Sunday, March 9, 2008

Baby Boomer Dreams - Dandy's Story Chapter 4

Part 1

I think I rode the horse in that round pen for a month before I finally got the nerve to take him inside to the arena. It wasn't that he did anything that told me we needed to stay in the round pen, it was totally me and my fear. The confines of that sixty foot round pen seemed much safer to me than that huge indoor arena.

I finally did muster my courage and head towards the indoor arena. I think it was more the threat of the weather changing than me feeling comfortable. But regardless the day came that I took the horse into the arena to ride.

Now, I've always had this kind of deal with my horses. I don't longe them to death if they don't give me a hard time. Even at the start I only put the horse on the longe line long enough to kind of take its temperature. If the horse seems quiet and soft we just do a few laps each direction and then I get on.

After I've been riding them for a while, I rarely if ever longe. I've known too many good show horses whose careers have come to an end from hocks blown out by too many hours on the end of a longe. I know some trainers don't believe this is a real threat but I have to go with what I've seen. Horses spending an hour on the longe line at nationals trying to them tired seems to go hand and hand with arthritic hocks.

This particular arena has some quirks that make it tough for young horses. It's a dark building with a low metal roof and heavy metal doors that tend to creak and pop with the wind. In addition there are a few cats that seem to pick the most inopportune time to jump onto the rail or chase a mouse through the seats. Many a horse has wigged out in that place so the first order of business was putting Dandy on the longe to see how he dealt with this new strange place.

Dandy took to the arena like he took to everything else. Despite the fact he was the only horse in there when we started Dandy longed like he always does, looking at me like he's bored and a bit put out. There was no indication that he was concerned about being inside.

Once I got on the horse, it was more of the same. Dandy did everything I asked. I started off by just walking him around the perimeter with the flexing and bending exercises we started off every ride. The horse didn't act like he cared about much of anything except doing his job.

Soon a couple of quarter horse riders joined us in the arena. Dandy took the addition of two strange horses in stride as well. I was actually beginning to relax when all of a sudden storming through the gate came a spotted huge trotting pinto english pleasure horse with chains around its pasterns cutting straight across our path. The rider was bouncing. The horse was blowing. The chains were clanking. It sounded like a darn freight train coming straight at us.

Poor Dandy thought he was dead. His eyes bulged. He sucked in his breath and wheeled around. The horse was at the other end of the arena before I could even gather my reins up enough to stop him. The horse was absolutely terrified and the threat was not going away.

I grabbed my inside rein and pulled the horse down into a small circle until he finally came to a stop. His eyes were still bulged, his nostrils flared and his heart was pounding just as fast as mine. AND that crazy trotting horse was making another lap around the arena and heading our way.

My mind raced looking for some solution to this mess. There was no way I could safely get off this horse, let along get him out of the arena. Instead I guided Dandy to the center of the arena and there I told him "Whoa!" I asked my horse to stand quietly in the center while that demon horse streaked around the perimeter and that's exactly what he did.

I have to say if I could have gotten my hands on that rider, I would have strangled her. She had shown no concern or regard for anyone but herself. She rode that horse around the ring like she owned the place. Even later when confronted with the situation, she only laughed like it was all a big joke. I doubt she would see it the same way had she been the one on the green horse.

Poor Dandy was trembling so badly the two quarter horse riders could see him shaking from their vantage point on the rail. I could feel his heart pounding between my legs. They couldn't believe the horse stopped for me, let alone stood there all that time until the other horse finally left. And believe me it was no short or quiet ride by the time that monster horse was gone my poor baby horse was a lathered sweaty mess.

I gave him a few minutes to relax. Then I asked the horse to go back to the rail. He needed to cool out and relax. It seemed the best thing to do was to just keep walking him until he was finally settled. The horse did it because I asked him to but it was clear that he was reluctant at best. This experience had not been the best was to start off riding inside arenas. There was no way of knowing how much the horse might be scarred.

To be continued...........

Part 5

If Dandy had had his way, I know we would have made a quick exit from that arena, so I thought this picture of him leaving with Aidol best suited this post since I have no pictures from this time.

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  1. I'm enjoying following Dandy's story, and the fact that you were on your own in training him. I will be in that situation soon when the time comes to mount Gabbrielle for the first time. I like hearing about your challenges, how you handled them, and what you learned from them.

  2. This is a great story! I'm addicted! Why on earth the chains? I have never heard of that!

  3. It seems as if Dandy probably got his cue from you as how to react concerning that a** with the chains. What was she doing with chains on his legs anyway, she should be whipped for that and for having no consideration for other riders. I know how you must have felt, it has happened to me more times than I care to remember. One time someone actually ran their horse into my horses side she was so out of control.Some people should be banned from riding until they can learn manners. I am sure you were very proud of Dandy and I am sure since you kept your cool he wasn't affected in the least in his future arena work. I do agree with you about the lungeing also, no lungeing unless it is needed and then no more than 10-20 minutes at the most.

  4. Good for you and Dandy. What a GOOD boy!

  5. MiKael, that horse was The Perfect Horse for you to start off with in your training journey.

    You had my heart going there with the image of that frieght train horse with his inconsiderate owner blasting around the arena... all I could think was, "Oh No! Dirt Dart coming up..." Thank Heavens you took the time it took and biult a great relationship with Dandy!

    Keep the posts coming! Yours is the first blog I stop in and check every morning! ;)

  6. Wow, I missed alot being at work for only two nights. Chains around the pasterns? What? I can't stand inconsiderate people. sounds like you handled it well and it could have been a total disaster!

  7. nuzzling muzzles, thanks, I hope the journey with your mare will be a safe one.

    kim ayars, the chains are used by some in english pleasure to make the horse lift their front legs in a more animated fashion. The practice is frowned upon.

    grey horse matters, I was very proud of Dandy and he sure taught those QH riders something about Arabian horses. lol

    holly, he was a very good boy.

    mrs mom, yes I think the fact we were so bonded really helped in this situation.

    callie, the use of chains has never been something acceptable to me. This incident only reenforced my opinion.

  8. I have seen 3 and 5 gaited Standardbred horses with chains etc. for exaggerated movement. Also the use of air-horns and thus huge bits for control of a horse that is about to pop out of it's hide.
    Very, very good job with our Dandy boy.

  9. "a spotted huge trotting pinto english pleasure horse with chains around its pasterns cutting straight across our path. The rider was bouncing. The horse was blowing. The chains were clanking. It sounded like a darn freight train coming straight at us."

    HOLY CRAP! that would scare the bejeezuz outta ME.

    that rider on the spotted horse wasnt a 5ft round lady named Joanie by chance???? she sounds familiar....

    Dandy, poor fellow. You did right with him, I bet he got over that awful fright.

  10. Oh how I dislike those people that use the chains and stuff to make their horses do some unnatural gait. Your Dandy handled that situation as a gentleman which was no small feat under the circumstances! Some of my boys would have been on the ceiling with that going on!!!

    We are always looking for new and improved tote bags to make, different styles, with zippers , no zippers, lots of pockets , outside pockets, you name it. We just keep track of what sells the best and go with that for a while and then do a different style. The hooded towels are a HUGE seller, people with children just love them for home, camp, pool etc..I think we sell more of them then anything else. We only do a couple of fairs per year, I don't want to do too many, this is a hobby not a career so we try to keep it fun.

    I can't wait to go to the mini horse show in a few days in Florida. Be sure there will be many pictures!

    Took the shedding blade to Buddy today and got tons more hair off him. He's starting to look half way decent. Will be glad for summer when they are all shiny and groomed not fuzzy and bushy looking. Your pictures always look so nice, the horses are groomed to perfection. You must not live where it's cold in the winter or else you must blanket. I only have one blanketed this winter, he just didn't grow enough winter hair. He will be the easy one to shed out!

  11. molly, I have seen them some in Arabian circles but they are out of favor to say the least. This rider wouldn't care about such things however.

    barngoddess, not sorry, joanie is not the culprit here and when I heard that horse come charging through the door, it did really startle me but I didn't get much chance to think about how I felt, I had to get my horse under control. It was one of the scariest situations I've ever encountered.

    midlife mom, I think dandy would have gladly been on the ceiling if he could have figured out how to get there.

    Only doing a couple of shows sounds very smart. I did tons of them and was always out of things because I was stretched too thin.

  12. My gosh - the chains would have scared ME too!

    We have a painted pony that often scares horses at shows, etc. who haven't seen a paint, much less a little one - most of the time we try to keep him back if we see a horse actively spooking at him, and usually the riders ask if they can bring their horses over so they can de-monsterize the pony. :)

    Thanks for writing out Dandy's story - it is fascinating reading!