Thursday, November 27, 2008

MiKael Meets Richard........... Getting Started......and then there's Percy.... Day 3

Part 1

I have to admit the hardest part about watching Richard start my young Arabian horses is me just sitting there and watching. I am used to being the one starting my own young horses and I really don't like not being the one doing it now. Only after the accident I had last year, I don't feel like I can afford to take that risk. It's really the pits.

Particularly when things go like they did with Percy from the start. I can't help but think it would have been much different for me because the horse knows and trusts me. It was really difficult for me to sit back and let Richard do it "his way" under these circumstances. Yet I felt like my hands were tied.........getting older definitely sucks.

After the first 2 days, Percy got a short reprieve. We had the Pacific Rim Arabian Horse Show to attend so that meant it was several days before there was time to get back to the young horse again.

I never know if time off is going to be a good thing or a bad thing for a horse. Sometimes I think it depends where that horse is in their process and others I don't think there really seems to be much rhyme or reason to it. When it comes to starting young horses I like not to take breaks other than a day or two.

Percy, however, didn't seem to be affected by the break at all. The horse still seemed to be comfortable with Richard and curious about his surroundings. The problem came in when Jessica joined the picture. By this third session it was clear Percy did NOT trust Jessica.

The horse was curious about her but not comfortable with the girl walking right up to him like she had something on her mind. There was no way Percy wanted to know whatever that "thing on her mind" might be.

Also, at this point Jessica didn't like Percy much. He had been difficult and for her this was frustrating. I can't help but think the horse was probably picking up part of her dislike of him. That surely wasn't helping this process much.

The result of these 2 things was the horse would immediately move off away from the approaching Jessica. Mounting was out of the question........and if she did manage to get on the horse, she was immediately being "saved" by Richard. I was beginning to worry that Percy might be learning that running off was a good way to NOT be ridden.

That's the bad thing about having smart horses. Sometimes how quickly they pick things up can work against you. I knew Percy well enough to know he's a very smart cookie. Running out from underneath Jessica needed to come to a screeching halt before we had a really big problem.

I remember Richard teasing Jessica about Percy not liking her that day. Then he sent her to get something and just Richard, Percy and I were left in the arena. I walked up to Percy with Richard holding the horse and began messing with the stirrups, leaning on them.

I figured with the trust I had built up with this horse maybe I could get him past his concern about being mounted. Richard thinks that Percy didn't like it much........but he stood there just fine. Before long I was putting weight in the stirrups, then standing, and finally laying over the saddle.

I won't tell you what was going through my mind as Richard led the horse around the arena with me slumped over the saddle like dead weight......but lets suffice it to say it was probably a typical visual a woman my age might be concerned with.

At any rate, it got the job done. By the time Jessica returned to the arena, Percy had figured out that having someone on his back wasn't so scary after all. He let Jessica start over again with the messing with the stirrups. The gradually building up in the same progression I had used. Before long Jessica was draped over the saddle.......this time the horse stayed underneath her where he belonged.

From there Richard led the pair around the arena. Once the horse had made a lap with his head lowered and his eye nice and soft, Jessica got off only to remount.......this time sitting in the saddle.

By the end of that session, Jessica had successfully walked and trotted both directions on the longe line. It was a huge turning point for this gelding...........and for his and Jessica's relationship.

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

Updates on MiKael Meets Richard

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I was going to post a recipe then I chickened out.....LOL I think I'm going to have to do double time at the gym for awhile. What about you?

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  1. It's hard when the horse you're training dislikes or mistrusts the rider. I think it was a good thing you got on him initially before she got back, it probably eased the transition for Percy. I agree with you getting old sucks. As for hitting the gym, well, not until all the pies are gone, right?

  2. Oh I hope Jessica and Percy's relationship is makes a turn around and that they become good friends that can trust each other. But I think Percy would like me, since, I'd just like him just because hes a gorgeous Arabian. And he'd pick up that I like him. I only wish I could be working with your horses too! and would not allow anyone the horse dislikes to be around, but hopefully the horse gets easier and less difficult so that Jessica isn't frustrated and putting off bad thoughts. And so that Jessica can be helpful in training this horse, and not the opposite, which is not needed. And Good Luck with this beautiful boy of yours! I only wish I could be there to help too! :)

    Btw, surprisingly today I only weigh 121.5 even though I feel like I should weigh more because I felt like I ate too much yesterday.

    ***don't read the following, if you don't want to be grossed out!***

    But disgustingly enough, I woke up at 4-5 am. this morning with stomach cramps, and ended up throwing up some and pooping a lot, and to top it off I started my period today too, so I don't feel good at all..(OK, that's all I have to say that was gross)

    the only thing that's helping me at this point is soaking in epsom salt baths. Although maybe why I was throwing up could be because yesterday during a soak, I got some of the epsom salt water in my mouth and spit out as much as I could, but still that was probably bad enough to make me not feel good.

    So I had a GOOD yesterday, but a not-so-good today. Btw, what is your recipe! :)

  3. I also never know if it is a good thing to give the horses a breather or not.

    With Mojo, it is not. When I give him a break, it is very much like him getting a second wind. Insert wry grin.

    I like Percy and I hope he begins to like the folks that are handling him.

  4. I do agree that smart horses can pick up things that work against you! I've often said that my mom's gelding is so smart that he picks up the good skills as fast as he picks up bad habits!

    Glad to hear that Rhythm is doing good in his new home!

  5. Holly- And I really hope the folks handling him begin to like him. Because if they do, then it will be much easier for Percy to like them. But mostly Jessica since Jessica and Percy's relationship need the most work right now.