“The world is best viewed through the ears of a horse.”
We spent a full day at the stable yesterday. Pickle was on edge in the morning (that’s my polite way of saying he scared the heck out of me when he yanked back on the lead rope while standing tied to the hitching post) and it took about two hours to get him groomed, saddled, and his feet picked and dressed (with Hooflex). Tim rode him English, and his form has improved to the point where I don’t need to yell things at him, like, “Elbows down!” The two of them looked great at the trot. They rode for nearly an hour.
Pickle got his bath before we saddled Lacey, and then, after we both rode her in the dressage arena for over an hour, she got a bath as well. Both of them were slipping on the cement pad in the wash rack. I don’t know if the cement is getting slipperier, or if it’s because they both need their feet trimmed. Time to call the farrier.
After spending the majority of our day with the “ridable” horses, as twilight fell I took Buster over to the small arena. He’s an intelligent horse, and I don’t like to leave him standing in his stall forever — he gets bored (i.e. destructive). Although the move to the new 24′ x 24′ has been good for him, I think. He has a tall chestnut paint on one side to play with, and Pacer, a tall bay on the other side to pick fights with.
We have a bareback pad that we got at PetSmart, when they had all the Stateline Tack stuff on clearance. It is too big on Pickle, and way too big on Lacey. So we put it on Buster, our “big horse”. Tim tightened it as far as it would go, and would you believe it is about an inch too big on Buster?! We’re going to have to cut the buckle off, trim a few inches off the strap, and re-rivet it.
When we put the bareback pad on Buster, he stood there very still. I wonder what going through his mind! This was the first time he’s had anything on his back since, what… April?
I remember watching Chris Cox do a demonstration at the Equine Affair last January; he took an “unstarted” colt and put a saddle blanket on him, then removed it. Put it on, took it off. The idea is to let the horse know that a saddle on his back is a temporary thing, and not something to be feared.
Of course, our Buster has been saddled plenty of times… though I don’t think a slip of a racing saddle weighs as much as a bareback pad, even!
Because of Buster’s reputation for dropping riders in the middle of the track, Tim wants to be very thorough with his training, starting with lots and lots of groundwork. I don’t disagree, but at the same time I don’t think Buster will be that much of a problem.
I believe his reputation is somewhat undeserved. Really, it’s the fault of the first guy who fell off his back! That was where Buster got the idea to make it happen on purpose.
I really love this story about Buster, how he was galloping along the racetrack, and then ducked his head and stopped short. The little man on his back went flying off, and Buster high-tailed it back to the barn! I can never stop laughing when I think of it. 😉
It will be a whole different situation when there’s a 50 pound western saddle on his back, with a saddle horn, and probably a second girth, and a tie-down to boot. Oh, and not to mention a full-size human.
Did I mention that Tim tried to jump up on Buster last night? He placed his hands on Buster’s back, and attempted to jump up and lean over his back, like he does with Lacey. Buster’s about three or four hands taller than Lacey — Tim couldn’t make it! So I told him to climb up on the rail, and I got Buster to stand next to him. We didn’t bother to put a halter on him, though, so when Tim swung a leg over, Buster walked away. The sun was going down, it was 6:00 pm, and we decided to try that stunt some other time. Maybe with the right equipment!