Yea, well...This time there was blood...
I hauled horses over to a barrel practice, getting there earlier in the day, so I would have time to ride the 'greenies' before everyone else got there, and when I bent down to brush Shooter's front leg before putting a splint boot on, that dirty SOB whipped around and bit me on the top of my head.
I don't need to explain what happened next. It will suffice to say that pain makes me strike back.
I have no idea why he did it or what the heck he was thinking. I think he was as surprised as I was...Or at least the 'Oh shit' look on his face right before I returned fire made me think he didn't actually mean to connect. Too bad for him.
I don't handle Shooter with kid gloves, but usually I do stay very aware of his body language. He's got some residual 'attitude' after being doctored for so long, which to this point has been nothing more than pinning his ears and looking ugly. He had gotten reprimanded (stridently) for deliberately canting his butt toward me or pushing his shoulder into me. He's a dominant horse...Has been since he was born and he always has to test. Quite honestly....It's one of the things I have always liked about that particular bloodline so much. These are not wimpy, timid horses. But a full year's worth of doctoring has made him want to act kind of crabby about being messed with. Until you saddle him. Then he's fine. It's like he realizes that being saddled means I'm not just poking and prodding on him. Saddles mean...We are going to do something.
But hey, after that...everything went fan-tabulous!
Shooter got the snot rode out of him in the arena...
And I just have to say...
OMG...I LOVE this horse. He is sooooo stinking smooth. He just glides. Such an incredible trot...and then he lopes and ooohhhhh...It's like your floating on a cloud.
After Shooter got his work-out, it was time for my little red hotrod. And, boy oh boy...Was HE being a hotrod. He popped into a big old bucking horse style long-trot and away we went around and around the arena. Then we loped...and loped...and loped some more. I barely got him acting right and they started the barrel practice. We went outside the arena and waited while the first few people went and when it was our turn to come in, I figured I'd lope a couple more circles before starting him toward the first barrel.
Whooo-hooo...We almost had ourselves a good old fashioned bronc ride. I got him through that and away we went for the 1st barrel. He wasn't loping...He was taking these big, high, forward motion jumps and I just kept making him keep right on going. LMAO!!!
LJ is actually very hard to me to ride comfortably. He is soooo short-coupled and soooo short-necked compared to my other horses. It's often hard for me to tell if he is actually humped up or just traveling bunchy. I'm trying to make the best of it and hoping I get used to how different he is because he is soooo much fun. He does get irritated with me though because I make him keep his head up. I mean, he is genetically inclined to want to travel with his head below level (it seems to be a trait with these Starlight Starbright horses), but his reining training contributes to that. He is still confused by the fact that I want his head at least level and I don't want him to travel all curled up. Not to mention, it's not as easy for him to buck me off if his head is up. LOL.
The first couple trips through the pattern, he had NO IDEA what he was doing, but by the 3rd trip, he was starting to pay attention to the pattern again and by the end of the session, we got some real work accomplished. He wasn't terribly interested in attempting to rate for the 1st barrel, so we worked on that quite a bit and then I did some spiral work with him around the barrels. Once he settled in and really tried to work the pattern for me a couple of times, we called it quits for the night.
I pulled Frosty out and warmed him up. I just wanted to check in with Frosty and see if there was anything he needed to work on. I was still talking to a friend as I rode through the gate on Frosty to make a trip around the pattern and I was NOT prepared for him to 'make a run'. He walked into the arena and blasted off...and I was all like, 'Whooaaaa there big boy'. LOL. Frosty was ready to get right to business. Hahahahaha. As soon as he realized I didn't want a run, he just settled into a slow lope and cruised the pattern. What a dork. ;-). We did a little work, stopping straight and making him get and keep his hip up under himself and reducing his pocket size again, but 3 trips and he was right back on target and that was the end for him too.
The last one up, was Jet. I wasn't particular that Jet should work the pattern, but after we tootled around for awhile, we did trot it a few times. Lots of rate reinforcement with this guy, but he was paying attention to the pattern and was not one bit worried about anything else that was going on in the arena. Right now, that is all I am really working for with him.
Because I was going to ride the next day with a friend from that area and to save myself some miles, I overnighted at the arena. The next morning it was already threatening to rain, so my friend canceled and I decided to just take advantage of the gorgeous arena ground.
Shooter got his butt worked hard again. Jet got a little time, but by the time I got to LJ, it was starting to sprinkle. I debated loading up, but decided that LJ might as well start getting used to being ridden in inclimate weather. We rode...In the drizzle, that quickly increased to real rain...and the little redhead was not overly thrilled. He wanted to buck, he wanted to sull up, he cried for his buddies...All to no avail...This is the life of a rodeo horse...He's going to have to get used to it...
We kept after it until he stopped making a fuss, by then, I was soaked through and wanting to quit myself, but it was a good lesson for lil red. Sometimes I think, Man, is this horse e.v.e.r. going to stop acting like a prima donna show horse, but he's come around a lot. He's getting there. His next adventure will be his introduction to cattle. THAT should be fun!! :-)