Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mr. Grumpy Pants

A couple weeks ago I snapped a quick shot of Steve Holt! as he was coming out of his stall. His hair was a mess, he had alfalfa on his lips...but the expression was wonderful. I decided I needed to try again, but this time with a clean horse. I painstakingly combed his mane and forelock, brushed his face and lips off with a nice soft brush, and led him to the round pen along with my camera, where he presented me with all the charm and charisma of a teenager who doesn't want their picture taken.

"Don't make me do this."

"I'm keeping my ears back, no matter what you say."

"Fine, my ears are happy now???"

"Treats? You didn't mention treats."

Okay, so it's not got quite the look I was hoping for, but it was as good as it got today.

Our ride was going quite well this afternoon. The leads were being picked up a bit more easily than they had on Sunday (our last day of loping) and he was rating his speed nicely. We went from slow, small circles to larger, faster paced circles, then down to small and slow again. He was listening quite well and this time, it was me watching the mirror for the reflection.

Before we started our ride I'd turned on the radio in the arena. This was the first time it'd been on while we'd been in there, and Steve Holt! wasn't too sure what to think. He didn't want to work at that end, but with a few circles and a bit of persuasion, he'd begun to relax. Which is why the sudden 180 degree spin and instant high alert stance confused me. But standing down at the end of the arena was a shadow...a dark form who's features could not be seen from where we stood in the dim light.

I knew instantly who it of the owners had walked down from the barn. But to Steve Holt!'s mind, there was a predator who'd managed to slip out of that noise box, and he refused to put me in danger (or himself, for that matter) by relaxing after that. In fact...that shadow was on his mind for the rest of our ride, even though it had slipped back out of the arena as quickly as it had come. From that point forward, any shadow was guilty of...well, I don't know what it was guilty of, but in Steve Holt!'s mind, it was guilty and worthy of blowing air and sidestepping. He spooked no less than three times in the next 30 minutes, which is 3 times more than he's spooked since he's gotten here.

Eventually I got enough of his attention back to start in on some more loping, which included a couple of not so bad simple lead changes. It'll be interesting to see if he remembers this tomorrow.


Angie said...

Those photos are great! You're right, he reminds me of a teenager with those expressions.

I had an extreme horse makeover this week at my barn, but with no before and after pics. Chico had two terrible knots in his mane from all the wind and rain from last week. They were dreds by the time I got to him so now he's sporting a really bad haircut. He has (had) enough mane for 3 horses.

When it warms up and I can move my fingers without gloves I will fix him. He's actually very handsome when he's all cleaned up.

Tracey said...

Those knots sure have a life of their own, don't they? After I got Steve Holt!'s mane all combed and pretty, I found that the martingale was tangled up inside it after our ride!

I think you're wise to wait for warmer weather!

Lea and her Mustangs said...

I love your pictures Tracey. He is opiniated is all. You should see some I have of Ditto when I wanted something special. Did you know there was not a Ride the West such as we knew it?

Tracey said...

What? RTW...what is it you speak of, Miss Lea???

Deanna said...

LOL I love it!

CTG Ponies said...

Great pics! He's coming along nicely. I had a been there-done that older QH gelding that would spook at the stupid stuff and be solid as a rock at the stuff you expected him to spook at. They certainly have a mind of their own!

froglander said...

Love the new background!

On your SH! pics, can you do the one where he's got his ears up and looking away with a black background like his portrait? That one shows off his mane nice.

mikespike said...

I have to agree the Pix are great and yes he sure look's like a Teenager who does not like his Pic taken!!

Pony Girl said...

Great pictures! There is just something so regal about a Mustang's head.
I like your new blog background, too!

Shirley said...

That last picture is good; nice lighting and such a nice eye.

Gecko said...

Who's a pretty boy!!!