Monday, December 14, 2015

fake it til ya make it

Alternate title:  Transforming a ragamuffin into.... a marginally better groomed ragamuffin. lol

"who, me?!?" - bali
So Bali has maybe regressed while I've been laid up. I had felt pretty good about our progress, and was absolutely stoked by his super star behavior on our field trip to OF (the very day I broke my leg, blergh). But since then he hasn't been getting used much, other than his lease rider.

Part of the problem is that a few students who used to ride him regularly have since pursued horses of their own to buy. Very exciting for them - but not super conducive to keeping this green bean in work. Of course another part of the problem is that he scared a couple riders too and they're not interested in him any more...

bali doesn't want to be seen in these conditions
Bali has the potential to be a pretty solid w-t horse for beginner riders. He is lazy, slow, and uncomplicated, and is quite comfortable. Except for one big problem: he currently can't be trusted to stay earthbound, and is all too willing to let those hind legs fly when he feels pissy (which is often).

"nobody loves me" - bali (crying crocodile tears)
He hasn't exactly flunked out of the program... but he's not carrying his weight. Fortunately they're willing to give him more time, especially knowing that I'll be back in the saddle soon. So I'm committing again to doing whatever I can to help Bali learn to be a better citizen. Really, his attitude is stupid and is a terrible reason to lose a good home. But ours is a small program with razor-thin margins, and there just isn't room for lesson horses that don't get used in lessons.

lol pony looks like a mud encrusted orphan
Step 1 in my plan for turning him into a horse that people want to use is getting him to at least look the part. Maybe this is cynical or superficial, but I tend to believe that a horse that looks well loved or taken care of might inspire people to think better of that horse than something that looks neglected.

And, love it or hate it, this will hold especially true if the program decides to market him for sale. So I cleaned him up a bit - trimming his mane and bridle path, and banging his tail. The results are maybe not world-class-grooming caliber (I used scissors lol), but it's an improvement.

that's better!
Plus I'm a big believer that grooming can double as a ground work. Bali is not awful in the cross ties, but he can get a little impatient. Plus he is a bit of a bully, and will threaten to kick and bite when you reach certain areas with the curry comb. Not exactly beginner-friendly behavior. But it's also pretty half hearted, so I'm hoping he'll learn quickly that it's unacceptable.

conservative trim, still an improvement!
Another thing I like doing with sour horses is bringing them in for attention, with all signs pointing to an imminent ride. But then I don't ride them. They come in, get loved on (including corrections for any unwanted behaviors), and then go right back out again. No actual work involved. My theory is that it helps separate grooming from working, so that a horse who is sour about work won't be a total asshole about grooming too.

#ragamuffin4lyfe
And obviously this approach works pretty well for me right now, since riding is currently not a thing I'm interested in trying with Bali. Hopping on Isabel with a huge medical grade boot is one thing - I trust her intrinsically. Bali and I are... not there yet haha.

with a dinged up, ointment covered eye bc baby likes to play
But I honestly also really just enjoy spending time with him. I think he's freakin adorable and just wish that he would use his powers for good, not evil.

so he's just kind of a goofy horse
So the countdown is on now more than ever to start riding again. My leg can now take actual steps without the boot, and I'm actually sleeping without it entirely. But the boot stays on for pretty much everything else still until I am directed otherwise by my doctors (which might happen tomorrow!).

that tail tho!
And what a perfect way to get myself back in shape - nothing like legging up two horses to whip my muscles back up to snuff haha. Wish me (and Bali) luck!

30 comments:

  1. Fingers crossed that the boot is booted (bad joke I know but it's still early...) and hopefully Bali remembers work isn't terrible.

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    1. fingers and toes crossed! i think we'll get our wishes about the boot. and maybe we'll get lucky and Bali will come around too :)

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  2. Best of luck to all - i hope ye have fun getting fit together

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    1. thanks! it should be loads of fun :D

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  3. He looks so much nicer now :) amazing what a good haircut can do

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    1. right? now we just need to get him looking nicer under saddle lol. i just bought a bunch of pretty saddle pads tho so until he can actually *be* nice, we'll just dress him nicely

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  4. Good idea! He'll worm his way into other's hearts as well soon. I just know it. You're so good

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    1. i hope so!!! there are a couple kids who really do like them, but he's got to be a little bit more universally useful for the program to continue investing in him... fingers crossed!

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  5. Replies
    1. aw thanks, i just wish i could do more!

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  6. Grooming is always beneficial! We call it spa day, and I've not seen a horse that didn't enjoy it. And so happy you can get out there and partake!

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    1. me too! bali needs all the spa days he can get haha

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  7. I'm totally OCD about having horses look the part. I tend to go stall to stall and clip whiskers sometimes........

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    1. ha that's awesome! i actually didn't clip his whiskers this go round... but maybe next time!

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  8. What an improvement. I totally agree with you. If a horse looks better I'm more likely to give them a second chance.

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    1. yup. i kinda wish it wasn't true, but it is sorta like i'm trying to 'sell' bali to the program, and he's gotta look the part!

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  9. I hope you can get the boot off soon so you can start riding again! I hope you can start making progress with Bali again as well!

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  10. His little spa day has made him look much more professional. Great job!

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    1. lol thanks - i hope he starts feeling a little better about himself haha

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  11. Aww Bali! I think you did a stellar job with his haircut

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    1. he's got SO MUCH hair i figured it'd be hard to really truly royally screw it up... so eh good 'nuff!

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  12. Aw I hope he makes it through the program :)

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  13. You can do it! Bali can make it!

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  14. Replies
    1. he's just the sweetest tho, totally worth it :D

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