Friday, May 9, 2008

Welcome to Club Dirt

Sandy the cow horse...sorta

Yes, that's right; Club Dirt. Sandy had been doing so well, and we'd taken our first two solo rides a couple days ago. Then Tuesday morning I figured we'd ride again...without my beloved Jay to start us off, and I didn't work enough of the nerves out of him, so as soon as I got on he was ready and willing to get me off.

This boy looks like a poster child for the Pendleton Round Up when he gets to going, let me tell you! I saw him do it the first week he was here; head tucked between his knees and shoulders flying high into the air before his feet drop to the ground in a thud and his head flies up...then down...then up...all in a rolicking motion that makes a sea sick person wish they'd taken their dramamine before mounting up.

And that's what he did with me. At first it was a trot off just as soon as I landed on his back. I had my left rein shorter from the mount, which was good as I could pull him into a circle. But rather than slow down and relax as he found himself doing something he'd done before, his fear elevated and his head lifted; he began dancing on the front just a little and pivoting rather than circling. And just when he seemed to relax just a wee bit and I thought to change hands and take him the other way, down went his head and up came those powerful shoulders. Hump wump bump...a couple of good rolling moves and that was it. I was sunk and rolled off backwards over the cantle and into the dirt.

Welcome to Club Dirt...I'll be your seating hostess. Would you like to start with a mouthful of gritty sand on the rocks?

I managed to pull myself up onto my feet and caught the last couple of good bucks as Sandy reached the wall on the other side of the round pen. He turned around, eyes glazed with fear and shot straight back at me, panting and snorting and wondering what the heck had just happened. His eyes were wide with fear and uncertainty. I have him a pat, apologized for letting him down by not working him first, and wondered just how bruised my body was going to be by morning.

I spent the rest of the afternoon working him from the ground, then called Jay before heading for home, leaving an absolutely pitiful message for him to find later in the day. Poor guy. He's an absolute God-send, really, and if I were about to jump off the ledge of a building, he's the guy you'd want to call to have come talk me down. He got me back up into the saddle yesterday and talked both Sandy and I into relaxing, and today it was solo again, but of course with my 'rock' standing in the pen with me to help me through those initial jitters.

I'm not convinced that Sandy will be ready to ride through the obstacle course in Sacramento. He's come such a long way, but his lack of self confidence gets in his way even though he's trying hard to understand what I'm asking and to please me. By the end of today's ride he was once again listening closely and working hard to understand the direct rein and leg cues I was giving him, and Jay was encouraging me to pick up the program another level. But we've all agreed that it's better to be safe than sorry once we reach the show in four weeks. It's a bit disappointing, really, as I think this is a terrific horse and would love to show him off. He's just one who needs a little more time to discover how truly wonderful he really is and I'm not willing to push him beyond his comfort and security level. (Okay...and I really don't want to visit Club Dirt in front of 5,000 people, either!)

Bridges? Piece of cake!


Jessie said...

Tracey, sorry to hear about your newfound membership. Don't worry though, you are not alone!! I believe we had this chat over at Dena's blog a while back and recall you didn't want to hear about it!!

I hope you aren't too sore. Things will get better, you are doing great with Sandy.

Janet said...

Tracey, We keep a bottle of whiskey at the barn. We are only allowed a shot if we get bucked off, so if you don't have one take some motrin and ice all your sore spots. I hope you're back in the saddle soon. You are doing great. Janet and Chato

Janet said...

Tracey, We keep a bottle of whiskey at the barn. We are only allowed a shot if we get bucked off, so if you don't have one take some motrin and ice all your sore spots. I hope you're back in the saddle soon. You are doing great. Janet and Chato

Tracey said...

Thanks for the sympathy regarding the membership, Jess! And yes, I do recall that conversation at Dena's place, lol! that what the whiskey is for??? I really wasn't as sore as I'd thought I would be, thankfully, and was able to swing my leg back over the saddle without wincing the following afternoon :)

Dixie said...

Chin up Tracey,
If you could see what Bertie has been doing you wouldn't fill so bad.
We never know from on day to the other if she is going to be good sweet Bertie
or think she is in the Kentucky Derby.

Mrs Mom said...

Aww shucks Tracey, you KNEW it had to happen at least once. See, it did, now its over, and Life Is Good again! ;)

I still think you should be insanely proud of Sandy, and how far the two of you have come together.

Ya know, I wonder.... Its a great thing that you have kept your online journal here.... I have an idea that I am going to email you. In time, it might be a lot of fun for you, and bring back some incredible memories!

Hugs from the Southland-
S~ and crew

Rising Rainbow said...

Don't give up yet, Tracey, a lot can happen in a month. Who knows Sandy might just "get it" by then. When he does, it's going to be amazing.

I understand the fear....poor Reflection had that too. Unfortunately I didn't have a rock to help us through it like you have. Now Reflection is with a trainer much younger and more agile than me who is getting through it with him but he had to sit for months first.

I'm so glad you could get back up the next day and work through it. I'm sure that will be much better for your horse than what happened to mine.

I'm also glad that you weren't that sore. I think how bad we hurt afterwards directly affects how much fear we get from the incident.

Just keep on working on getting inside his head. If you can get that complete trust that you are his leader, you guys will be awesome. Not that you aren't awesome already......but you know what I mean. lol

Kathy M said...

Oh Tracey hang in there! There is still time. Free stopped bucking like a week before TX? and he may have walked some of the trots and trotted the lopes, but they had a good go and came home happy.

You aren't the only one with a horse that needs a little more confidence... I know time seems shot but look where you are so far!

We are trying to tape Angi more because it helps her when she gets a chance to watch it.

:D Every time she works Prosperity she thinks shes ALMOST ready, that next time...

then the next session she thinks, almost...

Anonymous said...

I belong to Club Road Rash - welcome! (fall from my mountain bike this weekend) All I can say is you have way more guts than me! I'm nervous about getting on a slightly pudgy draft horse for the first time - lol.