No Real Progress

All the time I feel like we are making great progress. He saddles, bridles, lifts his feet, gives to pressure, rein and hand, doesn’t spook much. As we drive past in the feed truck, payloader and four wheelers he hangs his head over the fence to watch. Cows are interesting now instead of terrifying. He’s doing great and has come a little ways, he’s the kind that came broke.

Then the horses run past or chase him a little and my broke, well behaved horse disappears and he runs right over me. No matter how much time I spend working on manners and think that it’s sinking in, as soon as he’s stressed a little it all goes out the window.

We were shipping calves and I walked through their pen to shut the gate, locking them in and allowing us to run calves past. They all came over to say hi and get a scratch.  I turned to walk away, with my hoodie up a big no no on my behalf, apparently Rusty was following with his otherwise best buddy Princess Onna following him. Onna bit him on the behind and, with the whole wide open pen around us, he crashed into me and thundered past while she stood back looking all innocent. I yelled a little wishing there was some way to train at that moment but I couldn’t think of any so I walked on happy to find myself lightly bruised but not hurt.

He is coming along so nicely but for that lack of spatial respect that I have not yet been able to teach him. Will it come? I believe so, but I always believe I can will what I desire into being. I think it is a necessary belief when training horses. The surety that we can convince a thousand pound animal to do as we ask. So we will keep trying.

4 thoughts on “No Real Progress

  1. Tammie

    I have been thinking of this off and on as I drive around today. Was thinking that when Coyote was young, Skip chased him through, or over a fence and we had to bring him home from a neighboring house. Chased him into a big wooden post holding up a gate (you would have thought he would just go through the open gate) causing stitches to shoulder and hip and requiring daily shots given by your brother, if I remember right, twice a day. This was one of those times when I wondered if the horse would make it. Can you imagine Coyote running away like that now? Onna ran over me once, and my friend Cinde once, when chased by the big scary Banner who defiantly had it out for her. Really couldn\’t say if she would do that now. We sent Kalija off to a real trainer cause he would come at me and not back down when being lunged, and, I had to get really serious with my lounge whip to keep from being squashed by a baby Smoke. In later years he and Skip were spooked by something in the orchard while I was in between them, leading them to the barn. They took off at a gallop, brushing me but not pushing me down. When they hit the end of their lead ropes, to my amazement, they gave their heads and skidded to a stop! Maybe it is not as rare for a horse to act like that as we think. And based on this, I would say horses do change. Rusty is a baby so unless you believe he was trained and the trainer caused this, perhaps this is normal spoiled baby behavior. What do you think?

  2. Neversummer Post author

    And Nev ran completely over me when Daisy spooked him once. (Worse I\’ve ever been hurt by a horse on the ground, that was a nasty one) we know his whole life history and, if I do say so myself 😉 , he was handled properly from birth.
    Smoke was a hundred times worse and look what you\’ve done with him. Of course that was a long hard journey. Rusty is proving to be nowhere near as difficult to fix as Smoke.
    Maybe it is largely a baby thing combined with poor handling. He is definitely not bad in and of himself.

  3. Tammie

    Well if Smoke was a long hard journey, it was while you had him, cause we have not made any progress since! Maybe it is a baby thing, combined with too much familiarity. Maybe the whole \’not letting a horse be a horse\’ thing. I don\’t know, but the question should be, how does one keep from being injured before the horse grows up enough, or develops enough respect to not run over you? No matter how careful one is, things happen in a second.

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