Better late than never, we’ve been a little busy through Christmas with our lovely -40 degree winter weather and snow we’ve had. Plus everyone went home for the holidays except a couple of us holding down the fort. Now for a continuation of the story so far. The last 5 months have been the most challenging. I brought my two most quirky horses as the testing ground of, if I can get through to these boys in this program, I know I’ll have achieved what I’ve set my sights on. The best laid plans…well you know how that goes sometimes. The boys were both acclimating well and were only going out together and not with any other horses. Now it was time to introduce them to the smaller herd of 15 or so horses.
Well Cat never went out with more than one friend at home because he never could figure out how to be in a herd and not run into the fence. Rocks had been out with a few buddies, and generally in the herd was always pretty sure of himself. The day came to turn them out and I can tell you I was slightly terrified for Cat’s well being because as I’ve said before, red headed high anxiety child. I went out the next morning to bring them in to feed and Cat of course managed to mangle his front leg in the fence. Praise Jesus the vet was already going to be here that day for dental work, because Cat managed to do a special number on his front right cannon bone. Then there is Rocks, with not one mark on him and perfectly content. Cat got 15 or so stitches in his leg and was put on stall rest for essentially 6-8 weeks. The one advantage to this, is now Rock’s needed to step up to the plate and ride like a big boy with guests. For him, that did not blow over well initially. I had very few rides on him prior to coming, and he had some baggage that I didn’t know about yet. I found out very quickly that he didn’t like horses in volume riding at him or coming up behind him. He would scoot off or spin. He especially disliked anyone riding with a flag near his general space, then he was just going to leave town. These struggles proved to be difficult for him to get past. Over the September and October guest stays, gradually his problems with traffic in the arena got much better with the guidance of Des and Shayne. His concerns about the flag were later addressed once we wrapped up the guest stays for the season. Then Des had time to help him and help me to get him more comfortable with the flag. Rocks was very much the flighty and offended type with the flag. We got there, and it still a work in progress, but now someone can ride by with one and he’s ok with it. We are no longer looking to exit the arena.
Round two came with Cat going in the herd at the end of October, and he made it a whole two weeks before finding the fence a second time, and of course it was within 24hrs of me being gone to Georgia for the celebration of life for my trainer Sunny. We landed on stall rest for most of November, but once again it gave me time with Rocks. His riding and ground work has come much further. Once Cat came off rest in December I finally was able to get him going on his groundwork and help get him more caught up to where Rock’s was at with the flag. At this point, Cat hadn’t seen a flag or been touched with one since July. Initially the groundwork was ok, and he was tolerant. Then Des was kind enough to work with him and then we found the spot. You couldn’t touch his legs with the flag. He was ready to stomp and strike at it like a snake. Cat was very defensive over the flag being anywhere on his body that he did not want it. Des was very patient and consistent with him until he accepted that the flag was there and not going to cause trouble for him. Since that first day, Cat came quite far, he now accepts the flag on the ground and from the fence. Rocks has become much more comfortable with the flag from the ground and the fence as well. Rock’s still has a few moments with the flag being above his head when I’m on the fence, but that funny spot is getting better. The hope here is that in the next couple weeks the boys will be riding with the flag as well as being able to introduce them to swinging a rope. As long as the weather fairs well and everything here goes smoothly we’ll be picking up more time in the arena again, hopefully have some good updates on the boys! In the meantime I’m waiting on Cat’s custom saddle to arrive, because my high maintenance child needs a tree that is an exact fit for him. He’s one of those kids. I went through it with his jumping saddle, and I had him measured before I left so I could get a tree ordered for him and my saddle maker on schedule to build for me. I must really love him, but at least only one is high maintenance. Bless Rocks for being an easy keeping, low maintenance kinda guy. He helps balance out Cat’s menagerie of bills and drama. Till next time…