Tuesday, April 24, 2018

All by himself

Opie has been up to so much the past few days! I need to write recaps on how BM fixed his canter departs, his first 2'3" jump, and about how I would get on and have this dreaded feeling of, "This is the anxious, tense horse that's going to be at shows." and then he magically became #childgenius at the end of each ride.

Really, those are the recaps though.

  • I was in too foul of a mood to ride in my lesson Friday so I had BM get on. She had his canter departs transformed by the end and now he steps into them easy peasy. Whatever, Genie. That's why I pay you. 
  • BM had a 2'3 vertical set up on the rail that looked doable after Opie was being such a star cantering over a giant X so BM and K urged me to try it. Opie hesitated a stride out because #daunting, but I gave him a poke with my spurs and he launched right over it. He landed in a heap, but knows the game is to land and canter so he quickly picked up the canter all on his own even though he was a little wide-eyed. Good kid.
  • Sass monster to trained(ish) horse every ride, every time. That is all.
Now I just need to keep those wins in mind as I recount the frustration of Opie's first solo outing.

always interested when the trailer comes out.
all the better to plan nefarious things probably.

Winter disappeared for a hot minute this weekend continuing into Monday so I marked yesterday as a park trip. BM was too busy to join us, but that was fine. I actually wanted to get a solo trip in before show season starts up so that Opie could see we go places by ourselves and no one dies.

Right off the bat, it was kind of defeating. Opie wanted no part of self loading which means I had to walk him on to the trailer and then try to sneak down to latch the butt bar. This is actually how I loaded Bobby, minus the sneaking as Bobby had the most rock solid "Stand" known to man and would wait patiently while I went around and locked him in.

Opie doesn't do stand in any part of his life. BM was on hand to offer assistance if needed and pointed out that he just never stops moving. In his stall he's off from one station to the next--feed bucket, hay, mineral block, LikIt, scoping out the aisle, repeat ad nauseam. His little baby brain is constantly spinning.

After multiple rounds of me taking one step to the side and Opie reverting to flying backwards off the trailer, he finally just...gave up? I was able to get the butt bar up and latched then quickly got the ramp up and jetted out of there.

so sweaty

He weaved and screamed for the thirty minute trip over, but actually unloaded fairly sensibly. I hand walked him for a few minutes, and then tied him to the trailer for the first time without him doing anything more than wandering a bit. The trailer parked next to us had horses on it which I think calmed him down a little bit and he even ate a little bit of hay between staring at everything.

sneaking bites while i rolled wraps.

I got him saddled and was putting on my helmet when the horses next to us got unloaded. That set Opie off onto a scream fest right in my face which took all my meditation skills to ignore, but he let me bridle him and get on without trouble. I was pleasantly surprised that he marched right off past the two horses without a second thought. He needed a couple of reassurance nudges once they were out of sight, but soon settled right in.

We did a little bit of high-headed trotting before reaching his first brave horse test. The water crossing that we came to at the end last time and needed Momo to lead us into was about ten minutes into the ride this time with the route I took. There were a bunch of people in the parking lot that he screamed to once when he saw them, but he plowed right into the water with zero hesitation. There were two girls taking pictures with their phones so I asked them if they'd mind snapping one for me. Young girls with phones: they know the importance of #doitforthegram.

"maybe if i look hard enough i'll see other horses??"

Phone back, Opie strolled down the trail without further incident. Occasionally he'd spot a person ahead of us and would try to hustle to catch up with them. There's power in numbers I guess, even if you have to make do with humans instead of horses. We came out at another parking area where a big party was going on in one of the pavilions. He watched them closely, and as soon as we crossed the road and left them behind he let out another scream. Trying to rally them to him so he didn't have to continue in this desolate, horseless wasteland by himself? Who knows. Fortunately that was the last noise he made during the ride which was fantastic. I'd braced myself for a nonstop scream fest honestly.

future jumpies?

We had a little trot, then a little canter, then proceeded to engage the jigging button. WHOOPS. Especially when said jiggy button was occasionally, randomly paired with the violent head flinging button, often seen when one should be paying attention to one's feet when walking down an exceptionally steep hill. I trail ride with a floppy rein and floppy seat because trail riding is solely for the joy of riding for me. This has worked just fine up to this point, but Opie needed the security of a short rein to stop jigging. He never pulled, but the second I let the reins go slack off he went again.

Of course picking up the reins was double edged. He would stop jigging, but he started chewing on his tongue--a loud, annoying alternative that almost made me want to go back to the jig.

We finally reached the boat launch where I thought he might want to stop for a drink as he loves drinking from puddles on rides. He took one look at the pond spread out before him and trotted right in all by himself. I was like, "Aww, so cute!" except then he seemed to think he should just keep going. It might have been 70*, but it was not a day for swimming. I got him wrestled to a stop, grabbed my favorite between the ears picture, and carried on.

love this view

No further incident until we burst forth from the trail and saw the trailer parking across the field. Opie practically sat down then jumped forward before slamming on the brakes and then walking like nothing had happened all in the space of about two seconds. I almost somersaulted off the back of him it was such a bizarre move.

He managed to get back to the trailer flat footed on a long rein and was a gentleman while I took his bridle off and got him haltered. He accepted his candy, snatched a bite of hay, and the second I turned around to hang up his bridle his screamed and set back. Fortunately I was all of two steps away and managed to talk him off the ledge but the fucker still managed to break the cheek piece of his nice leather halter. I grabbed one of my many spares and strapped it over the broken halter before retying him.

what a beautiful show halter.
too bad it's number 564 that you've broken!!!!

Everything packed away, all that was left was getting the horse secured in the trailer. Cue twenty minutes of getting on, flying backwards, and leaping up as he went flying backwards as if he intentionally wanted to bash his brains out on the top of the trailer. He's too short and the trailer is too tall for him to hit it even with his head in the air, but thank god for putting the dunce cap on him anyway because he was literally jumping up as he went off like it was a goal to knock himself stupid.

And maybe that's exactly what happened because he then decided he wasn't even going to get on the trailer anymore.

I know twenty minutes is not a long time for some of you to spend with trailer shenanigans, but more than a minute is too long for me. Especially since we've been working on trailer manners constantly and he was doing amazing with everything.

Once again, he finally just seemed to give up. He walked on with me and let me hastily latch him in. I tried working on the backing off once we got back to the barn, but he'd reverted to completely fucking useless.

too a.d.d. to even focus on grazing this morning

So while the ride was better than I expected based solely on this amount of making noise he did (and he was very brave and didn't balk at a single thing the entire time), the trailering really upset me. I know mileage is going to be key, but mileage is also extra gas money and an extreme emotional toll on my fucking brain that deep down hates baby horse dramatics.

He got today off as planned. He felt pretty tight on the left side of his back, but no surprise there with the amount of tense jigging and tense everything for the second half of the ride. I rubbed some liniment in, gave him a gram of bute, and tried to let him have a long graze after scrubbing his tail and poop stains.

Hopefully he gives me a good, silent ride tomorrow. He's got some sucking up that needs to be done before he's back in my good graces.

31 comments:

  1. Ohhhh the baby horse rollercoaster. That between the ears water shot though 😍😍😍

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    1. Is it prettier because we weren't drowning tho? :P

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  2. I almost spit out a mouthful of coffee when I got to the pond part. God bless you Opie, please grovel to mom this week.

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    1. He was so upset with me that his swimmies plans were shut down.

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  3. I am so not looking forward to Cisco's first outings this summer.

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    1. Maybe it will go better than you think? I was DREADING listening to this creature scream the whole time but it ended up being a nonissue.

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  4. Ugh, why with the trailer shenanigans Opie?!
    But it does sound like the ride was mostly decent. And no water fears! Maybe he'll make an even horse yet! You know, if he can get on and off the trailer... I know you'll get him sorted out quickly. It's all new and exciting and OMG!

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    1. No eventing unless we move. I'm not giving anyone in this area my monies.

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  5. Uggg I feel your pain with my 5 year old at times. Hey, at least you DID it and you made it back in one piece? He will get there, but having the necessary patience definitely sucks.

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    1. Sometimes I really want to push him off on someone else and they can give him back when he's not a child.

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  6. Oh, Opie. I hear ya on the horsie ADD... Annie has it too.

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    1. ALL the moving, ALL the time!

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    2. How do you not strangle him when he does the shuffle shuffle STARE? It's Annie's favorite.

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    3. If he's being silent it's easy to ignore other things lol. NO MORE THOUGH, MOTHER FUCKER. His feet belong to me now. They do not move unless I give them permission to. Bitch Carly is about to get real.

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  7. Trailering woes suck. Gem, who was 15 at the time and had been extensively trailered and trail ridden by me for 4 years at that point, left me stranded at a trail head for 2 HOURS refusing to get in the damn thing. She was lucky I didn’t sell her then and there to whoever could load her and leave.

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    1. ...that threat sounds very familiar. #freehorse

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  8. Michael Phelps wanted to SWIM! Come on mom, you spoilsport.

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    1. Aaaand I think Opie just got a new nickname lol

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    2. First dress up day! Medals, a speedo, and swim cap!

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  9. Even with minor histrionics he sounds like a good egg!

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    1. When I'm not blinded by trailer frustration, he really is.

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  10. Ugh young horses! Not being good about the trailer sucks, but it sounds like you're putting in the time so fingers crossed that he gets better ASAP and you can have less stressful (but maybe still loud, mine still won't shut up at 7) adventures together.

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    1. I never thought I'd say this, but I think I'd take loud over NOT STAYING ON THE FUCKING TRAILER.

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  11. Oooh jigging and head flinging.... reminds me of a special little red mare I once knew...

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    1. Hopefully he steps up his dressage game to red-head level.

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  12. OMG Opie just stop it already! Congrats on your solo outing -- that's a really cool accomplishment! I do the Bobby method of trailer loading, Scout will stand quietly while I run behind to secure him. Thank god, because I do everything on my own these days! I hope he continues to improve over time. And dude... TWENTY MINUTES is a LONG time with horses.

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    1. It seriously felt like an eternity.

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  13. Niko and I are also working on taking sass monster to trained(ish) every ride... because apparently the indoor = sass. SO OVER INDOORS.

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    1. I cannot WAIT until the outdoor is usable again! Of course I probably won't be saying that once we get out there and there are whole new things to get distracted by.

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  14. Well, the ride part sounds fun. Trailering is such a b*tch. I hate dealing with it. In the beginning we had to have one person hold Levi on the trailer through the window while the other person frantically tried to shut the door fast enough. He got over it with time, but it was not a solo job for a while there. I hope Opie learns fast so you don't decide to just leave him in the parking lot one time.

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    1. Hmm, but maybe if I leave him behind one time in a horseless wasteland he'll realize that staying on the fucking trailer to go home to his friends is the better life choice?

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If you can't say anything nice, fuck off.