Monday, November 24, 2008

Getting Started......and then there's Percy Part 2

Part 1

At the point where Richard decided to put another line on the horse, Percy had evaded Richard by coming straight towards the man or circling around but mostly on top of him whenever the horse was asked to move. Every attempt to block the horse or send him away from Richard was met with resistance and some times an explosion.

I can remember watching this and remembering John Lyon's saying "the hardest horse to train is one that will not move." That is exactly what Percy was doing. The horse was closing the doors Richard was trying to open for him faster than Richard could even get a handle on those doors. It was a frustrating exchange to watch.

I have to admit that I have experience with running two lines on a horse. While I've never used it in quite the way Richard did with Percy, I have used the method to teach a young stallion how to breed. Having two lines gives the handlers the opportunity to put some distance between them and the horse while controlling the horse and still keeping everyone safe. It takes a little getting used to but really does help to control an over excited horse.

While Percy was not over excited in the same manner as a young horse learning to breed, he was using his brain just about as much. All that the horse could think about was protecting himself. He was willing to do whatever it took to get that accomplished regardless of his human handlers.

When Richard put the second line onto the Arabian horse, Jessica was at the other end of that rope. However, the horse's evasions were too much for Jessica on her own. She was unable to keep the tension needed to aid in controlling the horse. Before you know it Richard had asked Megan to assist.

The whole time this threesome was trying to get the horse to wear down some and settle they were making their way all over the arena. Which direction they moved next seemed to be totally determined by the horse but my guess is it was also being dictated by pressure on those lines.

At one point they had reached the far corner of the arena, Jessica and Megan were between Percy and the wall with Richard on the other side. I remember thinking from my vantage point that it looked like they were getting into a dangerous situation. The closer they got to that wall the less room the girls had to avoid this horse if he should decide to come their way.

Just about that time I saw Percy rear up and turn towards the girls. There was lots of screaming and Richard somehow managed to pull Percy out of the air away from the girls and towards him.

I learned later that Jessica had been surprised by an unexpected release in pressure from the horse which caused excessive slack and threw her off balance. That slack allowed the horse to move more freely. He raised up and turned towards that release trying to escape but found himself going right over the top of both girls. Megan who also had a hold of that line then had frozen in fear.

Richard's adrenaline had kicked in and he'd managed enough strength to pull the young horse off balance and save the two young women. It was really a scary moment but things didn't stop there. This horse was still trying to escape.

It would seem that it should have been easy to just stop. But the fact was the horse was behaving erratically. The horse had no way of understanding what had just happened and letting go. All he could think of was getting free.

Sharp tones from Richard's voice instantly brought both girls back on task. All were again wrestling with this frightened horse trying to get him calmed down and under control......and everyone, including the horse, safe.

I don't think it was long after that Percy finally gave up. The horse refused to lay down but he was willing to stand and let any of the three people working on him approach. Richard took advantage of the situation to put dead weight in the saddle hoping it would carry over for another day.

I don't think there was anyone watching or involved in this event who didn't feel spent after it was over......that includes the horse. Richard, Megan, Jessica and Percy were all exhausted and sweaty.

But something had changed....... I noticed Percy was now following Richard just like his brothers, Tag and Louie, had done after their first meeting with him. Whatever it looked like to us, it seemed to make sense to my horse.

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

Day 2

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  1. Percy seems to be coming around slowly. I'm sure by the end of his sessions he'll be a model student.

  2. Grey Horse, you are right about that. Percy started off very slowly and I'm pretty sure at this point in time Richard considers him to be a model student.

  3. The great thing about Arabians is there keen sense of who is enemy and who isnt. Once they learn you are NOT the enemy i.e Mom, food and treat bringer, groomer, bff, they are just amazing partners.

  4. What comes to mind is another John Lyons statement: "the marker of a successful training session is that the horse is calmer at the end than at the beginning" Sounds like a success to me!!!