Sunday, September 14, 2008

My New Peg Position

Some may have noticed I have been pretty quiet in the blog world lately. This absence has been a time of reflection for me. You see, on Tuesday I loaded up Yellow and we drove about an hour to see The Cowboy. I had arranged to get a lesson from him because, while Yellow has been doing pretty well, I felt like his hip was locked up a little and wanted to get some help.

We pulled in at 10:00 a.m., right on time. The Cowboy gets VERY irritated when I'm late. He unloaded Yellow and tied him up at a hitching post. He ran over him with a curry comb quickly and commented on how Yellow has put on a good amount of weight and looks real good. I actually think Yellow is a TAD heavy right now...he blew through a 1,000 lb bale in a little over 2 weeks, and has a small pot-belly. I think it's sympathy weight.

I thought he was going to groundwork Yellow and would see the work I'd put into keeping him alert and focused while "sending" him. No groundwork. The Cowboy just mounted right up and went to work. First he disengaged Yellow's hind end, which he said worked fine. Then he went to move the shoulder and something got jammed up. Yellow would rather sit on his butt and jump around on his haunches than step through his turn. The Cowboy was not impressed. He went to work fixing this problem, which required a few "motivators" to get him moving forward instead of stepping back. This irritated Yellow, who would then put his head down and jump around and get pretty light on his front end and do just about everything he could to get out of having to USE his front end.

While this is occurring, the Cowboy is cursing at the horse for trying to fight with him, and yelling at me that I've spoiled him and have him all jammed up for a number of reasons. I don't have him in the poll, and without that I can't do anything. Then I've been backing him into turns and he bangs into himself and that makes him not want to turn. After the first mini-rodeo, the Cowboy tried out Yellow's lateral flexion, something that I work on EVERY time I get on. I know he's soft. Well, the Cowboy told me Yellow isn't soft because I've been letting him twist his head and just bring his nose around instead of keeping his face vertical and making him give at the poll and the neck. So Yellow put up another big fight...backing into the fence, jumping around, and pretty much doing everything he could think of, besides buck and rear. I think even Yellow knew either of those actions was going to result in something really, really bad for him.

The Cowboy is not one to back down from a fight. When Yellow gets defiant, he would get a quick over-under and a spur. The Cowboy has a good seat and wasn't going anywhere. I could see Yellow's eyes rolling back in his head, his mouth gaping, and a total expression that said, "Listen lady...I don't know what you were thinking bringing me here, but was I really so out-of-line that I deserved THIS?!?"

Once the fighting was over and Yellow went through his paces with ease, the Cowboy dismounted. I asked if I could ride a bit to get a feel for what I needed to be doing instead of what I was doing. He said sure, but that I needed to walk him around a bit to make sure his new mindset was gonna stick.

So at this point, I've seen my horse be re-programmed, and kind of fight his way through it. And through out the whole process, I've been told what I've done to cause all this. Now, it's my turn to get re-programmed. But do you think the Cowboy is going to lecture Yellow on how he's trained me to let him get away with stuff? Hell no.

My hand position wasn't right, I wasn't pulling back in the correct position, I wasn't releasing fast enough, and at one point, the Cowboy told me I wasn't listening. Well, I was listening, but my mind doesn't translate to my body that quickly!

After about 15 minutes, the Cowboy thought I had it down okay. He told me I need to get the baby business done and then bring Yellow back for a month, and I need to come twice and week and ride. At the end of 30 days, I'll have a finished horse and I won't have to worry about messing any of his basic cues up. I think the Cowboy likes my horse (actually, I know he does) and wants to ride him for a month.

Everything ended on a good note. Yellow sometimes has issues getting in the trailer...not that day! I've never seen that horse more willing to jump into the safety of his horse trailer! On the way home I called one of my favorite cousins and attempted to find humor in the situation. I've had Yellow for almost a year now, and I suppose I could have ruined a lot more than just his front end!

The next day the Cowboy called me to see when we purchased our Oklahoma horse from him, and I told him February, and then he launched into an apology for being a little hard on me the day before, and said he just really wanted to get his point across. I think maybe his girlfriend, who was there the whole time, layed into him that night. I told my mom that had any of our horsey cousins been in my shoes, they probably would have cried. Or been pissed. But I know he's right. Everything that came out of his mouth made perfect sense, so I couldn't really get too upset. But sometimes, delivery is everything!

I told the Cowboy I knew he was right, and that I'm just a little sensitive with all the hormones. He really felt bad when I said that because he knows I can't ride as much as I'd like to, and that my poor pregnant mind can be a little unfocused.

But let me tell you, there is nothing like a day like that to knock your confidence and peg and make you think twice about jumping on your horse and doing whatever you feel like! I haven't had time to ride since we got back, but hopefully my horse will still be talking to me the next time I jump on his back. After all, if he won't, I can just threaten to take him back to the Cowboy.


Pony Girl said...

Wish we could have seen some video of the yellow horse rodeo!

I just couldn't ride with anyone that couldn't communicate to me how to best ride my horse, without making me cry. That relationship is as important as the one you have with your horse! I know my mom has had good luck with her new instructor, her personality and way of jokingly "getting after" my mom works well with her sensitive nature.

My Boy would laugh me off his back for making him do half of that technical stuff. As a pleasure/trail rider, I'm glad I don't have to worry about shoulder positions. Being a long-distance horse owner, I just don't have the time. Maybe someday, when Gracie is in school, you can give My Boy and I some lessons! By then, the Cowboy should have you an expert! ;)

Palomino Girl said...

I was thinking of your mom a lot when I was talking to Jamie on the way home. She probably would have gotten choked up just watching me and my horse in our lesson! :) But mostly because she loves me so much.

One thing I have over the Cowboy is that I can communicate things a little more clearly, but I have nowhere near his skill or knowledge. Oh well, I don't plan on being a professional horse trainer, either!

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

OMG-There are a lot of people who would freak to hear your description of Mr Cowboy's training techniques. I could totally see myself having the same discussion with a horse who wanted to be a bit sticky. I'm a "yeller" too. I try to explain things to people, but when they don't seem to be getting it, I have a tendency to yell at them. Not like louder makes it more understandable, but it is sorta like unsticking Yellow. You start out asking softly, but when push comes to shove, you have to get your point across.

Now you know why I don't give lessons-LOL.

Psst-Don't be too hard on yourself. You do have to think about the fact that you are pregnant and things are just a bit different-been there, done that-LOL. It is temporary though and Yellow is young, you have plenty of time to finish him out.

Train Wreck said...

My Cowboy trains the same way! I like to watch but it is hard sometimes. I revert to "dog training" Where you wanna pat them and tell them what a good job they did. It is for the best though. Sounds like you have a great trainer! It is hard when you are pregnant! Doing all the things you think you need to do.BEC is right there is plenty of time for all that!

Carolynn said...

Wow, the Cowboy sounds tough! As long as he was gentle while being firm with my horse, I suppose I wouldn't mind. I can take constructive criticism. I would love to have been a fly on the wall when his girlfriend cut into him later. That whole paragraph about your hormones and everything cracked me up. I could just see him cringing on the other end of the phone.

DayPhoto said...

I just wanted to let you know that I love your photo of you giving your horse a face love.

Linda Gay

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I'm just wondering how much you paid to receive all that verbal and emotional abuse? hahahaha!
I think I'd love to have a job where I could just haul out and let people have it, whenever I got frustrated. haha

At least he apologized to you afterwards.
Sometimes some firmness and toughness is a good reality check...but probably not so much when you've got hormones raging from growing a baby. Sheesh.

You are one tough cookie :)


Trailboss said...

Sounds like Yellow is where he needs to be. He is a beautiful horse.

Train Wreck said...

hmmm just checking on you! Did you load Yellow up and take him back to the trainers?

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Palomino Girl...come back, we miss you!!
Hope everything is okay.

Trailboss said...

Where are you? Did you fall off of your horse?