Tuesday, September 22, 2015

the case for Bali

Let's talk a little more about Bali. Who is he and why do I care? Well... I guess that second question is superficially pretty easy to answer - I care because he's freaking adorable and I love horses. So the opportunity to ride something else is obviously awesome.

bali and equally adorable pasture mate dolly doin their thang
But there's a little more to the story. Bali is quite young - 4 or 5 years old, I believe - and off the track. With health and behavioral issues and very little training as a riding horse. That's not your typical description of the ideal lesson pony, right?

mayyyyyybe the cutest ever. look at that forelock!! and ear fuzz!!!! (and ignore my janky mismatched bridle)
But he's here and we really want to make it work. Because if he flunks out of our lesson program, his future becomes really uncertain... quite bleak, actually.

so tired... but so itchy!!
I think it will work tho. As of this writing I've put 4 rides on him (more details coming later!) and he's really impressing me. He's smart and sensitive, easy to steer, naturally lazy, and essentially a nearly-blank slate. Not entirely blank because he's figured out how to say "No" ... but he actually doesn't put up a huge fight about it. So long as his "No" doesn't scare the rider, it's pretty easy to work through.

he's really starting to relax and stretch out
He fell out of favor with some of the advanced lesson students because he was being such a butthead and stopped being fun. But those same kids have been watching me ride him lately and are getting excited about him again. They will undoubtedly be asking for another shot soon. That's good news. They are brave kids and good students. They can do it.

'oh hai!!!' - bali
And I hope to continue riding him to ensure that he stays on track. It's imperative that he understands saying "Yes" is the easier option - that saying "No" ultimately means more work because he will still have to do the thing, but will have wasted all that extra energy trying not to do the thing. Really, I'm hoping to appeal to his lazy side here.

'are you talkin bout me?!?' - bali
Because if his resistance continues to escalate with lesson kids... well, like I said, his future becomes a big question mark. Life on the track was not kind to Bali - he's got osselets (aka traumatic arthritis) on both front fetlocks and his feet aren't much to look at either.

dirty blurry muzzle... but ugh those fetlocks!
Plus, dude has a seriously messed up mouth. Like, the worst parrot mouth the vet has ever seen - the vet was actually surprised Bali wasn't PTS at birth.

what does the parrot say?
He seems to do well enough tho, and we've been able to put weight on him (he eats like 10+ pounds of grain a day, I believe, and it has to be soaked). So the mouth isn't a huge inhibiting factor for him.

mmmmm sloppy soaked grain
And he *is* sound. Pretty tight through his back, sure, but generally he goes well enough and will only improve with work. So none of these factors in and of themselves are necessarily deal breakers. But put them all together in a horse that also demonstrates bad behavior on the ground and under saddle... and... yea nobody is busting down the door trying to buy him.

mashy muzzle can't stop the cute
So I don't really want to think about what happens to him if he ultimately can't do the lesson horse job. Fortunately I think he can do the job - and do it well. He's not spooky, travels off property like nbd, and was very mature at his first event this summer. He just needs a little more consistency. So far, so good on that front, and hopefully he'll be back to doing lessons in short order!

40 comments:

  1. I hope it works out! It really does sound like he just needs a little time and work. And he sure does have a cute face!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. omg he is sooooooo cute! (except for when he's trying to bite, but we're working on it lol). i really do think he'll be ok - he's gotten fresh and hot with the extra feed, but i think the laziness will eventually win out. and lazy lesson horses are a good thing!

      Delete
  2. Awww, he IS super cute....you know I have a thing for young OTTBs :)
    Hopefully you can keep putting positive rides on him and he'll love the lesson horse life!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Omg, those fetlocks! Cue the PTSD shakes...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yea he's..... ugh, he's got issues. the physical things aren't deal breakers for our program, but it's be reeeeeeally stupid for him to lose a good home bc he's a butthead to the students

      Delete
  4. I hope he settles in to his job! Sounds like he will be a really good horse for the more 'advanced' kids to REALLY learn to ride on!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i agree - he's a great lease opportunity and could also potentially take lesson kids to shows or schooling outings bc he's so quiet and not spooky. but they've got to figure out how to get beyond his naughtiness (or, ideally, we can work some of that naughty out of him lol)

      Delete
  5. Hope you can help turn him around. That parrot mouth is crazy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i admit to being pretty shocked the first time i saw those teeth. he can be pretty mouthy while being ridden too so you can often see the teeth poking out - very crazy indeed

      Delete
  6. So cute!!! Love the little forelock fro. Good luck! I so badly want it to work. Get minions to take pictures too

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oooooh have no fear!! the minions have very happily played photographer and there will be much more coming on Bali later :D

      Delete
  7. Yikes, that mouth!!

    There was an OTTB @ my barn with some osselets- he went to a dressage rider and seems to be doing pretty well! Hopefully someone will like Bali enough to see past his flaws and give him a home!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well technically he already has a home and we would really prefer to keep him!! That wil ultimately be his decision to accept the job - so far he seems promising! (So long as he can keep up the good work w the kiddos)

      Delete
  8. Aww he's so cute! And he's so lucky to have you guys pulling for him, I really hope it works out for him. If only he knew how lucky he was! Maybe he'd say yes a little more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha that's actually part of my plan - kill him with kindness and show him how pleasant his life can be. Lots of love (and treats), extensive grooming sessions, loads of positive reinforcement and only very snappy prompt corrections. He seems to be responding well!!

      Delete
  9. I think it's so great the farm is willing to give him a shot!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. he really is a very neat horse - and was doing fine for a while. but with the extra weight came some extra freshness and hotness that... well, didn't work out too well for a couple kids. hopefully he'll settle back in again quickly!

      Delete
  10. He's so adorable! I'm happy that he is being given a chance at another life despite his problems. I really hope hope that it works out for him!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. he is REALLY cute! i hope it works out too !!

      Delete
  11. Haha I was reading your description like "eh osslets are only a problem if they're a problem" and then I saw the mouth. Wow. That's pretty bad. Glad he's a kind soul and I hope he gets straightened right out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yea the mouth is unlike anything i've seen in a horse before - i'm actually not even sure if he *could* land a bite (tho i'm certainly working hard to avoid giving him an opportunity lol). we'll see tho - everything will be gravy so long as he wants to keep playing nice

      Delete
  12. wow thats quite the list of things this poor boy has gone thru/has had to deal with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yea... it's not a huge surprise that he's a little resistant. he's got a good home now tho, provided he can hang on to it!

      Delete
  13. Nothing like riding different horses to keep you on your toes- I'm glad you get the chance to work with him and can help give him a second chance to stick around!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm really enjoying the change up so far - haha esp w my canter signal bc he requires me to be correct in a way Isabel doesn't lol

      Delete
  14. Well isn't he the cutest thing!!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. If this horse doesn't work out in the lesson program and his future turns bleak, why don't you take him on? Just a thought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In a way, that's what I'm doing - taking him on and doing what I can within my own limited capacity. Ownership isn't in my immediate future bc I lack the financial strength to handle any emergencies, let alone a horse that will likely need maintenance. But if I can put a little work into him that makes him a more pleasant riding horse and therefore improves his job security - well, that's pretty much doing the best I can for him. Luckily I think it will be enough.

      Delete
  16. Holy crap those are some serous issues. Good thing he's so cute. I hope that you can get him to change his mind about working for the kids. Luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yea his cuteness could really make up for a lot here, provided he can stop kicking lol. i think he'll figure it out quickly!!

      Delete
  17. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for this guy! He's too cute to not have little kids loving all over him

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. right??? and he's actually quite easy to love on (when he's not biting and kicking), vs isabel who is much too dignified for face petting lol

      Delete
  18. Aww! So sweet that you are helping him! He is REALLY cute, but that mouth REALLY isn't. Wow! Best of luck to both of you! Give him a kiss from Idaho!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One of these days I will have to check out his pedigree to see why they wanted so badly to keep him when he was born with that mouth....

      Delete
  19. The first horse I spent tons of time riding was parrot mouthed..but whoa. Not like that. That's something else! He seems like a sweetheart who needs some consistency. He'll get there!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. he definitely needs consistency. also a heaping dose of 'this is your job should you choose to accept. and should you choose not to, well... good luck buddy'

      Delete