Friday, January 2, 2015

TOABH: I'm a loser baby

It's time for another The Owls Approve Blog Hop! Last week we talked about how our ponykins was a Shining Star - and today we are going in exactly the opposite direction. Lol. 


I'm A Loser, Baby
Let's talk about your horse's biggest fail.  What did Thunderhooves do that embarrassed you, scared you, shocked you or just annoyed the hell out of you?

When I met Isabel, her owner told me she was a trail riding machine - and that they pretty much spent all of their time freely running around the woods. 

would you like to go for a ride??

This had translated to Isabel deciding that *she* was in charge of dictating pace - both in and out of the ring. If she wanted to run, well, hey now we're running! Same goes for stopping - tho honestly whoa-ing has never been Izzy's favorite.

But that's not really how I roll, ya know? Being allowed to gallop on a loose rein is a privilege, IMO, that is earned only after demonstrating that solid, respectful brakes exist. And uh - Isabel just said no-non-nyet-nay-neigh-nein to brakes of all kind. 

'neigh, damn it - neighhhhhh!!' - isabel

Here's exhibit A. Isabel has her head straight up in the air with gaping mouth and wild eyes. Because we stopped for a photo. The HORROR. 

The other horses are just standing there and Isabel literally has three of her four feet going, is chomping on the bit, and is mid tail swish (trust me). And that's WITH a group. 

'i sense DANGER' - isabel

When we went out on the trails solo, they always ended with something happening at the furthest point from home (Isabel knows where the turnaround points are), with Isabel proceeding to jig and tranter and snort and head fling and strike out and breathe fire the ENTIRE way home. 

I have no photographic evidence of this, but here are some old riding pics snagged from the blog that might help give a sense of what I'm talking about - and what Isabel is capable of doing with that pretty little dished face of hers when she absolutely loses her mind.

(tho of course, these photos are all from rides where everything was more or less going smoothly, so you'll have to use your imagination on how it might be different when Izzy goes a little wild)







Essentially, it was NOT fun. At all. 

I can't tell you how many times I spent the last 20 minutes riding home yelling and screaming at Isabel telling her just how useless she was as a riding horse (singing sweet nothings to her makes zero difference, so might as well tell her what I really think, right?). While she jigged and snorted and tried to break my nose with her face. It was, uh, pretty ugly.


pretty sure isabel thought she was this unicorn here, when everyone else is just like, ughhhh isabel just be NORMAL



We're mostly past this now, thanks to reestablishing basics in the arena, taking a break from solo trails (only going out with a group), a running martingale (my nose thanks you!!), a temporary switch to a waterford bit, and Isabel finally understanding that we CAN go do fun fast stuff - but she's just gotta behave and get through boring blah stuff first. 


oh, and letting her eat on the trail - this REALLY helped lol

There are still shades of that trail horror monster in there - she reared her ugly head (literally) a week or two ago when we were out trying to help my friend's OTTB learn that streams won't swallow him whole. Clearly, it was not an ideal time for Isabel to have a melt down. 

But for the most part, she's a pretty solid and respectful citizen on the trails now. But - I will also NEVER forget some of those rides... ughh..... 





14 comments:

  1. They sure like to keep us on our toes huh? Reminds me of the time Kika and i were asked to accompany a baby horse on a trail ride to be the calming head (pre-Nancy days & mid-random-meltdown days)
    Needless to say Miss Kika was anything but a calming influence and i spent most of the hack walking alongside her apologising profusely to my hacking buddy who's horse was being an angel.
    Nothing like an opinionated red mare yo remind us of humility ;-)

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    1. haha that's the truth! and yea, i've definitely been the one with my older broke mare acting up while the baby is fine... how embarrassing!

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  2. Our mares sound a bit too similar for comfort lol Granted I've only had Quest for like 6 months but still jigging trail horses = no fun

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    1. yea i think there is definitely a lot of similarity there lol. and i HATE the jigging. it is super difficult for me to keep my temper when it happens... but just gotta work through it i guess

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  3. Good grief!! I've had some horses that got snotty about going home, but I think Isabel takes the cake! I'm glad you got it sorted out with her. :)

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    1. me too! she certainly loves herself some drama lol

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  4. Cash was always a disaster on the trails too, but he was worse with a group. When I took him out to condition him (solo), I learned we had to walk back on a loose rein - a short rein just made him jig sideways. He was allowed to eat as long as his feet kept moving (oh the horrors, but just like with Izzy, it helped take his mind off of panicking and racing for the barn). If he wanted to jig, he had to do a 45 degree shoulder in - first one way, then the other. Eventually he decided it was too much work and would walk. Very, very quickly, but there were 4 distinct beats. Sigh.

    I wish I could tell you this gets better with age, but I'd be lying...

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    1. yea... i don't really hold any illusions about the mare ever turning into a quiet old plow horse... but things HAVE improved as our trust in each other has grown, at least

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  5. oh man, I've never ridden a horse that threw their head around- I would have lost part of my tongue or been knocked out cold for sure. Good for you for pushing through that with Izzy.

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    1. yea it's NOT fun - esp since i usually sit too far forward anyway lol. martingales FTW!!!

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  6. Twinsies! Archie doesn't toss his head - which I think would drive me nuts - but the whole I'm-going-to-go-batshit-crazy-on-the-way-home sounds very familiar!

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    1. haha yea -- i think it's unfortunately a common affliction... and so tricksy to fix!!

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  7. She sure sounds like she was a handful! Glad you've got her behaving better. Wishing you lots of great rides in the new year!

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    1. thanks!! she's got the ability to be a handful - but also the ability to be 100% rock solid awesome sauce... which is perhaps why i have so little patience for the silliness lol. wishing you a great new year too!

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