Saturday, August 21, 2010

I Don't Bounce Like I Used To

Part of my recent funk has been a problem with one of my horses. I have two:one is my 19 year old "good doober" and the other is an off the track thoroughbred(OTTB) who I adopted to keep the older one company. My older boy is still rideable, but he has a breathing problem which limits his amout of activity and disqualifies him from shows. His mind is oh so willing, unfortunately his flesh is not.

Last year, I had three horses, but the one I was training and hoping to show developed a neurological problem that progressed extremely fast, resulting in having him euthanized last fall. I know, I know.

I did title this blog "From Under the Dark Cloud" for a reason.

Since then, I have been looking for a horse I could bring along, ride, and show. So...I began to look at the absolutely lovely, youngish, shiny, almost-black horse that was just sitting in the barn hanging out with his buddy...

"Gil" had come to me with some serious baggage. The girl who gave him away had bought him from the track and tried to make him a dressage horse. Evidently, that was not his thing. She did tell me a few of his "rules" or things he didn't like.

Rule one-he didn't stand for a mounting block. One had to mount from the ground or be thrown like a jockey onto his back.

Rule two- He did not like jumps, cavelletti(a long pole with x's on either end for horses to trot over- it's a training tool), or poles on the ground.

But we had come a long way. I went slow with him as if he was a baby learning from scratch. And it seemed to be paying off. By this summer, he stood like a statue by the mounting block. In fact, he was better than any other horse I have ever had. Rule one-checked off the list.

Started taking him down the road. He was awesome! Amazing! He want's to be a trail horse. Great! Maybe he's not as bad as his previous owner thought! Maybe he wants to be a jumper!

With the help of a friend, I pushed a bit. We were out in a field and there were these poles...

He would not go over them. He went around, he went backwards, but not over. Oh, I almost forgot, the week before he followed her horse through a set of eight cavelletti. He was nervous, but he did it without much problem. EIGHT poles on the ground. But not these two. NO WAY.

Finally, I got him lined up. I squeezed my legs on his side to encourage him to step forward. Houston. We have lift off. He launched into the air. It felt like a four foot jump with a twelve foot spread. That would have been fine, except when he landed, he stopped all forward motion for a split second. It was kind of like having the parachute ride at the fair jam to a stop hard at the bottom, enough to bounce you from your seat, and then, when your butt almost touches back down, it springs up again. And again, and again.

Hey, I stayed with him for a good four bounces. But it wasn't eight seconds. I lose.

I flipped through the air from about six feet up, landed on my left hip, then shoulder, then helmet, slid for about a foot through the grass, and watched my horsie canter off into the distance.

I popped off the ground. "I'm good!" I declared, after all, I'd fallen off before, even drove home after one fall I am sure gave me a mild concussion. Not this time. I don't bounce like I used to.

"No, not good. I need a minute. Maybe I'll just lay here for a while." My friend's terrier came and laid against my back (too cute)and my boyfriend waited patiently to help me into the car to drive me back to the barn. He had held his breath and watched the whole thing. Apparently, it was quite the rodeo, Gil has a lovely twisting motion to his bronco act.

Oh, and it turns out my friend's jumper is a great cow pony. He rounded up my naughty beastie like a pro.

Since then, Gil has spent some quality time with a pole in his stall. If he wanted his food, he had to step over it. He now walks over them calmly. On a lead line.

I am ridiing again, but on my "good doober" and my friend's pony. I'm having a blast. Gil is going back to work, and I will get back on, but for now we'll let sleeping poles lie.

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