Monday, December 16, 2019

Saddest TB Ever Goes Xmas Caroling

So..... We finally found something Charlie's, uh, not very good at, haha. It's a shame, too, bc I had such high hopes. Sigh.

sad but cute <3
Basically every year our farm puts together a big group of horses and kids to go ride out into the neighborhood singing christmas carols.

It's been a tradition for many years at this point, and all the neighborhood folks come out to listen -- and bring with them big bags of carrots and other horsey snacks.

getting charlie to stand for pictures is.... challenging haha
It's unbelievably cute, and obviously super fun. We didn't go last year bc something else was scheduled for the same day (can't even remember at this point, maybe we went schooling?? or to a lesson??). And the year before is even murkier in my memory, but Charlie was probably still recovering from Surgery so that was also a miss.

hard to tell but Royal over there is wearing a crown and a tie!
This year was finally our time to shine tho!! Literally, haha. Charlie was decked out from head to tail in shiny silver tinsel. And looked extremely dashing, if you asked me.

i had visions of handing out candy canes to neighborhood kids like some sort of benevolent elf
I also outfitted a breastplate with a bunch of bells so that with every step we made the most satisfying little jingles <3 <3 <3

things started off very calmly with everyone gathering in the dressage ring
And while I thought we looked pretty cute, we were massively under dressed compared to some of my barn mates haha. Everyone really went all out, and the horses looked ahmazing omg haha.

so cute tho, right??
We were also super lucky that while it's been raining and icky for basically the entire past week, on this day we had strong sun and temps hovering around the low 50s. Perfect!

charlie was all aboard the "trail ride with bells" idea!!
And honestly everything started out pretty well. Some horses were a bit skeeved out from the very beginning, but Charlie was fine. And I expected him to be fine - he's got a lot of experience riding in groups and being in the middle of swarming chaos at horse shows and hunter paces and paper chases etc.

pictured: happy and relaxed and able to take my hands off the reins...
I think the trigger that flipped his switch tho was having it all happen at home. Especially in this one front cross country field that we spend a lot of time in galloping around and jumping things.

Charlie was totally fine hacking out sorta kinda around the front of the group (homeboy has long legs and every now and again puts them to good use in striding out), but when we turned around to face back toward the barn and line up for pictures.... Well, reality really sunk in for this horse.

right about the moment that charlie starting feeling... very unsure about this whole thing. see the running shetlands??
He saw all these people and horses coming up behind us, making all that noise, looking oh so very unusual, and ..... basically became overwhelmed with despair. This must certainly be the end!

lining up for pictures! we were smack in the middle of a big long line
Lol.... Poor Charlie. His suffering knows no end, guys. He's a good boy tho and other than standing up VERY TALL and pricking his ears VERY HARD, he held it together for all the pictures and everything.

really tho, the longer you look the cuter it gets <3
Somehow, tho, he never really settled after that, which really kind of surprised me. Had I known that he'd continue to vibrate with nervous energy for the entire ride, I probably would have just skipped out after pictures were finished.

As it was, tho, I totally expected him to settle into the ride. And he totally did not.

it's hard to tell with a "between the ears" shot, but charlie is VERY TALL in this moment haha, basically standing on his tippy toes
Still tho, it was such a good group and so much fun!

Obviously I would have preferred if Charlie were a bit more relaxed about the whole thing, but he basically just danced and jigged and snorted and flung his head, but otherwise went where I put him and stayed out of the way and didn't trample anybody.

omg tho. it's kinda weird but i'm so intensely jealous of the childhoods some of these kids get!!
The format was: waiting for our stewards (on foot and in a kubota) to help us all cross the roads safely, then wandering down the neighborhood roads until we reached any families who came out to meet us.

Then we'd hang around that house long enough to sing through a couple christmas carols, and let the kids pet ponies and hand out carrots and stuff. Charlie, for his part, appreciated the carrots, altho I mostly kept him off to the edges of the activities.

charlie's ears could not be pricked any harder omg
At one point I felt so badly for the horse that I just opted to hop off and walk him for a while. This did help keep him a little more flat footed (vs jigging) and he stopped sweating. Tho he still kinda wanted to dance around me and wasn't being super respectful of my space.

Eventually tho he chilled enough where I figured I'd hop back on for the ride back. Good boy did in fact let me use a kubota to get back on (even tho all the other horses were walking away, oh no!), but went right back to jigging once I was in the irons. Sigh.

finally hacking back home, trying to avoid anyone bolting to the gate... sadly, some chaos did ensue, but luckily everyone involved was fine
I swear, I haven't jigged that much since the Isabel days lol. Honestly I'm kinda shocked that Charlie didn't wear himself out! He was still tho very good.

Despite being on his tippy toes and shod on all four in steel shoes walking up and down asphalt roads, spooking internally at every mail box and storm drain cover, he never took one bad or scary step. Never slipped or tripped or did anything that made me worry for our actual safety. He was just.... totally overcooked between his ears lol.

ok charlie, so you're not a great parade horse. that's fine, you're allowed to not be perfect at everything <3
Oh well, it was a nice idea for a fun day. I felt kinda bad that Charlie couldn't relax at all during the ride, but I was very proud of how he held it together anyway. I'm glad we did it tho!! We just... probably won't do it again haha.

Or at least, maybe not at home. I bet Charlie would have been different if we had started off in a totally unfamiliar location. Like, then he would have just accepted everything as it was instead of recognizing how "unusual" his normal haunts suddenly looked.

Still tho. It was mostly fun anyway. Esp for all the kids and their ponies!! And most of the horses seemed totally fine too. And hey, at least we got pictures, right?

Anyone else gonna give caroling or a parade riding with your horse a chance this season? Or maybe just a more low key trail ride with friends? Think your horse would like it or be totally sketched out like Charlie was??

27 comments:

  1. I took Bridget out caroling a couple of years ago and it was so fun! Worth noting though, in a barn full of lesson horses who hack out on those same streets all year, there are always a couple who just.cant.even with the caroling. Charlie isn't alone in his feelings!

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    1. oh man it's so fun tho!! i'm glad we did it ;) and proud of charlie for managing to keep his lid on despite his spiraling sense of impending woe haha

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  2. Pig used to live in a neighborhood, and it took him forever to be okay with kids and bikes and (oh the horror) those painted "trot pole" lines on the road. �� Of course, piggy is much less even keeled than Charles, tho.

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    1. oh man, yea neighborhoods are such a different experience for horses!! there's so much more... 'unnatural' stuff going on! charlie actually has a fair amount of experience there.... but somehow is day kinda came unraveled before we even got to the neighborhood - like when we turned around in the first xc field and he saw this giant crowd of ponies and people coming up behind us and just like.... lost it a little bit haha. it's always what you least expect with horses i guess!!

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  3. Poor Charlie. I know how he feels. I just spent the weekend watching Nay Nay try SO HARD to keep his brain inside his skull. It's SO HARD to keep it together! Life is rough. Caroling is even rougher!

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  4. That looks so fun! What a large group too. I'm planning a Christmas Eve trail ride, where Uno will most certainly be decorated. Sadly we don't have any riding friends to go with (#horsekeepingathome) so I'm getting non-horsey friends to hike with us. It should be fun!

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    1. aw that does sound fun - get lots of pictures!! it's definitely fun to get a little group together too, tho the group on this day was possibly a little bit *too* big for charlie haha

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  5. You have the best barn mates and horsey friends always out doing cool new things like the paper chases and now caroling. Poor charlie though. He said he wanted to go jompies in his favorite field not sing and deal with tiny people and ponies.

    I have no idea how Eeyore would handle it. He surprises me all the time with what he deems acceptable. Gem would lose her mind in 30 seconds.

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    1. this barn where charlie lives has a lot of really awesome traditions, and is really focused on the whole "kids having fun with ponies" thing, which really makes it a pretty special place. it feels pretty lucky to get to tag along on some of these outings too, altho charlie was definitely "that horse" on this particular day, whoops haha. i wonder what isabel would have done but honestly i bet she would have been fine too maybe?? who knows!

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  6. omg this is so fun. I would totally do this!!

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    1. right??? maybe next year i'll steal a shetland to go with haha

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  7. I love this! I mean, not the part about Charlie being all teen angsty, but the rest! Love all of the outfits. Sounds mostly fun. I think Eros would probably deal with the chaos so long as there aren't any puddles anywhere. The other two I'm not so sure about...

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    1. lol omg the teen angst was so real tho! which was funny bc usually charlie is such a ham! i'm sure Eros would have been fine - it was all quite dry on nicely manicured pavement ;)

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  8. Oh Charlie - just a little too much Christmas all at once, LOL.

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    1. lol poor guy couldn't figure out why all this jingle jangly bespangled ponies were chasing him across the neighborhood!

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  9. haha Charlie - too much going on, I guess? lol I love all of the tinsel and cute costumes! I rode in a few parades as a kid and it always felt 1 step away from chaos...or I'm just a nervous Nellie...lol Spencer could've handled it, except for the bells. He hated sleigh bells. Fred - not so sure. I feel like Copper would be the best at that sort of stuff!

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    1. aw haha, i believe it! and yea this definitely had moments of feeling like things were barely under control. i felt really bad since charlie was definitely the worst of the bunch, but i don't think he really set off any other horses, so at least that was something?

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  10. Poor Charlie -- he's usually such a solid guy, too. My lesson barn is doing caroling this year but I'm not planning on taking Bird -- nobody wants to hear me sing, for sure, and it's a haul with not a lot of actual riding. (He's been to parades, was fine.) We did go out on Sunday with excessive wind for a desensitization ride in the Ring Of Horrors at the boarder barn and he was a damn trooper for that, handing over his basic Remedial Jog regardless of the environmental challenges.

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    1. lol i promise nobody wanted to hear me sing either!! and yea it was fun and all but i'm not sure i'll go again in future years. it was a lot of time spent kinda just sitting around lol, and obviously was extremely emotionally taxing for the poor poor pony..... sigh

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  11. Awwww poor Charles, not in charge! Sounds like he was still being good or trying to be he best he could be haha

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    1. oh man, 100% not in charge lololol! but yes he was trying very very very very hard to be good, while also trying very very very very hard to help get through my thick skull that this was definitely 100% not a normal activity lol...

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  12. The barn I used to ride at as a kid did this. Not sure I'd do with with Cupid though - he's a good boy but I'm a little hesitant to ride in large groups!

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  13. i have a feeling Remus would be like Charlie in this aspect. so I would have to do a hard pass. I remember that time on Fair Hill when we had mules go by with jingle bells on a narrow pass. He almost lost his damn mind t hough he kept it together (but he was trembling the whole time they passed, due to the weirdness of the mules or the bells who knows)! HA

    Happy Holidays Emma!!

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  14. Gah, I know that feeling! At least he's super handsome :)

    Leo is a definite no for something like that. P, on the other hand, would obvi be fine as long as I was wearing some sort of inflatable costume myself.

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  15. This is so hilarious. Poor Charlie: WHAT IS GOING ON? ARE WE CIRCUS PONIES NOW? WHAT IS THAT CATERWAULING?! SOMEONE SAVE ME!

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  16. Sounds like it just wasn't his day! Super cute group and idea though!!

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