- Aug 27, 2013View SourceWHEW!That's MY excitement for the night!MargoOn Mon, Aug 26, 2013 at 8:56 PM, Marv Walker <Marv@...> wrote:
We had a very busy day at Brave Meadows Saturday with therapy riders
and lesson riders galore. We started at 8am and finished by 2 in the
afternoon. Cathy "No Legal Relation" Walker and I were the last two
at the barn and we decided to spend some time with our horses. Cathy
and I kinda watch out for each other to make sure someone is around
if horses happen. Cathy and Dakota were in the round pen and I had
Faith in the 160x122 wooden 4 2X6" rail, 5 foot high fenced arena.
I had put the training surcingle on Faith and had gone to get some
stuff to hang off of it. As I walked by the round pen back to the
arena I told Cathy, "Today is do or die day." I was going to simply
overwhelm Faith with spookers until she settled eventually paid no
attention no matter how long it took.
I had a 16 foot rope with a clip on the end and I walked up to her
and very carefully clipped it to the surcingle. The last thing I
wanted was to be in the way if she took off. I uncoiled the rope as
I backed out of the way and she took off. Nothing spectacular unless
you count my exit out of the arena. She made a few passes and then
came to a stop eyeing the rope. She stood there unmoving for a while
then she carefully reached down to grab a mouthful of grass. I then
got the leadline and casually walked up to where she was standing
next to the fence. I climbed on the fence and reached clipped it to
the surcingle so that it dangled as well. She made a couple rounds
and stopped and stood unmoving almost as if she was catatonic.
After a few minutes I got the super spooker. The super spooker is an
empty plastic bottle water bottle tied to about three feet of binder
twine with a clip on the other end. I made my way to her side,
clipped it to the surcingle and backed away quartering to her
rear. I didn't know which direction she was going to head off in but
I knew she wouldn't back into it so that direction was my first
choice to keep from turning into hoof jam.
She took off, and I mean took off. She made 3 or 4 panicked laps
around the arena picking up speed with each lap as I watched waiting
for her to stop. I had a large green bucket full of feed to give her
something to focus on and distract her from the spookers a
little. I'm not real sure which lap was the bucket's downfall but it
exploded in a greenish brown mist with a loud crash.
Then she shot straight across the arena and hit the arena fence wide
open and blew through it like a sword through a stick of butter with
wood going everywhere. The arena and the round pen are in about a
three acre paddock with gates going into other pastures on two
sides. For a second I thought she was going to go through the wood
fence by the barn which was the only obstacle between barn yard and
the busy highway a couple hundred yards across wide open space. She
sailed wide open around the round pen, raced around the three acres
once then headed for the back pasture and blew through that fence
just at the edge of gate into a herd of a dozen or so horses and then
they all ran laps like crazy around that pasture which was about 20 acres.
I went in the barn and grabbed a leadline and started back after her
hoping she didn't run through another fence and get out to who knows
where she might have ended up.
Cathy said, "Well, you said it was a do or die day. Want me to come with you?"
Figuring someone able to call 911 if needed would come in handy since
I was about to hopefully come in contact with an out of it and highly
agitated spooked horse, I nodded.
From where she blew the arena fence to where we got close to her in
a tangle of brush and fallen trees was over a 1/4 mile. She was
erratically circling a hundred foot thorn patch because she was
turned facing the direction all the spookers were hanging off of. I
made sure I was between her and the thorn patch each time she came
around because I needed to be on the same side the spookers were on
because if she moved away from the spookers I didn't want her running
over me. Each time she came around and I noticed she wasn't going
to stop I moved into the thorns. Even at that she almost ran me over
once as she came around at a slow gallop. Each time she came around
the thorn patch I had to choose between getting stuck or run over by
a fast moving horse. I chose stuck.
She came around slower and as she got by me I sternly said "Whoa!"
and she stopped long enough for me to grab her halter and clip the
lead line on it. All I could think of was, "If I can't hold her I
now have yet another line dangling off her to spook her even more."
She was drenched in sweat and puffing like a steam engine, snorting
and jitter dancing as I chanted, "Easy! Easy! Easy! Easy! Easy!"
while carefully removing all the spookers. I finally got all the
stuff off her and asked Cathy if she would bring it back to the barn
as I led Faith back.
As I went by Cathy I said, "I didn't appreciate you throwing my 'do
or die day' remark back at me."
She laughed. "At least she didn't break a leg."
"I'm not sure that would've have been a bad thing," I replied. "That
way I coulda buried her right there."
This evening I got a call from Shannon who has another horse at the
farm owned by someone else to be bred. I think Shannon said it is
related to Faith. Last night she blew through the same kind of fence
Faith went through and was the reason for a long chase down the busy
highway without getting hit, through someone's wood lot and several
other people's property before finally being found and caught.
I have never had a more perplexing horse than Faith. So aloof one
moment and so blindly focused on something the next.
Usually I can have a pretty rotten horse well under way in about 10
days of steady work. I have a lot of hours in Faith and haven't even
gotten the "Focus On Me" down properly. She has made some headway,
she focuses on me when all else fails and then tries to occupy the
same spot of ground. I want her to focus on me before anything fails.
Marv "Falling flat on my Faith," Walker
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--Margo NielsenView Margo's Architectural work at: www.nielsenhausdesigns.com