Thursday, December 11, 2008


"If you're not sweating as much as your horse, you've cheated your horse"
Curt Storbakken

I know...I'm whining. It happens every year at this time. The days will soon be getting longer and you'd think I'd be rejoicing, but with all the cloud cover we won't be able to enjoy it.

Karen in Harney least you can still see outside your window right now!

I've been asked by several people just how many hours a day I spend with Steve Holt!, and I've got to be honest...maybe one. Yeah, that's right. Okay...some days it may be closer to two, but nothing more. Usually I go out in the morning and spend 20-30 minutes with him, and in the evening 30-60 minutes. Short and sweet, baby steps, it all adds up in the end.

This morning I went out with the idea that I'd get his blanket on. He had other ideas. The coat had gone on so nicely last night that I hadn't anticipated quite the problem we had. Guess that'll teach me to assume things will go smoothly one day just because the did the day before. Steve Holt! wasn't too thrilled with the noise the blanket made, nor the size of it. I spent roughly an hour getting that boy moving in circles and then facing up, moving in more circles and facing up again in an attempt to get him to relax enough for me to drape the blanket over his back. But for whatever reason, he was having none of it. Since I'd begun the battle, however, I wasn't giving up and we kept at it until that blanket was sitting atop a steaming hot horse. I don't think I worked up the same sweat Steve Holt! did, but I was covered in mud from head to toe, so I think it was a decent trade off.

Last night when the coat slipped off, and he bucked, I noticed a foot print in the center of it when I picked it up. When I finally got the blanket over Steve Holt!'s back today, and it slipped off, he didn't buck like he had last night. Nope. But he did make sure to stomp down hard right in the center of it! There was no way he was going to allow that creature back on his back...he was going to kill it good! The reaction was one of second nature and self preservation...there was no moment taken to analyze what the predator was, just a direct hit. I've never had one of my mustangs react like that and it was interesting to see, to say the least.

Once I had him settled back down and relaxed, I left Steve Holt! and went out to catch Sandy. It's been close to three weeks since I've ridden and I wanted to get out, even if it was just a short ride. Upon catching him, however, I found the mud caked pretty deep under his belly. I sure didn't have time to give the boy a sponge bath, so I slipped the bridle onto him and jumped on bareback. I've not been on a trailride bareback since I was a kid! It felt great. We jogged, loped, and even opened a gate. Sandy was a bit light and feeling good, but he carried me like a good pony ought to carry a middle aged woman who's goofy enough to forgo the saddle.

Tonight, just before dusk (that would be 3:30 here in the clouds) I went out for my evening session with Steve Holt!, bringing along a small saddle pad. The body blanket was just too heavy this morning, and the saddle pad would be nice and easy to toss back and forth onto his back.

While he didn't like it, and he continued to circle me, Steve Holt! wasn't panic stricken and was far more tolerant of the pad than the rustling, heavy blanket. I went from flipping the pad on and off, to grabbing the soft brush and grooming (something he's beginning to enjoy) back to flipping the pad onto him again. He never did relax enough to just stand there, but gone were the wild eyes and the mad dashes to escape everything. I know some folks like their horses to stand stock still, but I'm okay with him moving a bit while he's nervous. It helps him fight off the tension. As long as he's not bolting to the other side of the paddock and trying to rip my arms out of their sockets, I'm good with the circles.

Although it doesn't make for the most photogenic shot, it at least shows curiosity, right?

Steve Holt! was relaxing enough to let me brush down his back, his haunches and to his hocks this evening. On his right side, I even got down his leg to his fetlock. He was much quieter with the front legs, too. He's really liking the soft brush.

With him so relaxed, I tempted fate and pulled out the blanket. The circles got a little bigger and the pace picked up, but within 5 minutes it was resting on his back. We took our time and I pushed it around on top of him, trying to work the front closures up towards his shoulders and the tail end of it back to his tail.

I'd have taken a photo, but it was getting too dark and he's not too fond of the flash; tonight Steve Holt! sleeps with pajamas. Not the best fitting pajamas, but pajamas none the less.

Let me hear you say it with me...Steve Holt!!


froglander said...

Congrats on getting the 'pajamas' on!

Cave BlackFyre said...

Good Boy SH!

As for the being able to nail dead center something? Mustang Poncho was like that all 4 yrs he lived here.

It was not a planned, thought out thing, it was 100% instant defensive reaction. Very strong sense of self preservation.

I'd say SH! is one smart Cookie.

Tracey said... long as it's not me down there :)

Nikki E. said...

Was the cat on the post offering suggestions? Have a great day Tracey. I hope we all don't get blown away this weekend. Nikki

CTG Ponies said...

Glad to see I'm not the only crazy person that will jump on bareback for a trail ride! Sounds like you're doing a great job with him.

Lady Of Chaos said...

That is one fat cat on that fence. :) Reminds me of a few of mine... One in particular named Punk. :)

It seems to me that you're giving my hubby's future horse a good start. I have $15 in change so far (Hubby says I can only save change).

Nahima has that instant 'kill' it reaction too, you learn to work around it. :)

Keep up the good work. I can't wait for the next installment.

Shirley said...

I'm enjoying the Tales of Steve Holt! immensely. He sure does have a strong preservation instinct. He has flight and fight. I'm glad my little Chickory had only flight. Keep alert!

Gecko said...

The first photo is beautiful, he obviously doesn't mind the kitty!