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.


GoLightly said...

Top was probably broke using draw reins.

Draw reins are very popular with the jumper crowd.
It may be a comfort thing for him.

Ignore tho bone-heads and meditate on their stupidity.
Stewing is counter-productive..

Maybe he likes the grass at Carrie's:)


fernvalley01 said...

People are funny aren't they?
I suspect the Friend is just jealous and if faced with the prospect of actually handling Top she would run like hell! Kudos to your student for speaking up ! (that speaks volumes about your skill as a coach) As far as the draw reins, I think they are meant to be used exactly as you are , a short term tool to manage an issue ,esp that you are still using the direct rein and only activating the draw rein when necessary. And if it's helping Top...

horspoor said...

I know I shouldn't let it bother me. The adult thing would be to ignore it. This is a woman that had a horse in full training at Carries for 18mths...and still doesn't ride him. (He's actually a pretty good boy if you're fair with him). He's 11 or 12 btw, and she's had him since birth. HMMMM???? I guess I really shouldn't take her sniping to heart.

horspoor said...

I plan to ride Top this afternoon. Yes, in drawreins. I have to find mine. I think I still have them. I'm really hoping I didn't give them away.

CharlesCityCat said...


Don't beat yourself up about the draw reins. Used correctly (like you do) they are a tool and nothing more.

I have one who I put them on for a few rides periodically.

Don't worry about those others and what they are saying, they are just wannabes whereas you are a Iamabe.

GoLightly said...

snerkle CCC.
I read Lamabe.
derned sans serif fonts and old eyes..
I thought you'd sold HP a Llama..

How different is Carrie's, environment wise?
As quiet as Elaine's, or is it middle ground for him?
I think in draw-reins he feels more secure in himself, like when he was younger..
I can't believe he was started badly, with his breeding & his type. You'd think his earliest owners would have done SOMEthing right, and then later screwed everything up with owner ammies.

horspoor said...

CCC....they're just Crias. lol

GL..I'm kind of banking on the start being good it is a huge hope for me. It will give him a place to go back too. He was started in Germany...and truthfully I have no clue who started him. But why would you spend the money to import a lunatic? Right? Esp a gelded lunatic.

CharlesCityCat said...


I just remembered an appropriate comparison for you.

My little mare Whinnie was never very good when we trailered over to my trainer's farm. She was always distracted and always had a hard time relaxing.

After a time, because my SD wasn't doing well with the trainer, we changed trainers. Now this was a step up (old trainer used this guy to ride her mega-Gelding) and I had known him for years. He used to be too far for any of us to trailer to on any kind of a regular basis. Well, he had recently moved quite close. Once SD started her antics, we changed as she was going no where with old trainer. I decided to change as well as it was just easier. My point in this whole long story, Whinnie was far more relaxed and really did well at the new place.

Go figure!

horspoor said...

Carrie's place is not as quiet as Elaine's. There is stuff going on. People floating in and out. Talking, cars coming in, horses and trailers coming and going.

Maybe he needs the middle ground. Don't know.

I'm not going to get to him today...shooting for tomorrow.

nccatnip said...

Sounds like the issue to me with the draw reins is he needs boundaries. No need to think, no freedom for the brain to wander, maybe?
As far as Carrie's, there must be something familiar there that takes him to a comfort zone.
Hey, as long as he makes progress, who cares?
F the know it all ladies. Offer them a ride on him and watch them scatter like crows.

GoLightly said...

Carrie's reminds him of home.

Give him scritches, please?

Good BOY, Top!

autumnblaze said...

GL hit it spot on what I was thinking. Gator LIVED in draw reins... set free he's like OH YEAH! Top - coulda been a security thing for him.

Ignore the chattering Bettys. People always have something crappy to say.

Glad to hear you made some positive progress. :)

autumnblaze said...

Hmmm... I meant to say Gator was exactly opposite of Top by the way. Didn't express that very well.

GoLightly said...


for top.

horspoor said...

I think Top may be a 'victim' of learned helplessness. We kind of discussed it on a blog somewhere. GL had a link to a trainer, eventer discussing it. You take away any and all the horses choices they become too dependent.

So, I think we'll try the drawreins for awhile, and slowly remove them by degrees. See how long he can be in self carriage. Make some choices and not fall apart.

He's an odd mix of you having to be there (drawreins) and claustraphobic. It's a fine line at the moment. Let's see how he goes. I need to get him out of the arena. However, I need to feel secure enough in him to take him down a trail or to the beach. Bolting down a trail or the spit toward the freeway is not my idea of a good time. lol

kestrel said...

Horse training is about...(who would think :o )...results. That's why purists drive me nuts. If Top is happy and you're getting through to him, who cares?!
I've had a few horses that I really wasn't getting through to, and I'm lucky enough to have a group of trainer friends that work well together. We understand that we each have our own strengths and weaknesses, so we actually pass students and horses around until we find the right fit. We help each other, and it helps the horses.
Top reminds me of a mare I trained that had explosive issues. It was similar to autistic behavior. She would lock down and be doing things right but I knew that she wasn't there mentally, and she'd explode out of the blue. Draw reins formed a boundary that forced her to stay in the moment with me, and she's a fine horse now. Boy did we have some go rounds getting her there though!!!! I used some stuff on her that was pretty unusual, but it was that or the end of the road for her.
I have one ex friend that has gone cult trainer on me, and it pisses her off to no end that I can get through to a horse. Go figure.

Dena said...

Top sent out a memo. And even this purist says hell if it makes him more secure and stable and keeps YOU safe go for it!

bhm said...

The issue with draw reins is that they tighten the back muscles. If Top feels more secure with them than what the heck. Like you said it's a training tool so you can eventually get him to work without them. So, there's no harm. Your doing an amazing job with a very difficult horse that few would have the ability to work with. Keep it up.

horspoor said...

I rode him without drawreins the last time I rode him on Friday. He was actually good. My student/ex-student...wasn't thinking he was so good. But she did say if I can get him past the timebomb feeling, and fix the suck back, weird neck no control thing...she'll take him and ride him through the winter. So at least I'm not nuts...he really does feel awful, but look like nothing is wrong. I was watching her ride him thinking, I am just losing it. Old and chicken...yup that's it. She said it felt scary and like you really had nothing...said she got the timebomb thing I was talking about. He really does look like Mr. Goodboy from the ground.

Kestrel, Okay, the zone thing...he does that. He checks out, and is just going through the motions. He is not present...and when he becomes present, it can go either way. He'll either get better, and more through with more swing through his back...or he explodes. I think I'd do better it there was some build up, some warning.