Sunday, January 2, 2011

Pushing the Limits........Tacking Up..........

Part 1

Before I get to the photo, I want to mention that before we left for the park lytha did get the opportunity to meet the canine members of our farm as well. Fortunately she didn't get mauled by either Sugar or Delilah but it was not for their lack of trying. Both dogs were so tickled to have a visitor they forgot all their manners and were jumping all over the place trying to get to lytha. She's lucky she didn't get knocked down and licked to death. Both Sugar and Delilah are now back in remedial training.

Going to the park I kept thinking about how I was going to work things. Normally with a stallion along and wanting to get both horses tacked up at the same time, I'd be tying one horse on one side of the trailer and one on the other. Since I knew I'd be doing most of the saddling to accommodate fitting issues with both horses, I figured I'd try tying both horses on the same side to give me less running around to do.

Legs is really good travelling in the horse trailer with any of the horses next to him but there is a partition between them. I think that boundary helps Legs know what is expected of him. I have tie another horse next to him outside the trailer for a brief moment as I'm switching horses around inside but that's been the extent of it. Neither horse has remained in that position long enough to even think about investigating the other and if they even look like they're going to sniff, I'm scolding them sharply with my voice.

I know despite Legs' good manners he just cannot be trusted to refrain from acting like a stallion in some situations. Leaving a horse tied next to Legs with no partition between them for any length of time is asking a lot.

Then there's Dandy who is the all time king of crabby old geldings with other horses. Ever since being sick with his EPM all those years ago, Dandy has not been comfortable with other horses close to him. I knew Dandy wouldn't be too thrilled to have another horse nosing into his territory either.

Dandy has had the experience of being tied to the horse trailer with another horse right beside him as both horses were prepared for riding but there was no visiting allowed. I knew Dandy would probably get ticked if Legs got into his space so I knew I needed to watch both horses closely to be sure no one's buttons got pushed. I sure didn't want lytha or me in the middle of a horse wreck.

Once both horses were tied to the trailer, lytha jumped right in grooming on Dandy while I worked on Legs. As soon as the grooming started Legs figured out that this was different from other times and he thought he should check things out. That nose stretched over to sniff at his brothers and I quickly scolded him.

Lytha and Dave laughed and made comments about the cute brothers visiting but I know these horses and I was worried. I wanted Dave and lytha both to understand the risks involved with tying these horses this close but I'm not sure that either of them really got my concerns. I was scurrying around like some kind of mouse trying to speed up the whole process so I could get those horses separated before something happened.

I can't tell you how many times I corrected Legs for trying to get closer to Dandy. He kept stretching out to reach Dandy's muzzle to get a good smell and I kept flipping the end of the lead rope at him or poking him in the shoulder to make him back off. Legs was not deterred and I was getting stressed. I did not want an incident of Legs striking at Dandy followed by Dandy swinging his butt into Legs to kick the crap out of him. I figured that Dandy would win such a skirmish, I just didn't want to be in the middle of it so I did some pretty sloppy grooming I can tell you.

It was the saddling up that was the hard part. Since Dandy has particularly high whithers, I've never been able to find a saddle that fits him perfectly. To make sure he's comfortable, I've resorted to adjusting some padding underneath the front portion of the saddle to keep from pinching him.

Getting that saddle onto those pads in exactly the right place is tough anytime, doing it in a hurry made it all the harder. I think I had to reset that darn saddle a couple of times before I actually got it right. Luckily for me, by this time Legs was worried about being in trouble so he had slowed his advances towards Dandy. I did have to scoot behind Dandy right at the end, diving at Legs to back him off but I managed to get both horses tacked up without anything more than the sniffing you see in this picture. I was a frazzled mess by that time but I was also relieved that nothing dangerous had happened. I knew I had tested both these horses.

I grabbed Dandy's bridle out of the trailer's tack room and untied Dandy taking him out of reach of Legs to bridle him. I heard a sigh of frustration from Legs as the gelding moved out of reach. There was going to be no visiting for now anyway. It was on to getting riders saddled and on the trail.

Apparently Legs is not the only one that sighed as I walked Dandy away from Legs. Lytha was poised for the horses to misbehave because they were being split up. Evidently she is not used to horses being comfortable working along or going somewhere without another horse. It was going to be the beginning of a new kind of trail experience for lytha.

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

Mounting Up

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  1. Glad you averted a situation that could have gone bad. I'm sure there's more to tell about your trail ride. I'll be looking forward to it.

  2. Sounds like it would have been more footwork, but less stressful for you to tie them on opposite sides of the trailer. I hope the ride went well.

  3. Arlene, me too. I figured I could get them to behave or I wouldn't have tried it. I think with some time I can probably teach them what I expect and then not have the stress. We'll see if I stick with it or not.

    It will be fun to see lytha's perspective of the ride. I know Dandy made quite an impression on her.

    Nuzz Muzz, you are probably right but since I wasn't even supposed to be riding yet, I figured the less footwork the better.

    The ride was great. I wish we'd had more time though and that it had been a bit warmer. I got pretty cold but lytha was fine and I think she was wearing half as many layers as me.

  4. They sure seem to know when you are watching and when you are busy. Cant wait to hear more about the ride.

  5. Sounds like a challenging pre-ride experience. Your writing portrayed the tension well. But Legs and Dandy sound like well-behaved horses, especially for a stallion, and still minded you when you got serious with them. Nicely done.

    See I told you this would be drawn into another 'to be continued' chapter. hehe!

    Sitting on the edge of my seat....still.


  6. I am spoiled. Our stallions are so used to co-mingling with other horses that I don't often realize how much other people go through with theirs in public situations.

  7. Rotters! glad it didn't get out of had though !Hope it was a nice ride

  8. Crystal, isn't that the truth. LOL

    Lisa, if I wasn't so darn winded, I could probably have wrapped it up sooner but then there'd probably be so many questions, I'd still be writing a book. LOL

    BECG, normally, I'm saying the same thing. Legs is rarely a problem but this is one situation I just haven't exposed him to so I guess this one's on me. Most show horses don't have to be tied side by side at the trailer so I never really thought about it.

    FV, other than wanting to sniff noses, they were very good. It's just I know where that sniffing can lead. Had I taken Storm I would never have tried to do this.

  9. Oh my goodness, so glad nothing escalated into a kicking session! You know your horses so well Mikael and don't they know that you have eyes in the back of your head?! lol! Am looking forward to the next installment!!!

  10. I'm glad you got the situation diverted before anything bad happened. Can't wait to hear about your ride.

  11. all's well that ends well, huh? whoo hoo!

  12. The horses where I ride mostly have to have a wide "personal space" from other equines. I found this so surprising after growing up watching Westerns where the horses are tied close together at a hitching rail.

  13. MM, I think them knowing about that extra set of eyes is how I got away with this at all. LOL

    Fan Voy, actually I was a bit surprised it went as well as it did. I expected either Dandy or Legs would squeal at some point but it didn't happen........not this time anyway! Goes to show you just never know for sure what they're going to do.

    Hopeful, you're right about that and it was a good schooling experience. I think I could actually teach these two horses to tolerate this.

    Ms Martyr, I would guess those horses back in the old west got tied close to other horses often enough they got the chance to learn how to deal with it. Just like BECG said her horses would be fine with this because they run together. It's all in what they know, that's for sure.

  14. I'm glad that nothing really happened but I completely understand how stressful it can be.

  15. That's true about the old west--they were probably used to it. Plus, if they did escape during a horse to horse scuffle(which they did because you always read about horses running through towns) there were no cars to hit them.

    I'm like you, I always see things happening between my horses that others do not. I come off as being over-protective, but I've seen what can happen, and I don't want to go there.