Friday, April 4, 2008

Baby Boomer Dreams - Dandy's Story - The Next Schooling Show Part 2

Part 1

I wanted to take the Arabian horse in another class to counter this bad experience. I checked with the gate person to find a smaller, hopefully calmer class to try. Thankfully the horses in the arena this time were behaving better. Dandy was good except when it came time to lope. The horse didn't want to go. It took some serious urging on my part to get him into the lope at all. Then each time a horse came near my Arabian horse broke.

I didn't want to leave it at that so I decided I would school the horse in the outdoor arena. Even being out there without other horses around him, the horse would not lope for me when I asked. I finally ended up resorting to using the ends of my reins and slapping him on the butt to get him to move into it.

Dandy has never liked a crop and he sure didn't like me slapping him with the ends of those reins. It only took a couple of times and the horse was loping off immediately when he was cued. Then it seemed to be going really well until another horse tried to join us.

I knew that this horse was near his limit but I thought just one time getting it right and we would go. I needed the horse to lope around other horses that he didn't know. I should have listened to that little voice that said the horse had had enough but I didn't.

Dandy is such a talented horse that I had always said if the horse decided he didn't want to do something or maybe even if he decided to dump me, there would be nothing I could do to stop him. Keeping this in mind I have always tried to be sure that I didn't push him past that point that leads to such things. But for some reason I forgot the logic of that thinking on this fateful day.

I asked the horse to lope right next to this other horse that had just arrived. Dandy soundly refused so I smacked him with the reins. My horse went forward and into the lope but broke again as soon as we got near the strange horse. Again I slapped the reins at him and again he loped off only to stall again nearing the other horse.

I just kept working at it until I finally had him loping right by that horse. Just as I figured we had things worked out another horse came out into the arena. This horse just happened to be the horse that had kicked out at Dandy.

The poor Arabian horse just couldn't take the stress. He put on the brakes so abruptly he threw me forward and my hands slammed into his neck. But Dandy thought I was reaching for the reins to smack his butt again. That was it for him.

The horse had had it with this whole show and with me. He let lose, even with his head cranked around to me knee, with a buck like he was from a prize bucking string. The horse threw me so high my feet hit the top of the saddle and I was still travelling up! I had enough time before I hit the ground to even think to save my cowboy hat from falling into the mud.

My fried horse ran off leaving me in a puddle. I landed smack dab on my tush. The footing was not the softest but I was not hurt. My pride was a bit bruised but my body was in pretty good shape. I was a bit stiff, but at my age that's a given if you fall off, let alone if you are bucked off.

As I struggled to my feet, still trying to keep my cowboy hat from getting wrecked, a couple of bystanders rushed to my side to help me up.Others who had seen the incident where standing with their mouths open wide and looks of amazement on their faces still staring at the place it had happened probably replaying it in their minds.

No one could believe the horse had launched me as high into the atmosphere as he had. Once they realized that I was OK, they all began talking at once about what they had just witnessed. All I wanted to do was find my horse but I couldn't even get through the crowd surrounding me. Everyone wanted to talk and I wanted to find my horse.

In those days I had a little old white generic looking horse trailer, one of the two horse ones with a manger and tack storage underneath. Dandy was found in the parking lot running up to each horse trailer that resembled ours. The horse stopped, smelled the trailer and then ran off when he realized it wasn't the right one going on to the next similar looking trailer until he finally found ours.

That's where my friend finally caught up with him, standing behind our horse trailer trying to shove the door open with his nose. My Arabian horse clearly wanted to go home! The friend caught my horse and brought him back up to me at the practice arena. She showed up about the time I had finally pushed my way through the crowd of people asking all kinds of questions about Dandy.

It was funny actually. Most of those people were so impressed by his athletic ability, they wanted to know his bloodlines and other pertinent things about him as a horse. It didn't seem to matter to them that he had bucked me off, it was how he had done it that impressed them. No one seemed to be worried about his disposition. Most had seen what had happened to him in the arena in the first place so were already impressed with his tolerance of difficult situations.

I was relieved to see that my horse looked none the worse for wear. My friend had calmed him on this return to the ring. The look on his face when he saw me did tell he knew he had done wrong. I could tell he was worried about what was coming next.

As much as I wanted to just leave it at that and take the horse home, I just couldn't do it. Dumping me was not a good thing, I couldn't have that be the last word of the day. I climbed back on board for a brief spin despite my feeling of uneasiness.

I decided from the start I would work at reassuring the horse. I had let him down after all. It wasn't the other way around. I walked the horse in a circle talking to him and soothing him with my voice. Once he finally relaxed I asked him to jog and then I asked him to lope. One circle and we stopped. It was time to take my boy home and figure out what should come next after this big wreck.

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

Moving On

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  1. Oh girl! Glad you were not hurt and you got back on. Keep it up!

  2. He really did want to go home! I love that he went to your trailer and tried to load himself. Very smart horse.

  3. This is nice work. I like everything about the horses -- light color, shadow, texture.

    I hope you can visit my blog and read about my hospital visit.

    Abraham Lincoln in Brookville, Ohio.

  4. I know just what you mean about pushing an Arabian's boundaries too far. The smart ones just will not put up with it. My great little Crabbet mare I had as a girl only ever bucked me off once.

    I was in a "mood" about something and wasn't taking my usual time and routine. I was impatient and mad about whatever else had gone on in my day. I cued her into a fast canter as soon as we set on the trail and she dumped me on my impatient rear end quicker than I could blink. Then just stood there looking at me like: are you going to play nice now?

    Dandy sounds like a great personality too. I've been enjoying his show story.

  5. I'll bet there isn't a rider here who hasn't made this same mistake. "just one more time" probably gets us in more trouble than any other thought process.

  6. What a dream horse! You did right by him getting him out of there after that once around.

  7. I think we have all made this mistake at some point. Sounds like Dandy weathered it well. One of the pleasure horse trainers that I worked for years ago used to haul all of the futurity colts to any show close to home. We weren't allowed to show but we rode the colts all over and in the warm-up pens to get them used to all of the activity around them. Some of these colts would get really scared having other horses passing them or coming at them. It could get a little hairy because some of them you just didn't know what they were going to do. Now, I do this with all of my horses.
    So glad neither you or Dandy were hurt...looking forward to the next segment because I have a feeling this talented horse turns into a phenominal show horse.

  8. kris, I was glad I wasn't hurt either and to be honest, I was surprised. That was one of the weirdest things that has happened to me. It was almost like I was travelling in slow motion.

    billie, yes, he is a very smart horse and he sure made it clear what he wanted. lol

    abraham, I will check in and catch up on your hospital stay. I'm glad that you are home now.

    ranchette, you're right, you can't push Arabians past their limits. They will not stand for it. Your mare sounds like she was a character.

    holly, I'm totally with you on that one. Knowing when to quit is really important.

    molly, he will always be a very special horse to me. You guys are yet to learn how really special he is though. This horse has truly an amazing story.

    browneyedcowgirls, I have seen other trainers do that as well. Just ride the horses around the grounds and in the warm-up but not ever take them into a class. It's really helpful for the horses to get that exposure without the trauma poor Dandy went through.

  9. great photo.

    Dandy is a wonderful trooper.....very smart :)

    you are too!

  10. I don't think I would have pressed Dandy that far into ejecting me 5 feet out of the saddle, and landing on my butt, and then getting back on to ride! lol. I'd probably just go home and try tomorrow. But thankfully I never have to press my Dandy into loping/trotting. I could just make those kissing sounds at him, and he starts trotting, and another kiss will get him cantering. The only thing that takes me awhile, is to get him to jog on the lounge lines. He's walking on them, and then once he gets bored, then I can then get him going faster. And I can now saddle and cinch and tighten him all up all by myself now! I am so excited and impressed with myself!

    Also, are Arabians, Thoroughbreds, and Quarter Horses hotbloods? I imagine Arabs and TB's are, but I am just not 100% sure with the QH's. They are the fastest horse for a quarter mile, but their temperments are really mellow too. But I guess there are some really fast and mellow Arabs too. Dandy is pretty mellow too, (but there are some annoying things that he does.) and he is FAST FAST FAST! like when I put him in the arena and get the whip out, and get him going, he is like, fast as lightening! and it's so beautiful to watch too, with his tail all erect, and sometimes, he arches his neck just so. It's amazing to watch this 20 yr old Arab go!

  11. Wow, that sounds like a great acrobatic buck off, happy to hear you weren't hurt and neither was your hat! Dandy is a really smart guy to have found his own trailer and tell you that's enough mom I want to go home. Still it was good to end on a high note. We always used to take the young ones to shows just to let them get the feel of it without showing.Looking forward to more Dandy news.

  12. That is amazing that Dandy went to look for his own trailer! I love that! I'm glad you weren't hurt, that was quite a buck! You were brave to get back on!

  13. That sounds like an impressive buck. Dandy had made up his mind that he wasn't going to pass another horse at a lope, and no one was going to convince him otherwise.