I am going to break all of the rules and pass this on to everyone on my blogroll. Being rather busy lately-I haven't been able to get to everyone every day, but you all are there for a reason. I love reading your blogs!!! For those of you that have already received this award-know that you are appreciated and for those of you that haven't had it passed to you yet...Consider it done!! Every single one of you are fantastic reads and deserve this award.
So this is another one of my "project's"...As a yearling, my brother turned down $3500 for this horse. He is the only horse that we have ever raised that we ever considered stallion quality. I know, some of you may look at his rather long back and question why we would ever consider letting him keep his testies. His sire was a Lady Bugs Moon/Otoe/Poco Tivio bred stud. Smoke's dam was out of a AAA+ sire and a AA dam. There is a lot of "run" in those bloodlines and ideally we wanted to add some length to our rather blocky King/Leo bred mares.
Smoke's greatest downfall as a stallion prospect was the fact that he was rank. He was probably one of the meanest horses we have ever owned. My brother was scared of him and didn't handle him much. As a 2y/o Smoke pawed through a panel, got his hoof stuck, tore the fence down trying to get loose and very nearly removed his right front foot. While at the vet's for 2 weeks, he also got "brain surgery". Six months of doctoring that foot didn't make him too fond of people messing with him either.
By that winter, my brother's life was rapidly falling apart and healed or not-Smoke was turned out to pasture. There he sat for the next 4 years. Amazingly, while he has a terrible scar on that foot, the hoof wall is not damaged and he is completely sound.
When I came back to SD, 2 years ago-he was one of the ones I started messing with. He was so obese that we christened him "Fat Albert". First order of business was to get him to like people-even just a little bit. Megan is great for that. She just goes out and follows stuff around until they get tired and let her pet them. It took most of that summer to just get him where I could halter him and try to trim those feet. But he came around. He may have been a rank stud, but as a gelding he is very gentle.
Last fall, I went to the ranch to pick up a couple other horses and there stood poor Smoke with his nose twice it's normal size. Worried that it might be a rattlesnake bite, I hauled him to mom's to doctor. Luckily, I think that bite must have come from a bee up his nose, because he got over that in a couple of days. Rather than haul him back to the ranch, I decided to start his round pen work. I figured he was just too darn nice to let him sit. Besides, he is a 1/2 brother to Moon, so I am thinking "BARREL HORSE".
He started out really nice. He is a kind horse...loves attention and has never bucked one single time under saddle. So why didn't I go ahead and step on him last fall? I don't know! Maybe because I am getting older, maybe because I am out of practice at riding colts the first few times, maybe because he is older and I know just how much power he has. So here I am again, this summer, he is another year older and I am faced with having to step on this guy very soon. I learned a little trick, that I employed on Frosty and it worked great. I am going to saddle a broke horse and spend some time on him in the pen with Smoke. The getting on and off another horse really helps horses get used to having someone above them and having another horse that doesn't get excited seems to calm the greenies. Part of me really, really wishes there was someone around here that would work with me and would be willing to put the first few rides on him. But there isn't, soooo I am stuck with doing it. I really, really hope I do not become a lawn dart. It sucks getting older...wiser...losing your bounce.
This morning, Smoke worked just as nice as last night. I stepped into the stirrup and he blew sideways. Holy crap, this horse has a lot of power. I am not worried about him bucking with me so much as I am of him just flat out leaving me in mid-air. He can turn on a dime and give you change. But I just kept messing with him and pretty soon he was standing fine. I'm sure that working him with another horse is going to work fine. Once he gets used to seeing someone mount and being above him, I think he will calm down and move off without a big wreck.
He has a lot of lessons to be learned yet. He was not having anything to do with having a bath this morning...
But they all come around to that pretty quick. Nothing feels so good as cool water, washing the sweat off. My mom used to poo-poo a lot of the stuff that Megan and I do, but our horses seldom spook at anything, they tie, they clip, they load and they lead properly. There is just something about all of that time spent on the ground that translates into "its no big deal" when you start riding them. At least that is what I am praying for. :o