Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sensitive Sally, Prickly Prince, Breakable Baby

Well it has been half a fortnight since my last post and I do apologize. Our "vacation" to FL took a hefty chunk out of my horse/blogging time and then the weather was uncooperative and its just been a mess.

So much mud.

I also will not be doing a "What Do Wednesday" today because I feel thats all I've actually BEEN posting about since I've barely been riding. Which is sad. But informative!

The holidays are creepin', and I finally sent my Secret Santa gift in the mail :D I also received some awesome breeches from German Rider and I am le stoked about it. I need breeches in a bad way. So many holes. So many leggings.

Today, for the first time in what seems like forever (an ongoing winter trend), I rode the nugget.

He was a nut ball, per what I assumed. The poor lad hadnt been worked for 2 weeks and then was imprisoned stalled for 2 whole days thanks to the torrential sideways freezing rain. He was not amused.

Point being, I expected it.

I think thats what made this ride so much easier to deal with than our last.

To recap, we hacked down the road and the baby took to spooking violently at every sound, leaf and stick, thus shredding my fingers. Literally. It was not fun. Lesson here; never forget riding gloves!

My fingers are on the mend, I did not forget my gloves today AND I lunged beforehand. I really did not want to considering the "riding field" was a mud pit, but I felt I had no choice. Little lad needed to work on some manners first.

Spotting nonexistent horse eating beasts
I LOATHE lunging to let off steam, but seriously, YOU TRY riding a freight train with a horrible bolting habit. I hated myself for it, but we lunged.

And lunged. And lunged.

At first, it was literally Bacardi madly galloping around me, cross cantering, bucking and spooking at everything.

Oh this will not do. This will not do at all.

What we needed to do was work on transitions and LISTENING to me, but he wasnt having it. Not one bit.

He would spook, fart and GALLOP, meanwhile I was holding on for dear LIFE at the end of the line.


But I started to notice a trend. When he would spook and hit the end of the line, he would actually run HARDER.

Hmmmm. Momma's listening....

What would happen if I went WITH him? Crazy, I know.

But you know what? It worked. To an extent.

The little shit would take off and I would go with him. In approximately 4 seconds he would realize his mouth wasnt being jammed by the end of the line and he would visibly relax. At this point, we are both still running around, but he was fucking listening to me at least. ACTUALLY listening.

What a bastard.

Apparently I cannot reprimand him AT ALL and must coo at him and hold his hoof and let him know it was okay. You know, instead of the normal, "whoa, whoa, whoa" with coordinating half halts on the line.

Poor babe is just sensitive.

An adorable pain in my ass
Seriously annoying, but sensitive.

And I doubt thats his fault.

He's still a brat, but with this technique, after a few times he stopped bolting and would only break into the canter around me. If I touched his face, AT ALL, he would try to make a run for it. So we delicately danced, working on voice transitions and behaving onesself. I think he realized that even if he was silly, he woudlnt "get punished" by hitting the end of the line and stopped spooking so much all together. What a vicious cycle aye. Only took me a few weeks to realize it. 

I was quite proud of our accomplishment together, and happy we made another notch in our training belts. I was beginning to worry about so many things. Saddle fit, bit fit, blindness...I even had a vet check him.

Its SERIOUSLY a pain in the ass to coddle a horse, but I cant be mad. I bet his face was ripped apart at the track and is truly just fearful of getting his face jammed when he misbehaves. I can't blame him.

If ya'll really want to participate in WDW, you could tell me what kind of bit you use and why! I'm only curious, not looking for training tips- to put it bluntly.

Luckily I found the perfect bit for for B for dressage (thick, french link lozenge loose ring snaffle-say that ten times fast) and I think I've found one for jumping. Sadly, I sent it with Yankee and am *hoping* a new one appears under my tree. If not, I shall order one. For now, the 3 ring will have to do, but even with the connectors, I just think its too much hardware. He seemed to like the Lever noseband though (I tried it because Yankee likes it so much) so I might keep that....but I really think his hacking/jump bit is the waterford loose ring snaffle. Bit musical chairs is always fun a pain, but once you find the right one, all the stress goes away. And you have a mighty nice bit collection!

I'm hoping to revisit our lesson from today, tomorrow, and then take him to the arena for some flatwork and maybe some baby crossrails over the weekend.

Really getting sick of winters shit ( and its only December).


  1. Such a handsome creature. And I know what it is like to "fly" a thoroughbred on a lunge line. It can be quite exciting!

  2. Sometimes you just gotta get out there and let them run around. I'm definitely okay with lunging if a round pen is not available :) Do what you gotta do girl! Glad you're back on the horse... Literally.

  3. He's so cute! Good job figuring out his trigger on the longeing... too bad you don't have a round pen or arena. I'm seriously wishing I had an arena. Winter does totally suck. I was wondering if it's a bit thing too since he bolts under saddle and on the longe. I hope you can get the one he likes soon. I started out with a regular D-ring snaffle for Chrome, but he doesn't like it, so I'm trying a French link (if it ever gets here) so I really hope it likes this one lol. He's been so much happier since I started riding him in his halter (been using his halter because I found out the other bit was too narrow for him so I don't feel right using it while I wait on the French link). So yeah I feel your bit pain lol.

  4. I'm not one for lunging, but yesterday I literally just got off and let Courage fly around like a kite for a while. THEN I got back on and he was lovely.

  5. that lunge work sounds exhausting - but at least you both figured some stuff out! hopefully that uber-sensitivity will recede over time as he feels more and more confident and safe with you :)

  6. My red mare does the same thing - I feel like I'm flying a kite some days but with the farm iced down, I'd rather she be a doofus in the lunge line and not, like... bolt around outside and kill herself or go through the fence, or something. I will have to try following her, as the royal red princess does not like discipline, either (though she lacks a past that makes it make sense, as Bacardi has).

    The red princess started out in a Nathe mullen mouth loose ring snaffle, moved up to a french link eggbutt snaffle when she started to ignore the Nathe. She now goes in my personal "miracle bit", which is a Korsteel weighted loose ring 16 mm single joint snaffle which was the best 15$ I've spent. It has a little curve to it, and it doesn't seem to do the nutcracker thing. Both of my mares really like that bit - they seem to be more willing to self carry in it and don't act shocked/have a total tantrum when I apply aids because I think they can feel the rein move before the pressure applies. I'm thinking of trying a beval/loose ring with loops type gag for jumping, as my half halts are totally ignored.

  7. I was going to could be the bit or mouth causing that reaction. I use a Mullen Mouth Happy Mouth a lot, and the sensitive ones seem to love it. It's super soft but also good for strong horses. Another good option is a basic Myler.