Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sandy Learns a Lesson

See? There's a line!

Crazy days ahead. Curt heads in for surgery tomorrow and will be spending the night at the hospital. For most folks that alone is bad enough, but they've got a barn full of horses that need attending to while they're gone. Unfortunately, one of the mare's is due tomorrow as well, and she's been waxing up the past couple of days.

Tangy isn't a very big mare, but her belly is huge! In fact, when I first got a good look at her a month ago I had to wonder if it may be twins. I was told by someone else that she always got big and it was just her diminutive size. But this morning Curt said with a bit of worry that he was afraid this was either one big baby or twins... Tangy has had trouble the last two pregnancies, so Curt is especially concerned that somethings going to happen while he's away.

Jay popped in about 2 this afternoon. I'd had Sandy out earlier in the day and worked him in the round pen as well as over the poles. I saddled him up a second time and handed Jay the reins as I went for my helmet. Jay headed to the round pen and when I caught up, Sandy had put it in park. Jay chuckled that he wanted his mamma, I smiled and walked past them into the pen and assumed Sandy would follow. Nope. Nothing doing. In his mind he'd worked once and that was it.

Jay's a big guy. He wasn't going to put up with Sandy's refusal. He stepped back alongside and swatted him with the end of the lead rope in an effort to send the horse forward. And so began the battle! Sandy shot backwards just as he'd done here at home so many times early on, but Jay is stronger than I am and didn't let go. His dad used to train race horses and Jay's job had been to hang on tight! That early training has served him well when it comes to battling a horse and Sandy had no clue what he was in for.

Jay sent Sandy in small circles at the end of the lead rope, then tried again to lead him into the pen. Again Sandy refused, and again he felt the end of the rope. Over and over, around and around, the two of them spent a good ten minutes out there in the driveway. Sandy splashed mud all over both of them. At one point he decided he was going to try to rear just like he used to do at home; he popped up and threw his weight into his shoulder in an attempt to break free. Jay is one tough cookie, though, and gave a strong pull which caused Sandy to lose his footing and sent him rolling to the ground.

Still...he was a glutton for punishment. Each time Jay thought the horse had had enough, he'd stop and pet him, tell him he was good and try to lead him forward once again. And each time they reached the gate Sandy would plant all four. Finally Jay had enough and led him briskly to the outdoor arena.

"Don't want to work in the round pen? Well, guess what?"

And before long Sandy had a sweat worked up from trotting hard, fast circles in sloppy, wet sand. It was much harder to do that than anything else he'd been asked to do! After another ten minutes, Jay handed me a second lead rope and told me to follow along and if Sandy acted like he was about to apply the brakes, to 'encourage' him from behind. My pleasure! I swung the rope about at my side and that's all it took for the horse to see out of the corner of his eye. He trotted right out alongside Jay and walked promptly into the round pen!

After that, life got easy. He stood for me to mount and let me walk and trot in circles, stopped, did nice pivots and turns. His whoa is getting better, he struggles a bit with turns to the left, but overall both Jay and Curt feel good about me riding without the lead in the coming days!

Join the Hay Burner's Club and donate $15 towards Sandy's upkeep and I'll send you a 5x7 photo (once the horse is here, of course.) Or buy advertising space in the form of a button.


Pony Girl said...

Sounds like Sandy got a good lesson today. I really liked the approach you and Jay took, making him work, think, reapproach, work,'s all about keeping their feet moving and brains thinking! Eventually, they figure out the answer on their own. There is always an easy answer, but sometimes our silly horses take hardest route to get there!

Tracey said...

Just like kids, eh? :D

photogchic said...

Looks like he needs mudflaps:-) Good work Tracey.

Rising Rainbow said...

Funny how they can get it in their heads that they have already worked so don't have to do anymore. Silly horses! Bet Sandy's not going to do that again any time soon.

Callie said...

After a good workout, they eventually figure it out don't they. Lesson learned, for now.

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Shirley said...

A training session like this one, where you meet with a lot of resistance, and take the time to make sure that the horse gets it figured, can be a stepping stone from one level to the next. You will probably find that the next step will come easier for him. Keep up the good work! ( And it's always nice to have a big strong man around at times like this, isn't it!)