Monday, September 20, 2010

Bad Horse Day, part 2

After riding Panama yesterday, Michael and I went down to his family's house. I was looking forward to working with the colt after my discouraging ride on Panama, not yet realizing that this was Bad Horse Day, and the colt would be just as discouraging!

First things first, though: The colt has been renamed Rondo, as in Johnny Rondo, the cowboy. My mother-in-law didn't like the name Rodeo, although it had grown on me. The colt was responding to it, though, so on my suggestion she thought of a similar name.

In any case, Rondo was happy to see me, after a week and a half — but after a little while it became clear that he was having another pushy day. He was on top of me when I led him, fussed excessively about me asking for his back feet, was grabby with treats, and even pinned his ears a little a few times.

We worked for a bit on the hind feet, but didn't accomplish as much as I'd wanted. I also worked on him walking a space away from me when I led him, and stopping when I said whoa. This is all stuff that he usually does just fine, yet I was having a really difficult time getting him to do any of it last night! Eventually I settled for restoring some of his forgotten manners.

My mother-in-law decided that she wanted to try to desensitize him to fly spray, so we switched gears to do that. And oh, maybe we should have kept his name as Rodeo, because that was what we got! We let him sniff and see the bottle, and I sprayed it at the ground a few times to show him — but the first time I sprayed it at his chest and shoulder, he backed up and reared a little! I told him to quit, showed him the bottle again, sprayed it at the ground again, and then sprayed it at him again — same result. We repeated this a few times, until his rear got bigger.

Until this point, my mother-in-law had been trying to help hold him, which was actually sort of making it worse, because I had less control over what I was doing. When he reared bigger, she let go, but I didn't! I let some of the rope slip through my hands, then held on tight. He ran a little bit to the other side of the round pen, but still I hung on, and yelled at him to whoa. He immediately stopped and looked at me, so I praised him and reeled him back in, and went right back to working with the fly spray.

This time we had more success, probably partly because I brought out the treats. With a treat to look forward to, he stopped rearing, and eventually stopped jerking his head up. By the time I stopped, I could spray him several times in a row without him freaking out, even back on his belly and hindquarters (from my position at his head). He expected to be well compensated for it, but that's okay — the treats convinced him that I wasn't trying to kill him with the fly spray, so I can't complain!

It was a rough session with him too, which made me jokingly say to my mother-in-law that it was Bad Horse Day. I expect the wind had something to do with it, and they may have been still frazzled from two complete changes in weather in two days — from sunny and hot on Friday, to cooler and rather blustery on Saturday, to hot (but still windy) yesterday. Also, hormones may have had something to do with it, as Rondo needs to get cut — and soon!



At September 20, 2010 at 8:55 PM, Blogger Sydney_bitless said...

Don't worry. Indigo had an off day yesterday and today. She was a damn loon today something set her off and she was jiggy and did some airs above the ground before getting in BIG trouble from me when driving. Not allowed at all bugger, you would swear shes 2, not 18.

At September 21, 2010 at 7:41 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

So what you're saying is that I can't look forward to Panama growing out of it? ;o)

I think it's the weather here. We've had a lot of wind and freak thunderstorms. I'm not the only one I've talked to at my barn who has had some loony horse moments the last few days!


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