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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

January 29, 2011

Training Opportunity

After a 90 day lay-off today was Phebes lucky day!  She actually instigated this by special invitation out in the snow, and the mud, and the blood and the beer (oh wait!  that last part relates to an old Johnny Cash song).    The day started with me forking horsey turds from the stalls to add to poop mountain behind the barn.  I'm all about horse cookies, and Phebes had her little face stuck over the fence looking at me so I thought I'd go out into the front lot, call her up and practice a sweet little game of come to me, and give her a piece of cookie each time she did.  So I extended my arm, curl my fingers in a "come hither" manner, and good girl!  She came trotting right up, and I rubbed her, scratched her itchy spots and gave her half a cookie.  So that went pretty well...I walk off and try it again, same result.  I'm feeling pretty warm and fuzzy about then, and think, let's go for three.  Just let me say here, NEVER GO FOR THREE.  Not with my mare.  Rather than the third being the charm, my little horse of lovliness turned into the horsinator, crowded up beside me and I raised my palm to ward her off which usually results in her moving away from the visual pressure.  Instead she cow-kicked me which caught me in the calf of my right leg.  Granted it was an "in your face horse-a-tude kick, and could have much more serious.  So I'm grateful for that.  Then she spun off, ran to the other lot, and stood behind "Big Cree."  All she needed to do was stick her hooves in her ears, stick out her tongue, and go NA na na na NA na.  I will keep it family oriented and not repeat what came out of my mouth in this process.  So of course I'm instantly ticked off (I know!), and I tell myself, do we handle this *ahem* training opportunity.  I grab a rope halter and my long line and gimp my sorry tail out there to get her.  We will begin pre-training and getting ready for our clinic starting TODAY.   My round pen is actually a fairly decent sized oval maybe a hundred feet long and thirty something wide.  She really doesn't like to side pass around the perimeter of it but I figured we'd do that until kicking out at the training stick was not fun anymore.  Anytime her butt wanted to head my direction she got a tap on the hip to send her butt away.  We probably made a dozen laps in various directions before she quit snorting and slinging her head and stamping her hind leg.  I didn't count, be we made enough laps that I was winded.  Then we did slow longing, and reverses, and then she had to walk with me and stop when I stopped, and back up when I back up, and I wanted to see her head lower and some licking and chewing going on before we stopped.  I took a break and went in the house.  It was cold, muddy, no blood, no beer.  Fat lady needed a break.  A few hours later I went back out and put her rope halter and lead line on and I took her for a quarter mile walk down our paved road.  We no sooner got off our property but a truck and noisy flat bed trailer came up behind us.  I'm thinking....this is gonna suck *ahem* here we go! Another training opportunity! It was, indeed it was!!!  I get to the end of the road where it intersects with another blacktop road.  Another car comes whizzing by another training opportunity!  We head back towards home and of course she wanted to push ahead of my shoulder, so everytime  her shoulder got even with mine I put the brakes on the rope halter and made her step back three steps.  It took quite awhile to get home doing this, but it will be a regular part of our training from this point forward as long as there is no ice on the road.  I go inside and take another break for a few hours.  Later I catch the little turd for the third time today. 

She looks at me in bewilderment.... Back out to the round pen for side-passing on the long line again, and longing both directions.  No kicking! Woo hoo!!!  The winter has worn long on me, and the sun was shining so  I decided to saddle up for the first time in a few months.  Thoughts are ticking around in my head as to what she will do, and will a new training opportunity present itself again today.  Tacking up brought out the usual mare ears, pinched in nose, and snabbiness.  Since she was only biting the crap out of her lead rope and not me I let that training opportunity alone.  Back out to the oval pen we go.  I recheck my saddle and mount up.  Her ears perk forward, we walk, we trot, we do pretty back ups, we work on "icky" side-passing, and the stress of the past 60 days dissolves into nothingness.  She is responsive, attentive, and tries very hard to give what I ask of her.  What could have been a  crappy horse day evolved into a truly great training opportunity.  We finished up and she had a soft eye.  I scratched her itchy spots and took her to her stall for a wet mash.  We move forward from here to just get her fit again.  I expect six weeks from now we should be going pretty good if the weather will please cooperate.

Disclaimer: No horses were injured in the making of this training opportunity.☺


  1. I laughed at your disclaimer at the bottom. Beyond that, it sounds like you had a very productive day. I hope mine will be as productive once Rose comes off maternity leave next week.

  2. Good luck with Rose! I wonder sometimes if a foal would "mellow" out my mare but I'd be so worried she'd got the other way....NO WAY.