Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Got Spurs?

A while back Darling purchased a pair of spurs. Not because she was riding and needed a pair, but because she liked them jingling on her heels. I think I may need to get her some jingle bobs for Christmas so they jingle a bit more.

It's a good thing Darling bought those spurs, though, as Quiet Storm needs them. Trouble with a green horse and a green rider, however, is not knowing how either one of them will react. Quiet Storm is lazier than an old, dead tree stump. Put a saddle on her and instantly she grows roots that reach right down to the center of the earth. In other words, she's planted, and no matter how hard Darling whallops on her sides that filly doesn't budge.

So I'm faced with either having Darling wear her spurs or carry a riding crop. Because she's not ridden enough to have the reflexes when a horse jumps out from under you, I'm afraid she'll drop reins or, worse yet, loose her seat and come out of the saddle should Quiet Storm actually react. Then again, you never learn how to ride if you horse just plods along like a plow horse, right? It's a short fall to the ground and she's wearing that shiny new helmet...

Yesterday we thought we'd outfox Quiet Storm and have her follow along behind Jet, thinking that if one of the other horses was with her she'd be more inclined to get a little forward motion going. We weren't going far, just crossing the creek then up the trail a bit and coming home. Jet stepped right out as I led her across the water; we were headed towards Donna's field and both horses knew it. Darling and Quiet Storm came across the water with no problems, even though it's now much deeper than it had been all summer.



Rather than going to the pasture, however, I kept Jet on the trail that led along the creek for another 50 feet or so until it began to grow over from lack of care. At this point Darling pulled Quiet Storm off to the side, I turned around and we headed back. Except that Quiet Storm refused to budge once she got to where she though we ought to be turning; she wanted pasture and nothing in Darling's legs was going to convince her otherwise. So I did what any mom would do and traded horses. Darling led Jet and I climbed on that stubborn, little mustang and gave her the heel like she'd never before felt it. Her ears went back and her head came up and I gave her another one, and this time she stepped forward and walked more than willingly towards Jet.

Darling and I traded back, but once more Storm planted herself, and again I found myself on Darling's horse, this time riding across the creek and home. Once we were alongside the paddock gate, the filly thought it was quitting time. Not so! Another good kick got her headed towards the driveway where she once again protested. This time I took the end of my mecate (the horse hair reins on the bosal) and smacked her a good one on the rump. Needless to say, she was none to pleased with this sudden assault on her lazy behind. It didn't take long for her to realize forward motion was the least painful alternative and we even got a bit of trotting out of her.

At this point I put Darling back in the saddle and handed her a crop. It's always difficult to use a crop while you've got your hands on the reins at the same time. It takes some time and work to figure out how to use your 'encouragement stick' without pulling your horse to a stop at the same time, but it's something Darling is going to have to figure out quick. She got Quiet Storm to move forward, at least, and even into a bit of a trot before calling it good. It wasn't a long ride, just a minute or two, but enough for her to feel good and Storm to realize she was in training!

Darling has someone interested in buying Quiet Storm once she puts some hours on her over the winter. She's not real sure about selling, but realizes that Storm will likely be too small for her by next year. For now she can enjoy her and learn a bit more about what it's like to train a lazy horse. And she'll get to learn how to use her spurs, too!





5 comments:

Lady Of Chaos said...

Sometimes a ummm quiet horse is a good thing for kids... Sometimes they're a pain lol.

A bit of irony here... You really named that horse perfectly didn't you...

photogchic said...

Will she go backwards or is she totally planted? When the draft cross stall on me, I back her all around the arena and she can't wait to go forward. I feel for Darling...I had the most stubborn pony as a kid. I can relate to those sore legs:-) As Clinton Anderson would say, "She is showing you her Horse Union Card."

Tracey said...

Oh, she's planted! I used to back up my pony and found it quite helpful, too. Darling tried and barely got a step. I think we need to get her spurs on those heels; one good pop and I think that will provide enough incentive. We'll have an encouragement stick and incentive heels.

Yes...the Quiet part is most appropriate, lol!

Anne said...

Quiet is good but frustrating. A crop is easier to drop than spurs, but it sounds like that might not really be an issue. You might want to try the spurs in a contained area first.

Quiet horses are easier to sell, too....

Katee said...

Someone told me once that they bribed their horse into moving. Before the trail ride, she went out and planted treats along the trail. Go forward and get a treat, little horse-y. If the reward of going on a ride isn't rewarding enough, maybe a little treat action would help.