Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sister A...............a Challenge............

Part 1

The next time I saw Sister A I had another young horse tied to the trailer again. I had finished working Louie so I was in the process of untacking the horse when I heard Sister A's squeal of delight.

A part of me cringed. Talk about bad timing. I didn't know what to expect from Louie or if he could even deal with Sister A but I guess I was going to find out whether I was ready or not because Sister A was rapidly advancing in our direction.

This poor horse was already having issues since he'd been fried last year at the Region 4 pre-show. The horse had seemed ok at home after that experience but I had recently discovered taking the horse any place new meet with a worrisome response. The horse definitely had flashbacks of his experience at that show.

The horse was consumed by stress and insistent on getting out of "there" where ever "there" might be. Dancing, shoving me, biting, trying to pull away were just some of the reactions of this horse to being any place strange. Louie was convinced that working away from home meant something really bad was going to happen.

The horse had no tolerance for anything out of the ordinary. Louie could hardly tolerate those things he knew. I hadn't even tried to ride this horse since I'd begun working my horses back at the park. I'd tried taking him to an indoor arena thinking maybe that would help but I had gotten the very same response. The horse just had way too much on his mind to deal with riding too.

This was only the first week of taking Louie to the park and the horse was pretty sure the place was NOT a safe place for horses. Lunging was the order of the day to let the horse express his emotional state in a safe manner. Louie was still doing that exaggerated trot that usually about six inches off the ground when the horse is excited. In Louie's current state the height about the ground was something over a foot and I'm pretty sure they could hear the horse's snorting in the furthest corners of the park.

There was no telling how this particular horse was going to respond to Sister A. I rushed to get the polo wraps off the horse's legs before the woman arrived. I didn't want to have anything to do underneath the horse in the presence of Sister A. I figured with Louie's heightened flight response in strange places Sister A was really going to test this horse's limits.

When I got those wraps off, I untied the horse. I figured I had a better chance of controlling him in hand than I did with him tied to the trailer. Seeing me untie the horse seemed to stress out Sister A. I guess she thought I was going to escape before she reached me.

"Hey LADY!......................I'm comin'!.......................Don't go, Lady!............I'm comin' to see ya!..............LADY! DO YOU HEAT ME!.......................I'm coming!................ I ' M C O M I N G ! ! !"

I nodded Sister A's direction signaling with my free hand. Raising my hand up for a moment, waving it at her just enough to get her attention, I did the road worker's signal for slow down.............s l o w d o w n.

Trying to get my point across without startling my already concerned horse was a trip but the light did dawn for Sister A. I saw her stop mid stride as she realized what I was trying to say. Sister A actually got quiet and even stopped for just a moment.

"Can I come closer?" Sister A asked.

"Yes, but you must be soft and slow coming anywhere near this horse." I said. "He is frightened and needs reassurance."

Sister A can be loud and obnoxious some of the time but the woman does not want to scare any horse and maybe especially one of mine. Even in our few interactions, the woman has already decided my horses are different than others she's been around and different in a way that Sister A really appreciates. The last thing she wanted was for Louie to be more stressed because of her.

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

A Little Watching

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  1. Sounds like she is becoming a friend. Your stories of her make me smile

  2. Your horses seem to be having a positive influence on Sister A. She comes closer to being horse savvy with every post.

    I'm waiting for the "Sister A Rides!" post. I bet riding one of your horses would make her day/life.