Thursday, May 21, 2009

Patience...where do I buy some?

This post might be more of a rant, so be forewarned...

I've ridden Vaquero 3 times this week, and my hope was that frequent riding would straighten out some of the problems we've been having. Or maybe not...

(1) He isn't tracking "straight" when I ride him. He wants to sort of side-pass while going forward. I've straightened him out some by riding with my hands spread apart and working on him "riding between the reins", and by constantly adjusting him with my legs. But it's annoying. This horse is 14 years old, and riding straight is a beginner lesson. This horse should know how to do this by now.

(2) He has no back up. When I ask him to back up, in the manner I've backed up dozens of other horses, he gets hot under the collar and rears, about 1-2 feet off the ground. I can understand having to "refresh" a horse's backing ability, but to have to teach it de novo is freaking ridiculous. He did the same thing when I asked him to back when I was driving him from the ground, so obviously, he just does NOT get it. Rather than risk my life and limb, I'm going to have to commit to driving him from the ground until he does get it. I cannot stand a horse that won't back.

(3) His attitude kind of sucks. He gets frustrated when trying to learn something new, and he not only reared a little yesterday when trying to learn to back up, he bucked a little when I turned him away from home when the homestead was in sight. Granted, I could barely tell he bucked, but the "attitude" was there. I spun him hard in place, and normally, I would have backed him as many as 100 yards if that's what it took to get his head straight, BUT HE DOESN'T BACK UP! In contrast, when Woody (my QH) was having to be broken of "prancing" back to the barn, I backed him up for probably 50 yards NUMEROUS times, and he NEVER offered to do anything stupid. He would just sigh and get a little bothered. Thats a much more reasonable attitude.

I know, I know...There are no problem horses, only problem riders, and I'm sure I'M the one that needs to slow down and get more patient...The horse needs to be shown the "easy" way out and only learns on the release, etc, etc. Yeah yeah, I know. I'll try to pick up a pound or two of patience on the way home, but right now I'm pissed and frustrated.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ground driving...

I finally did it!  I've been talking about ground driving Vaquero for a few weeks, and today I mustered up the courage and tried it.

It was a complete disaster, for at least the first 15 minutes.  Neither of us knew what we were doing.  Vaquero kept thinking we were longeing, and kept turning in to face me.  That makes a mess of the 30 foot driving lines, to say the least!  I was repeatedly dropping the lines and untangling them from his legs.  James was watching, and he became so frustrated watching us, that he snuck off and did his riding with Bullseye well out of range of the disaster unfolding in the round pen.

But then, I uncharacteristically found some patience, the horse started to get the idea, and we were ground driving.  We did well going counter-clockwise.  I just stuck with that for a while, learning to manage the 30 foot long reins, and giving him subtle adjustments to control the arc of his circle.  

But we had to turn at some point; disaster again!  He was all over the place, reared once, and just generally refused to turn.  But wait, a small lightbulb is beginning to burn dimly over our heads, and we are turning.  Yes!  I then worked on his stop.

We finished the session lathered.  This is the most I've seen him sweat, and I was pretty soaked, too.

We have a lot more to perfect, but I'm getting the idea, and I think he is too.  I can't wait for our next session...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Green grass...

I had a busy weekend, and no time to muck stalls and feed, so I turned the horses out to the front pasture and let them eat some of the new, green grass growing there.  I figured, "Why waste the nutrition, and I'd just have to mow anyway?".  Well, all their body conditioning went to heck in a hand-basket just like that.  They had 3 days at the all you can eat buffet, and it shows.   They're still nice and shiny, but they're walking around with grass bellies and an extra layer of fat over their ribs.

I had no idea that just 3 days of green grass would turn them into "sumo" horses.  There WILL be extra round penning...

The pics are of "Woody", the biggest pig of the bunch.  I don't think he picked his head up from the grass in 3 days.