Monday, January 17, 2011

I stand on 4 feet

Busy weekend, like I am sure everyone had.  Why do they go by so fast and why do we always have so much to do during them?  Rode the TWH on the road, as I haven't found actual trails here yet, there is a nice "block" that takes about 45 mins to ride.  Had a good ride, even towards the end.  Heard snowmobilers coming up a road had I just came off of.  Of course they turned my direction.

Now some quick backstory, the TWH was bought by a lady who used to lease my Appy.  She wanted a horse of her own, I didn't think she was ready but said if she insisted on getting one, have me look at it.  Instead she brought another friend and ended up with a padded horse-throw away, bred by the president of TWHBEA.  Probably ridden at 18 months, his front pasterns clicked, he was a little jumpy and very green, he was 3.  I told her she needed to really train him as he was green, that was the last I saw of him for 6 months.
One day I got a call from her, she was pretty upset.  She had moved the TWH to a TWH show barn, they had brought him to a show and the TWH had reared and flipped.  Barn wanted him put down as a dangerous horse but she didn't want to because she loved him, could I come take a look and give my opinion before she had the vet out?  Went out and saw the horse, he had heavy shoes with heel caulks, wore a saddle that didn't fit and was riding in either a bicycle chain shanked bit or a double twisted wire long shanked bit.  I tried to touch the reins and he immediately reared up and was very tense.

I advised her I would only try this if we did it my way and switched over to a copper mouth snaffle with some draw reins as a safety.  Anytime his head went straight up, I pulled the draw reins so his head went to his chest.  If his head was normal, I left him alone.  Worked for about 30 mins trying to explain to the TWH that legs do not mean hurry up, the bit won't hurt and there isn't any reason to rear if I touch the bit.  When done riding, I showed her marks on his mouth where his lips had been cut from the bits he was being ridden in.  I explained he was rearing because he hurt, he wasn't dangerous.

She had me start working with him once per week, eventually moving to the barn I was at, I worked with him 2-3 times per week , progressed to close to full time and he was basically my 2nd horse and she paid the bills.  His training came along quite well however his biggest issue was rearing.  He would rear when spooked, rear if the question was too hard, rear just because.  I hit the ground more times with the white beast more then the number of times I've fallen off of my Appy which I've had for over 15 yrs.  Finally, a couple years later, the rearing was cured.  I moved to Michigan and she sent the TWH to live with me.  Back to the original story.

I stopped the TWH and turned to face the snowmobilers.  They ride the roads and around all the time, perhaps it wouldn't be too bad for my spooky horse?  As they approached, they did what I dreaded.  They revved their engines and accelerated.  TWH raised his head and tucked his butt as he walked forward a few steps, a quick tug brought his head down and back under control in less than 3 seconds.  As I watched the snowmobilers, they then glanced back to see the chaos they tried to create.  Thankfully all was good by the time they looked, just a nice quietly standing horse.  Thank you TWH for standing on 4 feet during your first really big spook in over a year. I am proud of you.

1 comment:

  1. I hate people like those snowmobilers and the people at that show barn. It's unbelievable that people can be so stupid!

    I'm glad the TWH (does he have a name?) made you proud. It sounds like you've done a lot of great work with him to get him to where he is now. I'm glad he ended up with you. It's sad what they put him through.