Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanks a Lot Buddy.

Those were the words that came out of my mouth as I watched my horse gallop and buck away from me and off into the distance as I stood dumbfounded in our outdoor arena.  The day after we are supposed to spend 24 hours being grateful for everything we have, I was reminded of what I am generally grateful I don't have.  And that's a large, brown, obnoxious and recalcitrant creature hell-bent on being a complete imbecile, endangering others, and risking his own life for absolutely no reason at all.  (Yes, I'm still mad at him.  Don't worry, it won't last.)

Let me paint the picture for you.  I have the day off from work.  It's gorgeous out.  Sunny, blue skies, no wind.  I have to pull off my long johns when I get to the barn.  It is unseasonably perfect weather.  Naturally,  I wanted to ride outside, and I figured that since I had ridden outside at my clinic last week it wouldn't be that big of a deal for that big brown moron monster horse I own.  I did put a slightly stronger bit in his mouth though, figuring I'd probably need it.  I'm not completely dumb.

So we get out to the arena and I set up a few small jumps, figuring we'd had two good flat work sessions this week and I'd practice what I learned at my clinic last weekend.  Tucker followed me around like a dog, as per usual, ears at half mast.  So I bring him back to the mounting block, tighten my girth, throw the reins over his head, pull my cooler halfway back, pull down one stirrup, and then pull down the other.

For reasons that no human will ever understand, the sound of the second stirrup hitting the end of the leather (a sound no horse has never heard before, obviously) signaled such severe and significant danger that Tucker leapt from a standstill to a gallop in a nanosecond.  In part of that nanosecond, I still had one finger on the reins and contemplated possibly hanging on to him.  And then he kicked out at me.  Yeah.  That's right.  Attack the mother.  Good idea.  Thanks a lot buddy.

As he galloped a circle around me, depositing his (newly laundered) cooler neatly in a mud puddle as he went, I thought I might be able to head him off at the in-gate and prevent a complete disaster.  I, of course, thought wrong, because a human trying not to run and frighten her horse is obviously much slower than a 17 hand warmblood barreling forward at Mach 10 on high alert.  And out the gate he went.

My first thought of course is on the riders in the indoor, who were probably not expecting a large brown idiot streak of horse-shaped fury to come charging past the open doors.  Not to worry, they were all smart enough to dismount as soon as they saw this nonsense potential disaster unfolding.

I head out after him, realizing as I go that my special needs special horse is now headed for the driveway, possibly the parking lot, possibly the road.  As my wheels start turning I go from a brisk walk, to a jog, to a sprint.  By the time I find him, I realize I am running faster than I thought possible, and may have stopped breathing a while back.  I stop, panting, on the other end of the farm, where I find him trotting up and down the fence lines between the turnout fields, successfully agitating nearly every horse on the property in the process.  Luckily, he's in an alley way with a gate on both ends.  I shut the gate behind me, a smart move that experience has taught me.  Tucker does not do well when he gets loose.  He tends to panic, assume he is in trouble (I wonder why one would feel guilty after running away from and kicking out at one's human?), and will run blindly away from any and all two legged creatures, oblivious to all other potential danger.

So after an exasperating few minutes worthy of a three stooges skit, chasing my evil stupid ridiculous free to a good home panicked horse back and forth and up and down this alley, mud splattering everywhere, expletives flying, all much to the amusement of my four legged onlookers, I finally reach out and grab the reins (which, by some miracle, have stayed over his head) as he gallops past, and he spins in a circle around me, nearly dislocating my shoulder in the process.  Did you all read about when Fen got loose, and how he came straight to FarmWife when she appeared?  This was not exactly like that.  One would hope with ears as big as my horse has, that he might have some mulish qualities.  Apparently not on this particular day.

After making sure that the poor frightened mare turned out in the round pen had been caught, and seeing that the horses in turnout were quieting down, I march him back across the property to the outdoor ring.  He is still snorting and prancing and generally carrying on like he's just been extremely brave in the face of certain death.  I grab my lunge line out of my trailer as we walk past.  He begins to humble at the mere sight of it.  He knows what's coming.  After a quick discussion about how we do not LEAP or STRIKE as we walk away from our mother on the lunge line, but rather we walk calmly in a circle until we are asked to TROT, and not GALLOP, Tucker finally begins to re-inhabit his own body.  As I watch him trot around and around, I can see the old familiar "but I HATE the circle game... this is soooooo stoooooooopid.... whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy...." expression on his face.  After a few more minutes of this torture, mostly for my own edification, I let him walk for a bit and then climb aboard.

The ride was great.  He was actually very well behaved.  And I made him work his little tail off.  We did not, however, get to any of the little jumps I had set up, nor did I work on too many of the things I learned in my clinic, other than practicing not slouching.  I did, however, get a good reminder that we should always ride the horse we have today, and sometimes that means scrapping our plans.  (There's a life lesson in there somewhere too.)

I'd ask if anyone wants a nice big brown horse, free to a good home, but I know there'd actually be takers... and I know I won't stay mad at him much longer.  I did just buy a bag of carrots, and they're going to go bad if I don't feed them to him.....

10 comments:

  1. There would definitely be takers for Tucker. :) I'm glad neither of you were hurt.

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  2. What a jerk!!! I mean... handsome horse.

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  3. Naughty Tucker!! Actually I can remember my horse doing that to me on several occasions before.

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  4. Oh my, mine bucked today at the canter. This from the horse that can barely trot once around the arena without pleading for a break. Poor abused animals that we have.

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  5. HEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHE!!!!!! Tucker was just making sure that you knew how fast he could gallop out of there if danger was around! You have to love 'em and laugh or we would cry!

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  6. My dear gelding got loose this summer from his pasture... I imagine it has something to do with the lovely human that cares for him but regardless I tried to get him for what seemed like forever and finally just sat down and started crying... and what do you know- the big doofus walked up to me, put his head in my lap, and sighed... as if to say "hey mom... whatcha doin down there?"

    Glad neither of you were hurt!

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  7. I hate when they pull stupid stuff like that. I'm glad neither of you were hurt and you had a good ride in the end. I'm sure he'll enjoy the carrots when he finally gets them.

    We had a horse once who was a master of the spook and run, he could also escape any paddock. Once he took off in a snowstorm after kicking my daughter in the knee on the way out the gate and proceeded galloping down the road. It always makes me wonder where they think they're escaping to once they get loose. I know they're scared but if I was that scared I'd go back to the barn where it's safe.

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  8. Darn, I was going to take him off your hands ;)
    That is funny how a sound or action that has been done a MILLION times will set them off so randomly!! THE one time (3 yrs ago) that set Laz off in a TIZZY spook was exactly that, yanking down my iron on the leather and hearing a snap...it was as if I blew a firecracker underneath him. Glad no one was hurt during the "RUN FOR YOUR LIVES" message that Tucker was spreading around War Horse style! ;)

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  9. Nice, Izzy dumped me over a bunny rabbit that she's seen roughly 100,000 times on Saturday. Maybe they're allergic to the Christmas spirit?

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  10. It has to be the cold weather? Nearly every horse I know has had some sort of gleeful episode. So happy you weren't hurt, and the other riders knew to dismount. Tucker Tucker Tucker. What are we going to do with you? (You did good riding the horse you had!)

    Our barn is set kind of in a bunch of low, close hills. The house next door has a lot of property, a herd of goats, a llama and a kazillion kids with a giant trampoline. Throw in a leaf blower and we have, uh, 'perfect opportunities to sack out'. Hudson has seen them all going at once. For YEARS. Warming up on the access road, he suddenly gets HUGE. Monsters in the bushes!! That would be the goats. The ones he sees in the bushes every day. Luckily we were ponying Dinero, who transmitted this message "Duuuude. Goats. Relax. Enjoy not working for a sec, K? I'm liking the sunshine." 6 loops later, H is still becoming Giant Horse when he sees goats. Again.

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