Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Jail Bird

Steve Holt! must have felt like he was in jail last night. It was the first time he was closed into his stall. See the poor baby peering out from between the bars? All I need to do is find him a set of striped pajamas to sleep in...



I said I wasn't going to...but I did.

What did I did? I looked back to see where Sandy was at the end of week one. The only thing I remembered clearly was that on day 8 I put the saddle on his back. That, and the fact that he was lacking confidence in a big way. What I hadn't recalled was that I'd left him tied for five minutes, or that I'd run my hand down at least one of his front legs. That must have been huge for him, because he was terrified to have me alongside his body, let alone feel my hand anywhere below the elbow.

At first I was a bit intimidated when I read how much we'd really accomplished that first week. Then I went outside to work with Steve Holt!, and it all melted away.

Steve Holt! and I had a visitor today. A quiet little blog lurker...yeah...that's right! Someone who comes and reads, but doesn't comment... I figure that brings my readership up to about 8, woo hoo! But back to the visit. I'd already been out with Steve Holt! this morning and not accomplished much. While he tolerates more than most horses have while I'm at his shoulder, he clearly is not comfortable with me being there, and this morning I figured I'd just not worry about it over the next few days. After all, I've got my Hags On Stangs fund raising show this weekend, so I'll be pretty busy.

Well...it sounded like a good excuse, at least. But then the visitor showed up. I was outside, introducing a soft brush to Steve Holt!, who seemed to be enjoying it's feel as he stood quietly while I groomed his neck, shoulder, down his leg and back to his hip. I was expecting my quiet reader to show up as she'd emailed to say she would be in town, so it wasn't a surprise when she pulled into the drive. Steve Holt! wasn't expecting it, though, and stood tall and alert, looking to see who was coming.

This was Steve Holt!'s first visitor, and he was curious. As his guest approached the fence, Steve Holt! walked cautiously up and reached out to sniff...friend? foe? Sniff sniff sniff...must be a friend. As I continued to handle the gelding, my visitor and I discussed training methods and how she was coming along with her own little mustang. She adopted 6 weeks ago and is looking for insight on how best to progress.

While we were speaking, I figured I may as well try something new. I took off my coat, let Steve Holt! sniff it, and tossed it onto his back. Again...he wasn't thrilled with this new situation, but he handled it with grace. I led him around (if you can call it leading...I'm not too sure that's what most folks would call it) a bit, then pulled it off and put it up from the other side. Everything was going swimmingly, but then he shook, and his shake that began at the head worked it's way down his neck and into his shoulders and down his spinal column...and the coat fell off.

YIKES!

Well, okay, maybe I'm exaggerating just a wee bit. But he did startle and bucked into the air before landing and turning to see what that was. When I say buck, it was one middle sized pop into the air with all four's. Thankfully, he settled back down quickly and the coat went back up on his back while I pounded and patted and flapped the arms, and while he wasn't exactly sleeping through it, he hung out with me and tolerated my strange human behavior.

And that, my friends, has me pondering the placement of a saddle on the back of one Steve Holt! just a few days earlier than 8 days.



Steve Holt! grabs a bite of hay from the manger inside his new jail cell.

9 comments:

Cave BlackFyre said...

Uh Tracy..... Have you read the high wind warnings for Friday???? Be aware SH! might like a good bounce about in the high winds ;-)

I'll not mention the 's' word purported for Friday night and Saturday and I have my judges outfit washed and ready (long johns, thermal under shirt to go over long jonh top, then turtle neck, then polar fleece, then down vest, lololol.....wishing I had a pair of fleece lined jeans! Hand warmers for boots and pockets to keep fingers from freezing, and BIG coffee thermos for between classes, lol) so I'll not say the "S" word but will be interesting to hear how SH! takes all the crazy weather forecast headed our direction.

He really is coming along nicely if he decided he could approach another human he doesn't know! I guess I better get my sorry self over to visit him soon too! :-)

Tracey said...

Yes, you had better do that! That, being coming for a visit. No need for thermals and objectionable white stuff suits...it's not going to come down until after my show. I'm plugging my ears and not listening...

gtyyup said...

He's a very handsome JailBird!! Movin' right along!

Good luck with your show this weekend too.

Katee said...

He's such a handsome boy and I'm happy that he's coming along so well.

Is he really that much taller than your other horses or does that last picture just exaggerate things with the angle?

Lulu said...

You should add a Site Meter to your blog....so you can see how many of us lurkers there really are! :)

Linda Reznicek said...

You're making fast progress. I think that's great. He's obviously not too stressed out. How many hours do you think you're out there a day with him?

Tracey said...

Katie, he's part tall, and it's part angle. He's roughly the same size as Jet, which is 15.3/16 hands.

Lulu...you're a lurker??? Come into the light, dearie, where we can take a better look at you!

Linda, I work short sessions. 15-30 minutes, twice a day. I know some folks put in more time than that, but it's all I really need as far as hands on work. The rest of his 'training' is just me plunkin' around, filling water tubs, cleaning stalls and general stuff that lets him get used to me hanging around.

Karen, thank you. I find him to be quite handsome. Can't wait for that somewhat worried expression to vanish!

Brooke Taylor said...

I'm a new lurker--lurk over at the Kiger boards although not so frequent. My wild one is now with a trainer and so I've been fascinated with all the mustang blogs.

Mari was captured at 3--came in with a healed broken shoulder, which left her with a club foot. My understanding of her history was she was only adopted because she was pregnant. The stress caused her to abort and things went downhill for her after that.

She's in Oklahoma now, and I've been semi-successful with her using clicker training while waiting to find a trainer I could trust with her. We just don't have many mustang-savvy trainers here. But hopefully I've found the right fit.

Sadly the stress of moving her and training caused her to collic on her 2nd day with the trainer. It was pretty mild, but scary!!

Anyway--I'm really enjoying Steve Holt!'s progress, he sounds like a winner!

Gecko said...

Good on ol' Steve Holt! Or should I say young Steve Holt? Hehe.

It's funny that you did this because way down here in Aus I was doing the same thing to my Bundy boy, perhaps even on the same day. MAYBE EVEN THE SAME TIME!! *mind boggles* Except mine was with an oil-skin raincoat and it's taken me 5 years to do it. He has had it on his back twice in an unexpected shower of rain, but never really thrown around like his rider was wearing it. I didn't know what the expect though because when I first got him he was scared of oil-skins, even scratchy jackets he didn't like.