Tuesday, July 5, 2011

wet saddle blankets....

a tired horse is a good horse
wet saddle blankets make a good horse

Hear this, Nina?  Life is about to change.

Nina has been getting better and better under saddle and worse and worse on the ground.  Yesterday just tore it for me.  I was carefully putting her bridle on over her head bump and she jerked back and took off.  She was in the round pen so there was no place to go, but she was dragging my bridle under her feet.  She got it tangled around a foot and stopped before she stepped on it and tore it to shreds.
That was the final and last straw for me with this horse.  She winds herself up and acts like an idiot on the ground and all of the correcting or training has no effect.

What this horse needs is to get TIRED.  I don't think she has ever been tired.  When she was hundreds of pounds underweight she had no energy, but she still didn't really get tired.
All of her riding and most of the lunging has been for exercise and training.  Quit when she is good and all that stuff.  I think that was necessary, she had deep issues of distrust and was more than willing to defend herself.  But that is gone.  She still can be a bit of a shit when ridden, but no more than any other horse having an issue with something. 

I think I am falling into another version of the reason she has been handed around.  For her previous owners she was unrideable.  She reared or bolted or whatever and got put away.
So now she doesn't rear or bolt, but she comes out and acts like a goof, she gets ridden for a fairly short time and she gets put away.  It is all fun and games with energy to burn - prancing all the way back to her pen.

There is no way I can ride her long enough to get her tired, she ran at a dead run for about 15 minutes today (without me on her) and had broken a light sweat.  It was 99 degrees with blazing sun.
So I have a game plan - make the TB tired EVERY day.
It will involve a lot more lunging than I want but at this point my attitude is a little on the -so what? - side.  There is a turnout that she can run in if it is empty, that will be better than a round pen.
We started today, my plan formed as I watched my bridle flying around between her steel shod hooves waiting for her to step on it and tear it to shreds.   My anger peaked and then mellowed.  How to make the HORSE tired without killing myself.

So after I retrieved my miraculously undamaged bridle I put the dirt caked thing on her, tied up the reins and NOW it was time to run.  She actually asked to stop a few times.
Then I got on and we worked until I was about to pass out - I forgot to go get my water bottle, I was distracted by the bridle.
AND THEN, for the coup de grace - she got lunged again after I got off.   NOW she is starting to get sweaty but she is hours away from a lather.

I hosed her off until her body temperature came down, walked her around for a while and put her away.  When I took her beet pulp to her she put one tired foot in front of another and chowed down.

Tomorrow we are going to do the same and everyday after that until I don't have to deal with her trying to bolt off for a fun jaunt while I am trying to tack her up.   And after than too.

The worst off track horse I ever had was my first, he was a bolter.  We went many hours and many miles along the ditch roads in Albuquerque while he learned that when he bolted he was covering ground going away from home and every inch of that had to be ridden - at a trot or a canter - in order to get home.  It took a while but he became a very dependable horse and learned to save his energy for when I asked for it.  I think Nina has never learned this lesson.  It's past time.


  1. My training philosophies in a nutshell.

  2. I'm frequently quoted to say, "Make the wrong answer or action very, very difficult and unappealing, and then make the right answer easy and fun!" Looks like exactly what you're about to do. (: I think she'll come right around!

  3. Sounds like you may have gotten all her boundless energy figured out--LOL! I'll be curious to see how this all works out. Maybe Nina won't be so restless and bored and testing all the time--hehe! :)

  4. Oh Nina, sounds like you're in for some fun! Gotta love that endless TB second wind :P

  5. My horse has had an eous blanket for a few months and she's been totally different ever since. I can't figure out what it is, but her last one must have really bothered her. She's not once disobeyed an order since the switch. Weirdest thing.


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