Her Shining Spark blood can't save her.
I just found out that this mare had been on Regumate since she was two. When she got tossed out of the program the owners took her home and bred her.(Of course) To a pleasure horse. Someone please explain that to me.....They brought her to me after they weaned.
I do not have her on Regumate. She is a blazing freak when she's cycling.
My question is this, did the steady diet Regumate screw up her hormones?
Or is it possible that since she has always been on it she has never been taught how to cope without it?
Or is she simply the PMS queen of the quarter horse set?
Is this a training issue or a chemical problem? Any thoughts?
Captain found he could handle me getting on. He would walk around a little as long as I didn't try to pick up a rein. Or move my legs. Or scratch my nose.
He was still absolutely phobic about any kind of containment.
I understood that my sitting on him was pushing him to the limits of his claustrophobia.
I figured we would add the elements of riding one step at a time.
I didn't figure that he wouldn't let me off.
But he wouldn't. The little pixie.
Forty minutes after I got on I was still trying to ease off.
Every time I shifted my weight, his skinny little neck would hoist that big old, bug eyed head even higher. His butt would sink and he would skitter forward a few steps, I'd shift back, and he'd relax
Talk about keeping to the middle!
I knew I could do an emergency dismount and get out of there.
I also knew it would scare the crap out of him.
He really was trying to be good.
The Big K stuck his head back through the window. "You're going to be riding colts 'til midnight at this rate. Isn't it broke yet?"
"No it is not broke. I might be if I can't get off it."
"Good grief, you are such a gunzel."
The Big K never swears, but he might as well. Gunzel my butt.
"Take a deep breath, make sure you have just your toe in the stirrup, and swing off from the middle. Don't let your weight shift." He said.
"I meant today!" He added.
That's a tall order for an old, sweaty, fat woman. Ever obedient I went for it.
I hit the ground on my feet, Captain launched into space, but turned and looked at me when he landed.
"Hmmm." I said.
I'll be darned. There's reasons I put up with the Big K.
Inch by inch Captain started to relax. We were walking around the indoor. I could guide him by lifting one rein at a time. I never gathered him up or tried to hold him. I kept my legs soft, an imaginary quarter inch of air between him and me. I stopped him by, well, waiting for him to stop.
Then I would sink my weight, pick up on my reins, (they only changed position, I never pulled) and say whoa.
It still took at least ten minutes to get off him.
I tried to respect his fear. In return he really tried to cope, and cooperate.
I realized Captain was eager to work every day. He had become interested in what we were doing
Score for me.
We began to trot. Lo and behold, it was the loveliest, floatiest trot I had ever ridden. The increased speed seemed to soothe him. I tentatively began to ride with my seat. He became willing to accept my gentle direction. He had a natural cadence and drive that made me think there might be something to this boy.
I finally added my legs, one at a time. I could rest my calves on his sides and get a response by just tightening my muscles.
He would stop when I exhaled and said whoa. I began to make light contact with the bit.
I had bitted him after the first ride. While I normally ride in a side pull for the first ten or so rides, Captain had made me pee myself, just a little, but still... I wanted a snaffle. I needed to know I had some potential torque whether I could use it or not.
It had only taken two days of him thrashing and banging his head against the tie rail to get him to accept it.
When it was time to lope I couldn't do it. I was just too afraid. The ramming into the wall had made more of an impression than I could admit.
Every time I would encourage Captain to transition up he would gather himself and start chugging almost in place. Remember, I had my reins thrown completely out. He felt like I was hanging on his face, and getting ready to blow.
I sucked up and asked one of the other apprentice trainers to do it. I have slowly watched my pride leach away over the years.The need for self preservation has overcome most of my stiff necked inclinations.
Lucky for me, the other junior trainer was only too happy to show me how much better he was than I. It always works for me when somebody's high self esteem is matched by an equally low I.Q.
I should be nice. He did get up there. He did get Captain to lope.
After they blew around the arena two or three times, and bounced off a few walls.
Once again, kudos to Jr. Big K. He hung in there. He helped me.
He wouldn't get on him again.
I called the Morgan trainer that had started him. I asked him how it had gone with Captain.
He wouldn't give me much, but I did find out that he had longed him in the full bitting rig they use to teach the Morgans that high, pulled back, head set.
He made him stand for hours in his stall bitted in that rig.
That made the light bulb go on.
When I was asking Captain to go forward he was expecting to hit the restraint of the rig.
My poor claustrophbic psychopath had spent five months in a straight jacket and a cell.
I continued to ride Captain with almost no contact. It's not that far a stretch from how I start them anyway. He just brought out the, "please, I want to curl up in a fetal position and grab on with everything I have" in me, so it was harder to do.
I would take him left or right with a single rein, or light pressure from my legs, but never both at the same time.
I stopped him with my seat. If he didn't stop I would wait until he did, then reinforce my relax, exhale, legs off , whoa cue.
I asked him for forward with my calves, and let him find his lope on his own time.
It was beautiful.
He wanted to lope with his nose almost to the ground. It was a little unnerving, but his back stayed relaxed, (even if mine didn't) so I let him have it. I have always figured he was playing with the freedom I gave his head. Or just messing with mine.
He began to back! I would ask with a tightening of my reins in a left, right motion, after he stopped, and he began to take a step or two.
It was my first attempt at containment with my reins, and he accepted it.
His owner called and asked if he had a good turn around.
I screamed something intelligible into the phone.
She added a nice bonus on my next paycheck.
Now that I had a handle on why he was so freaked by any kind of hold, I felt like I had a base to work with. I kept alternating my cues, but made them stronger and more definite. I expected him to respond to me, if he didn't whoa off my seat, I'd give him the back cue. Discipline! He accepted it with grace. We were on our way. I began to relax. Big mistake.
I had forgotten Captain was deranged from day one. I had been happily blaming the Morgan guy for all our problems. I had put Captain in a category, a slot, a place I felt safer in.I was trotting Captain along the arena wall. He was motoring along at a pretty good rate, he was soft in my hands, with light contact. I was drifting off, enjoying his wonderful trot.
There was a series of windows, about five feet off the ground, that went the length of the arena. There was a pen of horses outside windows. A horse stuck his inquiring nose through the window as we passed by. Captain looked at him, nickered, and tried to go through the window. He got his head and front legs through before I grabbed hold of the reins. I jerked hard with my outside rein and pulled him to the ground. Typical Captain, he didn't spook until he had all four back in the arena. Then he bolted.
That was the last straw. I was over it. I sat quiet for about four strides, and then pulled his head to the wall. I kicked hard with my wall side heel. He actually responded, disengaged, and did a respectable turn We did about six of those before he settled into a working lope. I let him have a few turns around the arena and asked for a whoa. He stopped, rocked back and ready, so I backed him five or six steps. Then I slid off. For once he didn't spook. I bent over, hands on my knees, and took some deep breaths. I felt him nibble lightly at my sweat slick T-shirt.
From that day on I rode Captain like any other young horse. He was ready. Still really strange, but ready. I never let my guard down. He kept trying. He kept things interesting. At the end of 120 days he could ride inside or out. He stood tied. The farrier and vet could handle him. He knew his leads. He had a pretty decent turn around. We were down to only five minutes until I could dismount. I sent him home.
A year later his owner brought him back. Nobody would buy him. She had tried to keep him ridden, but was afraid of him."He's never actually done anything, but I never feel like he's all there. He won't let me dismount."
"Yup." I said.
So now I was supposed to tune him up, get him used to other people riding him, and keep him until sold. I had Captain all summer. I rode him. My daughter rode him. My upper level students rode him. My dressage buddy came and rode him. She loved his floaty gaits, said he was "feely". He made everybody a little nervous. Nobody bought him.
The owner took him home in the fall. He spent the winter tearing down fences. His owner spent the winter tearing out her hair. Nobody bought him.
She brought him back for one more shot. He nickered when he saw me. I rode him for a few weeks. He was actually pretty good.
She found a potential buyer. A way too green one in my opinion. I was testily informed that she worked with a trainer and would be fine. When she mounted she lugged herself up, and kneed him in the flank. Captain jumped, the potential buyer hit the dirt. I rode him until he was no longer white eyed. She wanted to try again. Captain wouldn't let her anywhere near. Smart Captain. I called a halt to that one.
A few weeks later the owner called to say she was bringing out somebody else. Their John Lyons certified trainer was coming with.
"That might work."I said.
The afternoon they were coming I got him out and took him through his paces. His ground work was solid. I rode him for about forty five minutes. It was all good. One of my best students was hanging out that day. She is one of my best friends, and a hand. She had ridden Captain before.
"Hop on him for a minute or two would you?" I asked. "I want to make sure he's over that spooking crap with other riders."
She got up without any trouble. She walked him around for about ten minutes. The farrier drove up.
"Just trot a circle and we'll make sure you can get dismounted." I said.
My student, my friend, clucked to Captain. He bolted. As he came through the corner he actually picked up more speed. He slung her into the iron rail of our arena. She ended up in ICU for several days. She had 6 broken ribs, a deflated lung, cracked vertebrae, a broken shoulder and clavicle. I called the owner and told her to get him off my place within the week. No one was to ride him. I didn't want him touched until he was loaded into the trailer.
She gave him to the John Lyons certified trainer. The trainer was sure any horse could be trained if approached the right way. She had a lot of confidence in her abilities.. She thought she was pretty hot stuff.
It turns out the John Lyons trainer was not quite certified. The first and only horse she had ever trained had come up lame before she finished. She planned on using Captain to finish her course.
Captain never made it. I heard stories about how smart he was. How quickly he picked up on his round pen work. (Well duh, he could lead change, half pass, stop and spin) Then nothing. The last I heard the new trainer tried to ride him. Once. Captain is now a pasture ornament. He is fat and shiny, and teases them as he races by with his fluid, beautiful gaits.
Score a big one for Captain.