Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Wendy Potts Clinic.......Storm Answers the Challenge

Part 1- Wendy Potts Clinic

Part 1 - Sizing Things Up - Status on Storm

During the Wendy Potts clinic was not the first time Storm has dealt with stallion type issues. Storm has experience with being challenged by another stallion, or maybe I should say that the Arabian horse has experience with challenging another stallion. Even if it was 3 1/2 years ago, I'm sure Storm remembers the day he thought he would take on Legs. I know it the first thing I thought of when I heard that stallion screaming at the clinic. After that experience with Legs I found myself wondering how Storm was going to respond to this challenge with me on his back.

It didn't take long for my answer. Instantaneously Storm leapt forward so violently I actually heard a gasp coming from someone on the rail. Although I had my hands full and couldn't really think much about that reaction, it did log somewhere in my memory banks.

The horse thought he was going to take on this other stallion in some manner although it wasn't clear to what extent Storm would go to get that done. I grabbed at the rein trying to keep within the same parameters of pressure as my horse was dishing out, wanting to remind him that he should be listening to me.

Storm clearly responded he thought he knew better about how this situation should be handled. Storm audibly answered the other horse although with nowhere near the fierceness the challenging stallion had used. I couldn't help but think his response didn't really fit what the other stallion had in mind. It seemed to me Storm wasn't ignoring the other stallion throwing down the gauntlet but he wasn't disregarding my presence either. That less than out right war response clearly said Storm knew I wouldn't approve. At least that was a good sign.

Angrily shaking his head and trying to free himself from my control, Storm did some more fancy foot work but I managed to stay in the saddle ok. My mind raced with the possibilities as I tried to figure out the best way to handle things.

While pulling on one rein, I applied both spurs with more insistence than I've ever had to use on this horse so I worried about it being too much and equally about it not being enough. The broncy hump in his back required an immediate response but finding the proper balance weighed heavily on my mind. If I didn't get it right, I could end up in the dirt.

It turned out one hard swift poke didn't do the job. My horse was still resisting in a strenuous fashion so I upped the ante. This time I took an even bigger jab at my horse and also I added a good firm smack with the bat still pulling on one rein hoping to soften the horse and get his attention back on me. As I did this, I prayed for all I was worth that Storm wouldn't get mad.

I knew how much the horse resents that bat and I had no clue what to expect about this much spur. The last thing I wanted was to add any fuel to this already dangerous fire but I knew that the only answer to this situation was to get my horse forward and thinking about me instead of this other stallion.

It's just that you never really know about stallions which way they're going to decide. That primal instinct to survive can trump a lot of things and the roar of that other stallion had definitely been primal. I had to hope that Storm's years with me, even though in the distant past, would be enough to bring us out the other side.

Looking back at it, this incident had the makings of a terrifying experience. There were so many things that could have gone wrong. However, my heart rate never got past normal. Faith in my horses minds and commitments to their humans and in my ability to deal with Storm pulled me through, I guess. The outburst was short and once it was over, it was over. Storm was right back to trying his best for me.

I will never know whether Storm was trying to dump me or protect me. Having been in the situation where I have been protected by a horse, I can't help but wonder if that's not what was going through Storm's mind. He sure hadn't show the kind of fight against me he'd done at home of late, nor had he shown the kind of aggression he'd shown towards Legs. Something about it made me think this was different than the horse feeling he needed to protect himself.

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

Onto Riding Storm

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  1. Sounds to me as though he was thinking just as hard about how to handle the situation as you were. Loyalty ,and protection of you his rider and the instinct to assert himself over the other stallion. Qucik thinking on your part and the fact that you didn't panic and add to the confusion seems to have resolved it .Way to go!!! I am bettin the horse got some real good info from you on that

  2. fern, I think you're right. He really seemed to be trying to do the right thing, whatever that was. He just wasn't sure what it was. We'll have to see what kind of carry over there is for another time, but hopefully we won't be running into situations like this. I still can't help but think what a weird thing this was to have happened at all.

  3. Whew, I'm glad that Storm listened to you in the end. That is what makes me nervous about Stallions, they can be so good and then in a split second, completely turn. It sounds like Storm has the good sense of his father (Legs is is sire, right)?

  4. I'm glad you were able to regain control. I saw a video on TV the other day of a stallion trying to mount a mare while both horses had riders. The stallion wrapped its front legs around the rider of the mare and knocked her right off onto the ground. Plenty of dangerous things can happen around horses and it is the rider's responsibility to gain control for everyone's safety. I remember writing a post a while back about having to use my riding bat to get my horses attention back on me and my cues, and someone flamed me for being abusive toward my horse. If I didn't do anything, things could have turned out much worse. I had to wonder if that person is the type of person who lets her kids run wild in public places and never disciplines or offers guidance on how they should behave.

  5. JJ, Yes, Storm is one of Legs' sons and he does have his sire's great mind. If he didn't, he wouldn't still be a stallion, not on this farm.

    NuzzMuzz, No one said a word about my corrections of Storm, thank goodness. I had enough on my plate as it was. You just have to wonder about people when they see horses being unsafe and criticize the person correcting them.

  6. i see such a lack of discipline for dogs, kids, and horses here in germany it's amazing. but i have to admit i've been intimidated out of punishing a feisty horse due to the audience. *sigh*

    just don't geld him, ok? *lol* i know you won't unless you have to. would love to meet him next month - i hope you have some free time for me.


  7. oh yah i wanted to say i see Legs in him in that photo, look at those stifles. so athletic and long. i don't know why but i've always been drawn to that feature in a sport horse.

  8. Sounds like you did the right thing and Storm is trusting you to know what the right thing is.