Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ryan is in Portland and More About Horses

Ryan is in Portland at a conference. He had a paper to present. I have been faithfully looking after the dogs but really not doing much else other than watching Poirot mysteries (Five Little Pigs is great! Well, if you ignore the horrible acting by Aimee Mullins, but she's not in it very much so it's not that big of a deal. Big Suze is in it too. You can watch it here). 

I've been so tired recently and I think it's because of a sinus infection in combination with my hours not being suited to what my body wants.

I have Friday, Saturday and Sunday to sleep normally and by Sunday evening, I feel normal again. Human. Energetic! Then, Monday morning happens and I spend the next 4 days being a zombie. 

I'm not sure when the early birds got the upper hand, but I hate them all. The smug bastards who just tell you to "Go to bed earlier! That's what I do!". The ones that act as if they have evolved beyond the need for sleep and are therefore more evolved than you. I'm not sure why we all have to operate according to their schedule, but I seem to have the misfortune of having one as a boss a lot. My old boss didn't require sleep and his second in command pretended he didn't require sleep. The boss ended up inducing heart arrhythmia once or twice and the second in command was just a cranky jerk half the time. I had to be at work at 6am every day. I honestly don't know how I did it. I can't even imagine doing it now. I can barely imagine what I do do which is wake up at around 7, to get to work before 8. 


On Saturday, I went on a hunter pace with my current favourite - a big spooky mare named Ruby. At least we were told she was spooky and also that she was a stopper. She's never spooked particularly badly with either Casey nor me, so...her old owners were at the pace and I think they were a little shocked that we took her, on account of her apparent stopping problem and her spooking problem. Our theory is hunter paces are great for building up bravery in a horse that lacks confidence, which is really what her problem is. I also used an extra strong bit, in case she was TOO confident...  

I would like to buy her but I don't have the money and I am reticent to buy anything that has a hint of stop. I've only jumped her 3'6" once and that time she was pulling my arms out of their sockets to get to the fence, but the rumour is she has a stop above 3'. 

I have paid my dues with a stopper, starting with convincing him to jump crossrails and ending up with taking him to medal finals.The bucker I had was far, far more fulfilling to take to horse shows because all my hard work was rewarded with many, many blue ribbons and very little embarrassment. He was, to use jargon, an "Oh shit horse" meaning when you see it get off the trailer, you say, "Oh shit." A stopper is more heartbreaking than a bucker.

And I'm fed up with horsie heartbreak. 

My plan, as soon as it is possible, is to buy something trained and probably expensive. And take it to horse shows. And only sell it if and when I want to.

I'm done with greenies; I'm done with buckers, spookers, stoppers, rearers, leapers, biters, strikers and kickers. I'm also done with unsoundness, but that's a little harder to prevent. 

When I worked at a stable in college, I had a student, Catriona, whose mother used to tell us that Catriona liked to ride "spirited" horses. When Mandy took off with Catriona, bucking and farting around the ring, her mother shouted, "Ride that horse! You tame it Catriona!".

Clearly a woman who has watched too many Hollywood movies. Mandy was a feisty probably navicular quarter horse that couldn't be in lessons with other horses because she would charge at them. Once you denied her the right to charge other horses, her response was to take off, bucking and farting. We did not have good school horses at this facility, (save one, whom I rescued before I left). She wasn't a wild mustang fresh off the range who, once she realised how special Catriona was, would settle down and be her friend for life. 

Those horses you see in the movies that rear and scream? In real life, the ones that do that of there own volition are not safe to ride. Because a rearing, striking horse isn't a "spirited" horse that needs to be tamed, it's a dangerous horse that needs to be left in a pasture somewhere where it can't hurt itself or others by flipping over or coming down on someone's head. "Get rid of it! It's not worth it!" my old trainer would say when she'd hear about the latest insane horse related accident, like the one where the lady broke her leg in 3 places getting bucked off a horse that had cracked a trainer's spine 2 weeks earlier by striking at her while she was leading him somewhere. 

I know most sensible horse people already know this. It's a common lament amongst trainers, clients who insist on difficult horses - as if it shows off their ability better or somehow makes them a better rider. Everyone has to fall off and everyone has to have difficult rides, but why make it EVERY ride? Another trainer, one I worked for, used to say, "Riding is hard enough! Why make it harder with a difficult horse?"

1 comment:

fmcgmccllc said...

Interesting on the horses. No idea, I am not a horse person. Will read for awhile to see how the getting up early goes.