Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hassayampa Bound

I can say with certainty that Little John has moved from 'terrified of open spaces' phase to 'buddy sour' phase. (curls lip)...I do not like buddy sour horses!

He was acting like a little poop this last ride, so we went for a stroll in the desert. We have just been ponying out in the desert and then I get on and tootle around on him in the yard, work on his barrel patterning and he watches me walk of logs (sigh). It's coming. He will now follow me over a log. 'A' log. Not two in a row though. Just one at a time. Still won't go over one if I'm riding him. I'm getting the feeling that the 'redhead' is coming out in him, but I was not ready to make an issue of it yet.

So he's walking along out in the desert pretty good, looking around, but since he was just there, not to concerned. Then he gets to where he's wanting to lock up and turn around for home.


Not so much you little shit. I can deal with 'I'm overwhelmed out here in all this openness'....I do not tolerate a horse getting more and more pissy about wanting to go home. So we took off trotting.

Now, you have to understand...

LJ has the most ungodly trot-thing going on right now. He will jog nicely in an area he feels comfortable in and it's pretty...and nice to ride. Anything faster than that little jog and it's like being on a pogo-stick. He does not know how to properly long-trot. There is no extension of his body or lengthening of his stride. He simply just moves his legs faster...and faster...and faster. (Boing, boing, boing)...He will rattle your teeth. There are few things more uncomfortable than a short-coupled horse trotting fast.

So we bounce around out in the desert, every time he starts to feel a little panicked, we circle some bushes, get his stride regulated again and then straighten out again. I mean, the horse HAS to learn this stuff. If he's going to cut it with me...He HAS to. LJ doesn't realize this, but the whole time, we have been working our way in a big circle. When I finally ask him to just walk again, he really has no idea we are almost at the front gate.

BTW...LJ doesn't know how to w.a.l.k. out in the desert either. I'm not sure he even know how to walk  for more than a few strides at a time. But low and behold, he finally hits a swinging walk and I thought, well, we are going to milk this for a little bit and we ride right on by the gate and head south towards a more developed area. LJ is walking along, stretching his neck out...stretching his head down...Testing to see where the end of the reins are, and of course, I give him his head completely because after all...

The objective IS to get him to stretch through and forward and


That dirty little shit, sucked back and blew up on me.

I was bucked off immediately.

I'm no bronc rider. I can ride a bucking horse...IF I know they are likely to buck. Sometimes I get lucky like I did with Frosty awhile back, but usually I am just bucked off pretty quickly. My classic exit is getting rolled over the left shoulder of the horse. I can ride the hell out of a 'spook', but that suck back and blow maneuver...I don't have a good track record with that. LOL.

Needless to say, I AM experienced in that particular dismount and I usually roll lightly and gracefully through the landing and jump right back to my feet. I am the master of the unplanned, left-shoulder roll dismount. Hahahahaha

I jump up and look, just in time to see LJ take a couple of running strides and I think, 'CRAP, I'm gonna have to walk home and I do hope that stupid horse actually realizes where home is'. And then he just blows up and gives it all he's got. He bucked so hard he bucked himself right into the middle of a creosote bush and then froze.

Hahahahaha. I was trying so hard not to laugh out loud. I didn't want him to come 'unlocked' until I got ahold of the reins. I got him caught, led him out of the creosote bush, stepped on and we fast trotted around in another big loop and didn't stop until we were in sight of the front gate.

LJ hadn't even broken a sweat. :-/.

This does not bode well for me. I'm not used to having to ride down a young, already, fit horse. I've been working with lazy, fat, mature horses for a few years now. Even Shooter is not inclined to be 'high energy'.

I'm kinda thinking LJ needs the deep sands of the Hassayampa River bed, if I intend to treat him to the 'wet saddle blanket' training program (evil grin). So that is where we are headed for a few days of riding, until little mister gets some of these colty hijinx out of his system. I don't care how tough LJ thinks he is, that soft, deep sand will take the starch right out of a horse. :-)


Shirley said...

Weeeelll... sounds like you are getting to know him pretty good! Glad you didn't get hurt on that unplanned dismount.
Here's to wet saddle blankets, they've made a horse out of many a colt.

smazourek said...

Have his feet been worked on yet? Last time I saw his feet it didn't look like he *could* extend. Just a thought.

At least he got his own after bucking you off. LOL on that one!

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Yes they have smazourek. :-). It's going to take another round to get that reining horse toe off of them, but still, there is a distinct difference between a horse that knows how to extend and is impeded and one that doesn't know how to extend at all. LJ simply doesn't. know how He's never had to. His whole riding/training experience up to the point I bought him and started riding him out in the open has been 'reining horse'. Collected and cadenced. He is a smaller, short-coupled horse and that doesn't lend itself to big, floaty strides anyway, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have to learn how to extend the body he has, stretch through and lengthen his stride. That comes through miles of riding/wet saddle blankets and mental maturity (getting broke!, not just 'trained), not a hoof trim. :-)

Yes Shirley I am getting to know this little guy. I am finding out there is definitely some temper behind that sweet little expression LJ usually has. And some dogged determination. Which is the kind of metal a good barrel horse needs. It's not like his breeding hasn't proven itself in the showring, they have. It's just that what I want to do with LJ requires a little more 'grit' and not all show-bred horses have that. LJ does though. It's actually making me like him on a deeper level than just his pretty expression. LOL. It will be a little bit before he is broke enough to trust opening him up, but from the feel of him, he has speed to spare. :-D

Cut-N-Jump said...

If the deep sand doesn't take the starch out of him, at least it will be soft landings for you.

I had a horse do that to me once, stretched out his nose with the reins, walking along all nice and relaxed... only instead of bucking he laid down to roll. I had a heck of a time getting him up without him rolling on what was my new saddle at the time. I was pretty ticked at him for that. At the moment I valued the saddle more than him.

No doubt you won't be able to get it all sorted out. It will just take miles and time. He'll come around.

kestrel said...

The little brat! Hahaha, at least he finally brought the fight. Once it's settled he'll start making real progress.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

That is exactly the way I look at it too kestrel. I'll coddle them along as much as they need if I think it's because it's too intimidating or overwhelming...But when it turns into 'the other thing'...It's GAME ON!!!

I love this part. I might add. :-)

smazourek said...

No prob, you've got it in hand :) Sometimes poor hoof form can put too much pressure on the extensor tendon and the horse compensates by taking short, choppy strides.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Yes it can do that. Typically though, you can feel (even hear) the horse slapping the ground with their feet and feel the recoil coming up the front legs. That is what makes them get stiff in their shoulders and not want to stretch forward and through. LJ is just quick-strided and bouncy. LOL.

Joyce Reynolds-Ward said...

Yeah, sounds like the early days with my reining-bred mare. Ground poles also work pretty sweetly on getting these horses to move out and extend. She's got a big trot in her, though, which is her saving grace.

The temperament is what makes 'em good competitors. Mocha looks pretty mellow and is, most of the time, but she's got a bit of sting when you ask for it. My rule of thumb when advising the young college students admiring her (after they've done groundwork with her) is that the horse they ride with her is a different horse from the horse on the ground. Sure seemed like we spent a lot of time establishing that I knew what I was talking about!

Thing is, as a young horse, these reining horses sure seem to get into these modes where they're buttheads. Her trot was godawful at first, but we spent a LOT of time working on it. And she used to tell me all the time that she couldn't work in collection at the trot....a real trot, not a jog. Then she slipped, went down on her knees for two strides, and got back up while I kept contact and my balance...after that, she conceded that maybe I knew something.

He just needs work and wet saddle blankets. I resorted to an English saddle and cavaletti with Mocha for a while--had to ground drive her over them, then she picked up the rhythm of a bounce and grew to love it under saddle.

fernvalley01 said...

Oh LJ, baad idea!! now you are gonna work! I am like you cant really ride a buck, I can keep my seat in a spook or bolt ,but if they have a mind to get rid of me ,I pick my exit if I can and tuck 'n roll