was great if you asked him. You could get after him and he'd dig a little deeper. He had an extreme sense of fairness.

I took Top over to the cross ties, and tacked him up. Lunged for a bit and got on. Yup, major timebomb feeling. (I really am hating that feeling). We got a little work, not much. He was really struggling. Couldn't get into the outside rein to save his life (or mine). I was working him long and low. Trying to get him to stretch and relax. He spooked. He spooked so hard and fast sideways my back is still hurting. Elaine said, "Well that was hard and nasty. For no reason."

Strike three...Elaine wont get on him (no I didn't ask. She volunteered up that bit of info). Really bad sign. So, we'll see how it goes. I have a Carrie lesson next weekend. I know he's a project. I know he isn't a short-term project. The problem is I have three other projects standing in my field. I need to figure this out. Maisa stands, Iris stands, Cami stands. Not a fair trade is it? We'll see if Carrie has any ideas.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Feeding Time with Top

Whew, long weekend. Only got half of what I planned done. Top got neglected. He stood in his pen, and watched the goings on at the stables. There was a gymkhana there, I swear he thinks it is horsey tv. It is all for his entertainment.

He has finally stopped freaking out over the 'humming woman' at the barn. He couldn't see her, but he could hear her humming and singing. He couldn't figure out what the hell it was, and would start running and leaping in his pen if she hummed for more than 5 minutes. He has now seen her, as she's humming. Huge light bulb moment for Top. Now he just listens, and waits to see if he can see her. She is very interesting to him. One of my students pointed this out to me.

My plan is to ride him after work today. Hopefully he keeps his little feetsies on the ground. He's been pretty darn good. Only little moments.

Last night he was being a jerk to the filly in the pen next to him. He got his hay, his beetpulp, and ricebran with his supplements. She is quietly eating her hay. He slings his head in her direction..big snaky frown at her. She ignores him (I love this filly). So then he takes a dive at the panel that separates them, she looks at him sleepy eyed chewing her hay. Now he's pissed. She's ignoring him. She should be fearful, and very impressed. Oh...but his bucket of food is waiting. So he stuffs his head in the bucket and bucks and kicks out behind while he eats. Occasionally will pull his head out of the bucket, frown at her, and kick again.

He takes a dive at her again, and the filly bless her soul...steps toward him, just out of reach. I swear she was going, "Neener, neener,'re big and stupid." Evil little Skipper W bred filly. I think she may be a keeper for my friend that bred her.

I tell Top to knock it off. He makes one more pass. I lean over and pick up a couple rocks. He quits. I swear the goober saw me pick up the rocks and quit. I have never thrown rocks at him, but I was going to. He stood there quietly eating. I watched for about five minutes. All was quiet. So, I dropped my rocks, and started to turn to walk away. Bastard, moved like greased lightening to spin and frown at that filly again. Maybe Top isn't as stupid as I think? My student is cracking up. She says, "I can't believe he waited for you to drop the rocks." Crap, now even a dumb-blood is out thinking me. I tell you, I'm slipping.