'Cool Running Creek'

'Cool Running Creek'

Friday, August 1, 2008

Whewww, A saddle and rider, Finally

I know, I know, no word from the Bar T in over 20 days. Well, I must admit I didn't have much positive to write about. 10 days ago I saddled Pardon for the 3rd or 4th time with little problem. Each time saddled though I would get on and off both sides and he would stand for all this activity and then suddenly burst with fear as if he'd just awoken from a nap sending his rider reaching for the ejector switch. This happened several times with myself and nephew Daniel finding ourselves on the ground in odd shapes. The last ride left Pardon with a saddle totally upside down and slid back! Well let me give you a story to tell; as Pardon rounded the pen in total dis-array Daniel began to slide towards the outside with saddle. His grip on the night-latch was relentless and never gave up 'til he was completely left sided of Pardon. Off he comes and the saddle slips under creating a fright for the young horse. Round and round he went really recking havoc on the round pen. Now, this round pen is 6+ feet tall, 2x8 White Oak boards nailed with 20 penny barn nails. Well, in a matter of 1-2 mins he had brought down 5 boards and didn't seem as if he was giving up. I'd try to step in front of him several times to bring him back to this earth but Pardon was having no part of it. Next thought was open the gate in front of him as he comes around, ok, it worked. He slams on the breaks, hard right, around the gate and out into the pasture before I could cut him off. Now what have I done?....Round the pasture he goes with this nasty saddle moving farther back each time he bucks. Well, he's not having any of that so right thru a 4 wire high tensile fence to the back pasture. This one is much bigger so he has about 4 acres to outrun this saddle. After over 10 min's of this malay he finally stops at the far back corner. I'm finally able to walk up to this poor fellow and give him some relief. Well, as soon as I touched that cinch to loosen it off he goes again. The monster is back! 3-4 more min's, thru 1 more fence and he's in a paddock attached to the round pen with 2 more mustangs. Whew, friends to comfort him but nope, this just scared them all so we're back now in the round pen running, now 3 horses. After a couple of min's we cut the other horses away from Pardon and now he's back where it began. Exhausted from this ordeal Pardon stops and gives me the opportunity to use a razor and cut the cinch strap dropping the saddle under him. Folks, I think this is the ultimate de-sensitivity tool ever. Though, he totally destroyed my best and oldest ranch saddle, a Hermon Hiezer made in Denver, Co around 1900 it did serve its purpose. Inspection showes no cuts, a few abrasions and a totally exhausted horse. Pardon was back to himself later that evening so I wanted to take advantage of this exhausted state for some more exposure. Well, it worked. His first jumps accross logs on the lunge line, sending exercises, cross the bridge, and loading in the trailer. Though we didn't get very far under saddle today we made tremendous advancements in these other tasks. Final analyst. Much more ground work to soften the nerves of this nice horse.

So, for the next 15 days we ground drove, lunged, sent, worked feet, introduced to a bridle, lots of saddling, baths, trimmed feet again, exposed to the outside world beyond the roundpen and pasture. With lots of on and off without saddle and I just could not get him to remove that guard and fear of someone on his back moving around. OK, I'm at a point of giving up or moving to the last ditch effort of causing him to submit himself to the human. I've only had to lay down one other horse in my training career and really didn't want to so I consulted with a super friend of mine, another trainer and excellent finisher on cow horses. Suggestion from Reggie was lets pony Pardon with a rider using his big head horse, Goose. OK, let's give it a try. So we set the date and made it happen. Results, not-to-good! Pardon just could not get the concept of leading along close enough to Goose without a rider for a rider to sit him without being in jeopardy. Several times Pardon who is 14 hands would rear up over Goose, 16.2 hands refusing the pull. Pardon leads super so this was a big fear thing that Reggie working over 2 hrs with Goose and Pardon could not overcome. Our last recourse was to lay him down. Trying to be as calm as possible, with the least amount of stress it took over one hour to finally put Pardon on the ground. If there is another horse in this world with a stronger will I, nor Reggie have yet to meet him. With little force, lots of patience, and a exhausted horse he finally relents and lays down. I began first by putting a blanket over his eyes and completely worked over his entire body with my hands. Removed the blanket and repeated the process. Folks, this was one tired horse and we were concerned if he could get back up on his own. I must say you could watch the fear leave his body as this process continued. After maybe 10-15 min's Reggie and I helped him back up and gave him a short rest and water. So, now lets see how this may have helped. Saddled and with a long lead Daniel mounts Pardon with no issues. We lead him off, left and right, forward and backwards, lunge in a small circle, direction changes, walk and trot and no issues. OK, is this because he's totally exhausted, calmed from laying him down, or did we find his easy button? I can't answer. I'll wait until the next day and see. So, a bath and a lot of just walking around the pasture so Pardon can destress and work out those (I'm sure) tired muscles before supper.

Next morning Pardon did show a more relaxed sense when I entered the stall to get him. His normal snorts and nervous actions were barely noticeable.I saddled Pardon up, a little lunge work, flexing and finally Daniel again mounts up. Pardon showed little concern with this so we move off, first leading, next sending left and right with Daniel giving cues from the saddle and me following up from the ground. As things progressed I was able to remove the lunge line and drive Pardon around the roundpen with left and right turns, stops, starts, walk, trot and lopes. By sessions end Pardon is moving at the request of Daniel as he is beginning to understanding the cues being given without my encouragement. I think we have crossed over and should have plenty of time to make him a competitive prospect for the competition. Pictures will be posted this weekend.

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