Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Whoa and The Go

Over the weekend, BO told me that Spyder has been pulling his stupid "I'm going to freak out and spin around and possibly take off for no reason" routine in his fave corner lately. Since he's been here for two years now, she's pretty much over making excuses for it. She told me he needed someone to get on him with a crop, a martingale, and their bit of choice and make him get over it. There's no reason for bad manners. Ever.

I volunteered and on Tuesday I pulled him out of his paddock and we had a talk about standing still on the cross ties. Then we had a talk about not throwing his head around while bridling. Then we had a talk about leading in a straight line at my shoulder. This horse gets ridden at least two times a week. It's not a lot, but after two years you'd think he'd at least have basic ground manners. But no.

his favorite under saddle activities: chomping obnoxiously on
the bit and diving his head down. 

Got on, walked him around once each direction, and sent him off at the trot. He's naturally horribly lazy and I think that makes his rider complacent, and he takes advantage and goes off on a sass rampage when he gets bored. With that in mind, I kicked and squeezed and kicked some more. He did okay at the trot. At the canter, he wanted to bulge out of the circle and after a few times of hitting my outside leg, he dropped his shoulder and went spinning off towards his favorite spook corner. I took full advantage of the elevator bit and popped his head back up while giving him simultaneous smacks behind my leg and sent right back off on the circle. He was like, "WTF?!" and ended up so surprised that he didn't try it again.

At least until I made him trot some more afterwards and he pulled the same dirty move at the other side. He got the same tug, smack, kick treatment and finished on quite a polite note. I brought him back to the barn, hosed him off, and S showed up to do her lesson on him after looking like she wasn't going to come at all.

"that really wasn't that fun."

I decided to stay to watch and relayed to BO what I had done with him and what I thought his main issue was: lack of forward. I was really happy to see BO get after S (who's his regular rider) about kicking him on every. single. stride. S was not so happy. She's a beautiful, quiet rider, but she treats Spyder like a big dog. He's happy to jog around for her on a loopy rein at a snail's pace, and he's equally as happy to walk all over her on the ground. Obviously that's not training him to do anything more than being a big, rude pig.

having a cookie visit on tuesday.

I went back out today and rode my own naughty OTTB. I threw on his Micklem and we went up to the outdoor to play with Sarah and Memph. I let him go around on a loose rein at the w/t/c trying to encourage a stretch. He was feeling very full of himself now that he has working feet and is going off of so much time off. I let him work of some steam with some flying changes, and we popped over the coop once like a boss. I fooled around with some two point and no stirrup work, we played a fun game, and quit there.

BO said she wanted to see if Spyder would go in a pelham since he's theoretically supposed to be a hunter. Well, I could only find one pelham and it was too small for him, but I did dig up another bit to try (and while digging, oohed and ahhed over BO's tiny pony driving bits--too fucking cute). We had another discussion about personal space and standing still and set off.

Today, I put him on a circle at his trouble end and we never did more than one circle without doing a transition of some sort. He went amazingly in the new bit and was actually paying enough attention that he was really working off my seat. No spooks, no stupid ducking out, and a bit more responsiveness to my leg.

I'm still not sure how much of a hunter he'll make, but he's a nice horse when minding his manners. He just needs someone to show him every ride what the rules of the game are, no ifs ands or buts. He's way too big and naughty to be so spoiled.

In other news, I'm ninety percent sure Bobby and I will be doing a show on Tuesday. And it has nothing to do with eventing. And we will make giants fools of ourselves. And it will be awesome.


  1. It's difficult when riders have different expectations of their mounts. He's a handsome horse thou. Good luck with your upcoming show!

  2. Spyder and Magic (my grumpy lease) must have read the same playbook. I am always amazed at how good he is when I don't treat him like a ranch horse and make him pay attention to me not the squirrel/tractor/bag in the corner. Sounds like you are just what Spyder needs. You'll do awesome with your non-eventing show I'm sure ;)

  3. Good for you for making Spyder work! I am totally guilty of being complacent sometimes! Also can't wait to hear more about thos mysterious non-eventing show!!

  4. People who don't establish and reinforce ground manners drive me nuts. Horses are too big to be allowed to be sassy - its dangerous. What a mitzvah you are doing to help out with Mr. Spyder Sass-pants.

  5. Was it another Pelham you found or something else

  6. I can't imagine what Henry would be like if I wasn't boss with him!

    Cant' wait to hear about the show!! :)

  7. Way to be the boss woman with spyder - sounds like he needed it. Good luck at your super funtime awesome mystery show! Those are the best kind.

  8. You teach that sassmaster pony who is boss! He's a cutie, hopefully he can be a nice horse once he gets some manners!

  9. Just saw this product on a COTH thread and thought of Mr Bobby Magee (I rarely comment since I read through RSS), not sure how expensive or if they work:

    My OTTB has been barefoot for a couple of years now but before that we felt your pain, losing shoes on the regular.

    1. You know, I saw those advertised awhile ago, too. I'll ask my farrier next time he's out if he's heard of them. They definitely look cool.


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