Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Adventure Continues..........the Show Goes On.......

The Adventure Begins

Climbing out of my bed at 5:30 in the morning to get my horse schooled before the first session would have been hard enough without the temperature dropping near freezing. With the wind chill factor the temperature was more like the worst Washington winter than anything I'd expected in Tulsa.

I managed to stay warm enough sleeping in my horse trailer. It was getting dressed that was the challenge. My clothes were so cold it felt like I was putting on icicles instead of clothing. I was immediately shocked awake as the first cold item hit my skin. Then I scurried to get my layers quickly so I didn't lose anymore heat than necessary. It was a rude way to start the day.

I don't think Legs was much happier to the start to his day than I was to mine. When I walked into his stall to catch the horse, the stallion headed for the farthest corner and glared at me. As I pulled his blankets off over his head the horse was shaking his head and I swear I heard a horsey version of "Brrrrrrrrrrrrr" roll of his lips.

Going up to the arena that early on a particularly cold day is always a bit quieter than usual. Even though people had classes, the cold weather just seemed to slow folks down. That made my trip to the arena with Legs a little calmer but only because with less people and horses there were less distractions to startle him.

I'd decided to see if Legs would handle the walk down that aisle way better if I rode him instead of walked beside him. I stopped near the two warm-ups next to the Mustang Arena to pull off his cooler and bridle the horse. Once that was done I looked around for a place that might serve as a corner for me to mount because there was still no way the horse was going to stand still without using some kind of boundary like that.

With his nose in a make shift corner, Legs stood ok for me to mount but he reached around to bite my foot once I was on. I can't even tell you how long it's been since he's thought about a trick like that. Poor Legs was still convinced this place was evil and I wasn't being a good mother. In his opinion it was my job to get him OUT OF THERE and instead I was making him stay.

As I turned the horse moving onto the path, the horse sighed his concerns. I worked him laterally off my legs all the way up to the Ford Truck warm-up arena. The horse got through this exercise ok but it was obvious he was still searching for those trolls. I was hoping we were making progress but I was soon to find out that was NOT the case.

Our ride in the Ford Truck Arena was pretty much just like the one the night before. The horse was tense but mostly stayed rated and did his job. Little noises would cause his muscles to twitch but he didn't jump out of the bridle although he did speed up a few times but came back to me easily.

Up to this time, I'd been riding the horse in the aperture and using two hands. Even with the response I was currently getting from the horse, I knew he still wasn't ready for me to change over and ride with just one hand. At this rate it would be a while before I was ready to even think about riding with the romel reins. We were a long way from being ready to show.

I was still schooling when the announcement came the tractor was on it's way. We made our way to the exit and worked our way past that tractor and towards the dreaded aisle way. I don't know if that tractor caused flashbacks of the first encounter with it and the water truck or what but my horse would no longer walk with me on his back. Maybe it was a form of the barn sour horse just wanting to get back to his stall. Legs started to jig.

Jigging is not something I have experienced with Legs often. He's just the kind of horse who always wants to give you what you want and he seems to know jigging is just NOT one of those things. Even when he's scared, anxious or impatient, jigging is not his normal way to get through it. Yet here I was with a jigging horse.

I decided that I wasn't going to take Legs off that ramp until he would walk. I had no idea it would take a couple of hours to get to that point.......but it did. So Legs and I just worked our way up and down that walkway.........over and over.................back and forth.............flexing and bending. At one point Doug Stewart saw us and commented it looked like Legs was practicing some kind of Spanish walk or parade walk. It was slow..........that was for just wasn't a walk.

I threw in as much lateral work as I could. If the horse was going to not do what I asked, I wanted to make his job as difficult as possible. Legs has his butt tucked up under himself about as tight as it could possibly get. I could hear him making small grunting sounds protesting at the degree of difficulty but he just wouldn't let go of that tension. His eyes darted right along with his ears...........sure something was lurking there just to get him.

I watched horses and riders come and go as rode their elimination rides in the Ford Truck Arena. It was interesting to see the tack and attire change as each new wave make its way past Legs and I schooling on that darn aisleway. We got more than our fair share of strange looks. I'm sure some even thought I was nuts........but we stayed..........until the horse walked.

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

A Little Back Stage Drama

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1 comment:

  1. I dont know how u do it girl!!! Poor Legs and poor u.

    Have been thinking of u over the past week with the dreadful weather we have been experiencing, I need to learn how to use Twitter! Any hints? LOL

    I have my herd of 13 and now I feed and pick stalls for a friend a few miles down the road every weekday morning, so I suppose you can say I now have nearly as many as you do to care for daily!! It just about killed me this week with the cold, frozen spickets, hoses and buckets. Windchills of -10F on two of the days, yuk!!! Just know you are always in my thoughts.