Monday, February 11, 2008

Hank, and the History of Horses, Part 9

I guess the term green broke is subjective.

He led, he stood tied, he saddled, but he didn't like any of it. You could get on him, but asking him to move off wasn't always in his game plan. He was really green. I called that lime green, because he sure was a sour puss.

Could I have paid to have him trained? Sure. Would it have been better for us? Maybe. Would we have been better for it? Nope.

In hindsight, I don't regret anything we did with his training. It was good for me to be involved in the process, and I don't think I would have been satisfied with the results of a "trainer". In a crazy way, all of his devilishness brought us together, and I truly know him better than anyone could. So for the remainder of the summer we worked on the little things. I read tons of stuff from Lyons, Parelli, Anderson and applied their techniques to the best of my abilities. We went to clinics and learned lots. And we kept at it. There were times when I would have gladly have sold him for glue. Many times, actually. But I didn't. I was just as stubborn as he was, and I didn't want to quit.

I read a Lyons article about how to get your horse to walk off when he refused. The article described how you have to bump bump bump bump bump until the horse takes a step, then immediately stop bumping. The usual pressure/release tactic that all of the natural horsemen preach. I worked on this for some time, always getting a little more success, always quitting on a positive note. Then there was that one time that he just would not walk off. Bump bump bump, thump thump thump. Boy, my legs were getting tired, but he was having none of it. More bumping. More thumping. What happened next can only be assumed. There were no witnesses, and I'm still having a hard time understanding it. One second I'm bumping away, then the next I'm sitting on his neck. His ears were right in front of me, the saddle and it's horn were now behind me. My feet dangled freely, but the reins were still in my hands.

And he just stood there.

Sara was brushing Charlie at the other end of the arena, so I called her name. I'm sure she had to look more than once to assess the situation, but it wasn't long before she was laughing hysterically. I was feeling awfully helpless in my precarious position and didn't appreciate the laughter. I just wanted down, but having never dismounted from a horse's neck before caused me some angst. As Sara tried her best to help me thru her muffled guffaws, I attempted to dismount the usual way. My right thigh caught on the saddle horn as I swung it back. I slipped to the side and Sara tried to catch my fall. Silly Sara. We both toppled to the ground in a heap directly underneath that big stubborn horse who refused to move.

He looked down at us with an expression that could only be described as annoyed tolerance.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Sure would be fun to be able to read their minds sometimes! Like right at that very moment when the two of you are on the ground under him. Of course I am sure Hank is always thinking pleasant thoughts...