Ever have one of those days?!

B is a 9 year old red roan gelding. He was captured as an unhandled stallion on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. With 60 days training and lots of love and gentling under his belt, watch as he gains more confidence and experience to bloom into a perfect riding horse!

Ever have one of those days?!

Postby Juliane on Sun Aug 27, 2006 10:26 pm

On Friday, I took B, Sydney and Rory to the Fall City arena. Mandy and Tawny went with me. My intentions were to help guarantee a good match between horse and owner, by accompanying them to new and different situations.

I was able to guide Mandy in loading and unloading her horse, tying him to the trailer, brushing and tacking him up. She was interacting with him incredibly well and I couldn't have been prouder!

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We headed to the arena where I worked closely with Mandy and B, showing her how to lunge him on a lunge rope, without being inside the round pen. B listened perfectly and responded immediately to Mandy's requests. I was starting to relax, feeling like this was a perfect match!

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I had Mandy work with B on the ground quite a bit longer than usual, partly because I was also working with Tawny and Sydney, but also because I wanted to see how they would continue to work with each other if I wasn't there to help alleviate any frustrations they might encounter.

It seemed like they were doing well, so after about 20 minutes, I felt they were both at a good place for Mandy to mount up and ride around the arena. As they rode around, I couldn't help but stand back and grin, feeling proud of myself as a trainer and a matchmaker between horse and human.

Then the frustrations came... The reins I had on the bridle for B were too short for his long neck. Mandy was asking him to move forward, while barely holding up the reins, which was causing B to be confused. He is very sensitive to the slightest pressure on his mouth, so even though she wasn't pulling back, the pressure was there, which caused B not to move forward. Since I was busy working with Tawny and Sydney, I wasn't able to easily stop and fix the problem. So my resolution was to tell Mandy to keep her hands as low as possible, keeping as much slack in the reins as possible.

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This worked for a short while, but I could tell that Mandy was getting frustrated. At one point, she suggested she should just get off because B wasn't acting right. I took that as a sign that I needed to fix her reins so that she could enjoy her ride.

I took a lead rope and attached to his bit, giving her reins that worked much better. She rode around seeming much happier and more relaxed. By this time, I had worked with Tawny and Sydney for quite some time and felt that they were both ready to be on their own.

As Tawny and Mandy rode around the arena, I stood there taking it all in. How could we all have gotten so lucky? Just then, something spooked B, causing him to lurch forward. He didn't buck, didn't take off, just scooted forward. However, Sydney was about 10 feet in front of him, and spooked at him lurching forward and took off at a dead run across the arena. It's important to note here that neither horse was bucking, exploding or acting up. They were just running across the arena. Both Mandy and Tawny were doing a great job staying on and it looked like things were going to be fine as Sydney saw me standing there and veered towards me.

Just then, her saddle slipped, causing Tawny to go tumbling off. As soon as Mandy saw Tawny fall off, she decided to bail and jumped off of B, landing at my feet! Boy, that girl is quite an acrobat! She was surprised and shocked at having come off of B, but was unhurt. As I checked on Tawny, Mandy went and got B and brought him back. While Tawny caught her breath, I had Mandy get back on and ride B around a bit, keeping close to them.

In the end, it was a good experience for Mandy, though I was filled with self doubt. Am I making a mistake by placing B with a young girl? Is there anything I can be doing better to ensure this is a good match?

I am taking B to the Fall City arena tomorrow for a good, solid ride. I intend to put him through his paces and make sure he's doing well.
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Postby cat_67 on Mon Aug 28, 2006 10:29 am

Think back to when we were that age. We rode lots of crazy horses, half the time we rode them bareback! Sometimes we came off and if we did, we laughed and jumped back on. If she's that kind of kid, she isn't going to have a problem with him. If she's the kind that gets scared, then it's the wrong match. How she reacts to this experience will tell you which she is.

However, I do think any kid with a horse needs to be in lessons. Not just riding around, but in structured lessons with a good trainer no less than 1x/week. And Sydney probably needs to stay with you and do another 30-60 days of professional training before she's ready to go home. Perhaps you can suggest that to the parents?
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Postby Rachelle on Mon Aug 28, 2006 10:55 am

I think the lesson idea is a good one. Maybe you could find a trainer close to them (if you can't do it yourself) and suggest that to the parents. Mandy doesn't sound like a kid who's afraid to come off a horse a time or two just inexperienced. A lesson a couple times a week might be a good thing and then at other times she can work with him herself at home. You can teach a lot of things to someone and alot of things they just have to learn on thier own. Practice is needed and practicing never stops. I think they'll do good together.
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Postby rodeo51 on Mon Aug 28, 2006 11:23 am

Question? What did B do when she came flying off of him?
I am concerned that you have a green kid on a horse that still needs miles. B is a wonderful horse, but I don't think this is the last time your going to see him do something like this. If she isn't afraid of him after bailing....thats a good thing. :D I remember when Rick said...B needs miles...lots of miles. :)
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Postby Juliane on Mon Aug 28, 2006 11:48 am

B just kept following Sydney until they both stopped about 100 feet away. He never bucked or acted up.

He does need lots of miles! I believe Mandy may come to the arena tonight, so we can see how they are together again. I am also hoping to be on a horse so I can ride next to her and coach her from horseback, as well as make riding fun, rather than just 'lessons'.

Cross your fingers for us!
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Postby rodeo51 on Mon Aug 28, 2006 3:31 pm

Did you ever figure out what spooked B?
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Postby Altanera on Mon Aug 28, 2006 3:55 pm

I think its a fine match. If you can not ride a spook what kinda rider are you?? She has got to learn and scooting foward is not bad. It seems to me that once sydney spooked then B got a little more freaked out, but as you said yourself Mandy bailed, B did not throw her. I think it will be a fine match. Even the dead broke quiet horses will spook like that from time to time.
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Postby tmoore on Mon Aug 28, 2006 4:04 pm

I bet given some time, and more time with you, Mandy and B will be fine. It sounds like had Sydney not spooked and taken off, B would have just spooked and been ok for Mandy. Maybe Sydney just needs to have a little more time in the saddle with you plus some more exposure to "scary things". She has such a great personality, it really is only about getting a few more miles in the saddle for her :)
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Postby baboo on Mon Aug 28, 2006 7:34 pm

from your description, I read that even though B spooked, Mandy spooked too.. She decided to bail when she saw Tawny fall... had Tawny not fallen, she probably would have stayed on.
Heck, good thing he spooked. Better she had that experience with you around than by herself!
I agree that they need lots of miles together..
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Postby schwung on Mon Aug 28, 2006 8:23 pm

To me, the answer lies in how the falls affected both Tawny and Mandy. If they were scared, upset, lost confidence, that's one thing. If they were ready to get back on and learn from their mistakes, well then I think they both realize that they have some learning to do (as we all do) and it can only improve from there.

I hate to say this but, I wish I would have seen them both wearing hard hats. I know you aren't really into them, but I worry about the liability issues with green horses/green riders. I don't like them either, but I will wear one with a green horse, and I've ridden all my life.
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Postby Rex Paperd on Mon Aug 28, 2006 8:35 pm

Yep, I agree with all of the above. Mandy and Tawny both learned from this experience and though Tawny wound up a bit sore, they are both eager to keep learning and to get back to their horses.

I have been thrown, slipped off, been rubbed off and even fallen asleep and fell off and I learned something each time. The key as mentioned above is that neither horse did anything really unusual or unexpected. In the hands of an experienced rider each horse would simply have been reigned in and redirected. The horses and riders both need more experience and that can only come with time.

Have no doubt in yourself Julie, you are doing a great deal for both horses and both ladies. This is a no harm done lesson that they all needed and it happened in the best of environments. It is a testament to your qualities that each has the opportunity to develop with a dab of adversity as it should be. The matches are good!!
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Postby pdevlieg on Tue Aug 29, 2006 8:18 am

Okay Rex - I just have to ask...how do you fall asleep and fall off a horse? :wink:

One of the most important parts of riding is learning to fall correctly! I spent one whole day having my girls bail off of their horses to learn how fall without getting hurt (now I need to practice that again!)

Horses will at time act unpredictably. Riders of all ages and abilities need to be aware of that and feel comfortable with their ability to work with the animal. I think by you being with them when this happened and hopping right on Sydney, you are only helping them become better riders and more importantly, better horse people all around!
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Postby Rachelle on Tue Aug 29, 2006 8:30 am

I have to know too, how do you fall asleep on a horse and fall off?

I had a horse fall asleep while I was riding her... just plodding along and realized her eyes were closed. Now that's trust. :D

I've been pulled off and pushed off and even brushed off a horse, but I've never fallen asleep on one. Just this last year I was bucked off for the first time. I thought the horse was falling so I got ready to bail and he decided to buck and I went off. Then he just stood there and snickered at me. I got up and got back on - needed help to do so- but I got back on.

Take a tumbling class and learn how to fall and roll and all that good stuff. It helps alot.
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Postby shireluver on Tue Aug 29, 2006 12:27 pm

I've fallen asleep on horse, but I didn't fall off :wink:

It's easy to do when you've been on the trail for hours, the rhythm just lulls you right to sleep :D
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Postby Juliane on Tue Aug 29, 2006 3:34 pm

LOL Boy, I'd sure love to see a picture of that, Rex! Falling asleep on a horse!!! :lol:

Anyways, I brought B down to the arena last night since I had to work Rory anyhow. I saddled B up and left him tied to the trailer as I went off to school Rory. 45 minutes later, I headed back and B was standing there patiently. What a good boy! :)

I took him out to the arena and worked with him on the ground for a few short minutes, before deciding to get on. As usual, B was very well behaved and did exactly as I asked as we lunged in both directions. I was bit more abrupt, pushing him harder, than Mandy is with him. He was more on edge, snorting often, but I appreciated that he was paying close attention to me.

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I got on and started working him, but immediately noticed that he braced to the pressure of the reins, rather than giving to it. He's not been like this before, so I was pretty confused. I adjusted his headstall, as it seemed a bit tight, and then got back on and worked him some more. He was better, but still seemed to ignore my requests. After using some sharp leg and hand reinforcements, he was quickly bending and giving to the pressure again. I don't know why he was the way he was, though am wondering if it has to do with the bit.

When Sarah brought him to my house, she said that he'd primarily been ridden in a full cheek snaffle. I had switched his bit to a french link (dog bone) training snaffle with very slight shanks.

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He seemed to work with it very well, though perhaps while he and Mandy are getting to know eachother, I should put him back in the snaffle? I will pull him out in the next day or two and work him in the snaffle bit to see how he works.

We were able to successfully work last night at the arena, as we walk/trotted/cantered in both directions. He's an excellent horse that tries hard, but does tend to get an 'appy' stubborn attitude occaisionally.

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When Mandy showed up, I was relieved and happy to hear that she was eager to ride B. I quickly got off and gave him to her. However, it didn't take us long to see that the tack I had on him wasn't going to work well for Mandy. Even at the shortest settings, the stirrups on my Bob Marshall saddle were too long for her. And, the reins were still too short.

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I was very proud when Mandy decided to get off and work on the ground, rather than push herself and B to the point of frustration when the ill-fitting tack was likely the issue.

My farrier, Dan, was at the arena with me and helped Mandy with some pointers on working with B on the ground. I am not very good at instructing her, so I was grateful for his help!

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I think Mandy and B are going to be just fine, though we need to resolve the tack situation soon :) I wonder if she'd fit properly in Cassidy's pony saddle? :P
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