Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Aidol's Story....... Dave's Lesson

Part 1

Straying dogs and I were not the only things that Aidol trained. He was training Dave right from the start. Only Dave didn't have as much horse sense as me and part of that training was not good.

Aidol was notorious for pushing Dave around his stall during cleaning instead of the other way around. While he wasn't doing it in an aggressive manner, it was clear that Aidol was calling the shots despite the fact the man should have been. That was ok in the beginning. Aidol knew Dave was a real beginner and the horse took care of him in every way that matter. The horse never took advantage in a way that might hurt Dave or my kids or grandkids.

The trouble came in as Dave's skill level rose. Aidol expected more out of Dave as the man's horse skills advanced. Either Dave was going to be the leader or Aidol was, Dave hadn't learned enough yet to understand that. That left the horse opportunity to establish himself as the boss.

It wasn't that I didn't try to teach Dave what was important in dealing with the horse. I was telling the man all the time not to allow the horse to pin his ears at him or to move his feet. It was Dave just didn't listen. Every time I warned him about a bad behavior, Dave's retort was always that "Aidol takes care of me." I knew the day was coming when that wouldn't be the case.

I warned Dave the day was coming when Aidol was going to bite him because he didn't get his way. Dave couldn't believe that Aidol would ever do anything aggressive towards him. As the months and years rolled by with no noticeable sign to Dave that things had changed, it only reinforced the man's opinion the horse would always protect him and never do anything aggressive towards him.

I knew the day was coming despite Dave's protestations that Aidol was fine. There was no way full of himself colt we remembered had disappeared. Everything about him spoke of his self confidence. It was only a matter of time before Dave asked more than Aidol was willing to give.

For me, I was hoping that time would come sooner than later. By this time Legs had been born and Dave was enabling some bad behavior there as well. Even though I'd lined the family up the day the colt was born to lay down the law, Legs was being allowed to do things no future stallion should ever do.

Knowing Dave, he wasn't going to do what he was asked in dealing with the colt until he learned the error of his ways. That meant Aidol was going to have to teach Dave what horses were about before things got out of control with Legs. Otherwise the odds were I was the one going to get hurt because I was the one that would push Legs to behave. The inconsistency in behavior allowed by Dave would surely be cause for battle in the young colt. That was the last thing I wanted to see.

I clearly remember the day it happened. I was in the stall right next to Aidol's. We were feeding horses and I heard Dave go into Aidol's stall talking his usual baby-talk, I love my boy stuff. It sounded just like any other day and I was sure the horse was doing his usual too, pinning his ears at Dave telling him to fork over that food.

Dave must not have delivered as expected because the next thing I knew Dave was screaming. "Aidol bit me!" In all fairness to the horse, I must add Aidol didn't bite Dave hard. Not that it matters because he did do something naughty. With his teeth the horse grabbed the man by his shoulder but did not leave any marks on Dave's body.

The marks were left on Dave's heart. His feelings were hurt because HIS horse had done something even Dave could see was aggressive. It hurt the man's feelings. Even to this day he will tell you how his feelings were hurt that day. For the first time in this relationship Dave was forced to admit that maybe after all Aidol was a horse first and his friend second.

I'd like to tell you I didn't laugh........... but that's exactly what I did. I knew Aidol hadn't done anything terrible even before Dave gave me more details. The horse didn't have it in him. After all this time of warning Dave that he'd been telling that horse he was in charge, I was glad to know the horse had finally proved my point. From that day forward Dave never again allowed the horse to pin his ears at him or move his feet.

Dave's lesson about Aidol couldn't have come at a better time. Legs was now a young stallion and we'd had a couple of wrecks where I had indeed been hurt. Finally getting Dave on the same page as far as what was acceptable in dealing with a young stallion was very helpful in "fixing" what was broken with Legs. It didn't, however, change Dave's belief that Aidol would always take care of him.Unfortunately the day came when that too was tested.

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

The Girls Ride

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  1. It is so easy to let our beloved horses and ponies get away with things that we shouldn't. I am guilty of that myself especially with Kipper who has the nickname of Jaws as he likes to nibble on us. I must do better before one of my grandchildren gets a bite that isn't a nibble! Thanks for a good reminder!!! Can't wait for the rest of the story!! I must admit I got a bit teary reading about your son dealing with the horses when Lindsay was in the hospital. He was only 12 but he sure wanted to be a part of the process of helping Lindsay and this was his way of doing so by taking the responsibility of the horses off your shoulders.

  2. So thankful it was only Dave's feelings which were hurt. I guess with another horse it could have been worse.
    Maggie is and has always been the alpha mare, doesn't matter who she is pastured with, she is top girl. In one of my last installments I mentioned the round pen work her owner did the day I came to see her. I do believe the young girl believed she was just working the vinegar out of her before I rode. After owning Maggie a while, I understood the lunge work had little to do with her edge,but establishing who was gonna be the dominate mare for the day. Now, I would walk thru fire for this mare, but I understand her desire to be the alpha mare, even with me. Ten to fifteen minutes on the line, including corrections and proper cues, she becomes an angel. The times I thought I didn't have time to do this prep work, the rides have been unpleasant.
    This girl is curious, intelligent,and yes, has a great sense of humor. But she must be reminded on a regular basis I am the alpha mare. When this issue is understood she a joy!
    And in the end, she is always worth the extra work.
    Keep up the good work, Rainbow. So glad to be connecting with some horse folks!
    Talk soon,

  3. this is one of those blog posts that are important for non-horsey significant others to read. even though baasha is old and relatively safe, i try to be sure that he doesn't supplant my husband. it's easy to miss sometimes, when a horse makes you move a half step aside. if i can get my man out of his office today, i'll see if we can do some "over" and "back" exercises.


  4. Yeah, my husband always talks about the day that Bombay bit him in the stomach. I think part of his upset was not just the pain and the untrustworthiness of a young colt, but the fact that he realized he had a muffin top that a horse could actually grab with its teeth. If you've got a flat stomach, that can't happen.

  5. I'm glad that Dave wasn't hurt except for his feelings. It's also good that Aidol finally let him have it and taught him the hard lesson of the difference between humans and horses. They'll always test you no matter how much they love you. And even though they do love us in their way with love has to come respect.