Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Judgement fail

Yesterday was a bad day..... or a good one depending on how you look at it. But it was a great reminder of why i took on wild horses in the first place. I had a bit of a failure in judgment yesterday...twice. Twice i found myself on the ground underneath the feet of a horse. One set a feet belonged to Matai, the stallion from the wild. The other set of feet belonged to a 6 year old, domesticated since birth, warmblood show horse. I only got hurt by one horse. Guess which one....

I am at that stage in my life, where trying to earn money, tops the list of priorities. Not because i want to be super rich, simply because I chose a very expensive lifestyle/career/ sport. Horses require a lot of money to keep them going and compete them. So when people offer me jobs i usually jump and accept, any little bit more money, that i can scrape in, fantastic. I am definitely not in the position to be picky. This is how i ended up agreeing to ride and train, a warm blood/Arabian cross horse for a lady who was giving up riding and wanted to sell him.

To cut a long story short, i definitely wasn't told the complete story, when i agreed to take on the ride. Usually i am happy to take on young or problem horses, horses with bad behaviour, or ones that just don't have much experience. What i do not take on, and try to avoid are horses that have been broken in badly, or had to be rebroke to ride. This always spells trouble to me. Because the horse has usually gotten away with and learned some pretty rotten behaviour. As it turns out with this horse. It had been broken in slowly (in other words the lady breaking him in was terrified of him, and never pushed the horse like she should have, He's intimidated her into getting away with everything), turned out afterwords, the riding was never continued, then the horse was leased out to a young girl for a month (just finding out now that he was out of control with her). The horses owner was giving up riding, and i think scared of the horse. When i rode him the first time, i had never sat on such a unhelpful, stubborn, arrogant and unfortunately intelligent horse. You couldn't get him to go forward from the leg, in fact you couldn't get very much reaction out of him at all. Unless it was to put his ears flat back, and kick out or threaten to rear. Excellent.......Anyway, not one to give up, i continued with the horse for a couple weeks, and he was getting better, still the most unwilling horse i ever worked with. I'd fixed his biting, his kicking and gotten him going forward to the leg. he still just didn't want anything to do with working with you, and had an attitude that screamed '"I don want to and you ain't gonna make me!!"

Finally yesterday, i thought id take him out for a ride around the paddock where hes kept, instead of sticking to the arena. Thinking this would be relaxing and fun for both of us. Judgement fail! I know better than to ride difficult horses at the end of the day, but it was 5 o'clock in the afternoon before i got there, your always tired and not as mentally alert as you need to be. I should have realised the horse was in a worse mood than usual, it took me 20minutes just to get the bridle on the damn thing. For whatever reason i continued on my plan to go for a nice ride. More judgment failure. As soon as i got to the paddock, the horse was more excited. But i worked him a bit, then got on his back. i Hadn't been riding more than a minute before he decided he didn't want to go the way i said. So I gave him a kick in the ribs to tell him to go forward, and he exploded......

He reared up, came back down and took off in a fit of bucking. I can stay on a good buck, i know this. But man, this horse let loose, he put a rodeo horse to shame. He twisted and leaped, and twisted and leaped. At first i tried to pull one rain to try and get his head up, this didn't work so i just hung on. To be fair i stayed on a good few bucks before he sent me flying. Boy did i fly, it seemed to propel me higher in the air, than ever before. When you go up, you must come down. So down i came onto his back feet, that were kicking in the air. Taking a good kick to both legs, before hitting the ground. the horse then did, what no horse i have ever had, has done. he had stopped bucking as soon as i was in the air, but when i landed on the ground he kicked out twice more with both his back legs. Luckily i had landed in a kind crouched position and had the presence of mind, to start getting out of the way as soon as i touched earth, so the kicks missed my head, by a couple of inches. Instead, i do have a couple of fantastic bruises on my leg, and a bit of a limp to show for myself . The bastard horse then ran off and it took me another 20minutes, to catch the damn thing. huge judgement fail on my part, even getting on that horse's back. But thankfully i only have bruising it could have been much worse.

The other judgement fail had happened earlier in the day. Had just done some work with Matai. I was on a real high buzz, because i was so pleased with the work he'd just done. So i thought id give him a quick rinse with the hose, before letting him out in the paddock. I found what looked like a nice long hose, coiled up in some long grass, next to where Matai was tied. So I went to give a great tug, to free the hose. To my surprise, the hose was only about 3 feet long. So this time i went flying backwards of my own accord, straight into the side of the horse. Then landed on my rump, directly under his feet. This is where i though "o sh$t!!, I'm about to get trampled". but instead of Matai going crazy and trampling me in panic, he sucked in his breath, tensed for a second, seeming to weigh up his options. Then looked around at me and let out a huge sigh as if to say "why is this crazy person sitting between my legs, what does she want now??". he jsut stood there not movnign while i crawled back to my feet. I love my wild horses, they try so hard to please, and are sensible and kind. They are unspoilt and there is no meanness in them. unlike bastard, spoilt rotten physco horse mentioned above....

God bless the good horses!! they make it all worth your while, so you can forget the bad ones....

Just a added note- The horse that bucked me off, would never have been bad to begin with, but through inconsistent and a series of bad handling. Basically he has in the very literal sense been spoiled rotten. If you break in horses you have to know what your doing, and you have to do the job right. Otherwise like me, people get hurt trying to salvage the monster someone else created...