Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Adventure Continues.........My Terrorized Horse

The Adventure Begins

We have worked all year on the issue with Legs seeing trolls. In that process we have thumped, banged, bounced, name it all assortment of things trying to provoke the horse into flight. At one time or another I think everyone in the barn has had a part in creating "schooling experiences" for poor Legs. Teaching the horse respect for the bridle is more important than his flight instinct has been a challenge. One we've devoted nearly as much time to as I've spent getting the horse "right." I really thought we were getting a good handle on the situation........until this situation at the US All Arabian National Horse Show.

In fairness to my stallion, the water truck was only the first in a series of events that set the horse up. Had he gotten an opportunity to resolve one before another arose, I might just have had a horse that could cope. The fact is like everything else at the National Show things just get much bigger there. It's like an electricity you can feel in the air. And when it EXPLODES!

That's what happened to poor Legs. The water truck sprayed from around that corner where the horse didn't get to see the truck responsible for the fountain of water. The horse "gets" trucks spraying water.........but the winds were already blowing ninety miles an hour (figuratively, of course) and whipping through the area like in a wind tunnel with all its noise. Horses were coming down a ramp from up over the horse's head making sounds Legs didn't expect.........The whole geography of the place was a lot to digest for me, let alone my horse. The end result from my horse went pinging from one incident to the the next...........and so on........until he was pretty much convinced he was going to die...........somehow............somewhere............someway.............he was dead meat.

Legs' heart was pounding so I could feel it between my legs, an occurrence all too often this year. The horse's body was shaking so visibly people watching could see it. It was clear the horse was truly terrified...........yet still trying to do what I asked.

Any other time riding the horse around a bit to "see" there was nothing to fear would have worked, but on this day, it was one thing after the other convincing the horse otherwise. Even when we made our way into the Ford Truck Arena the situation just didn't get any better. Poor Legs was jumping at everything that moved and every little sound.

Believe me, there were lots of things going on there to keep the horse going too. It didn't matter if it was the woman who tripped down the stairs or the person that nearly tipped over a table in the patrons lounge, the arena seemed to be booby trapped. Then to make matters worse they cleared the arena to get it prepped for the afternoon classes before I'd had a chance to work any of this through. I had a huge issue on my hands.

With my horse that upset I couldn't take him back to the stalls. Instead I decided I'd ride the horse in the nearest warm-up arena outside the Mustang Arena. First,however, I had to get there. A task that might sound simple but was anything but. ........ I needed to go back down the aisle way we'd entered, the same aisle way that had harbored that vicious water truck. We also had to go past the Mustang Arena which happened to have working cow horse classes going on.

Legs was already convinced that water truck was hiding somewhere. Then the horse heard bawling cows and that pushed him over a new edge. Vendors were setting up booths in the Mustang arena and there clanging and dragging and dropping and such just fed the fire. Each little sound in the breezeway or from the Mustang Arena caused my horse to erupt. Instead of getting calmer my horse was getting more wound up and we weren't anywhere near that arena yet.............. My horse was dripping sweat. His eyes were bulging out of his head..........and, of course, he was snorting but more like some kind of dragon than a horse.

After a while walking the grounds at the Tulsa Expo Square that walk down between the Ford Truck Arena and the Mustang Arena gets to feel like it goes on forever. On this day riding Legs down that aisle, it felt like it was going to TAKE forever to make it to the warm up area.

I had this little picture in my mind, if we can just get there, this will all settle down. The horse will get the chance to chill out and we can go back to the stalls and forget this day ever happened...........Well, that's what I hoped anyway................... but it was not to be. Even in the warm-up Legs was seeing trolls everywhere.

It didn't help there was a maintenance man with his big cart emptying trash cans and relining them with plastic liners working his way down one side of the arena. The howling wind was having a field day with those plastic liners on their way in and out of the containers. Loose pieces of trash were escaping like demons darting in the wind.

If that wasn't enough there was a long puddle off the rail on the same side of the arena as the annoying maintenance man. This puddle was deep enough and long enough the wind was causing the water to move. That ripple effect had the horse convinced there was something living underneath the surface that planned to eat him. The wind was also reeking havoc with those new garbage lines catching them making lots of interesting sounds to spook my already crazed horse.

To top it all off one of those liners got filled with wind and inverted itself blowing up like a balloon ready for lift off. It cracked and pooped an evil dance and the wind played with it. The movement of that liner in the wind was the final straw for Legs. My horse was no longer listening to me...........instead he was looking for a way out.

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

Schooling My Terrorized Horse

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1 comment:

  1. Oh My!!!

    Poor Legs!!!!
    And yet, he was still under your control, that's good.