Monday, July 13, 2009

Gates and Gaits, Forward Ho!

Shannon wrote in again, she's written a lighter story this time and it's great fun. She still hasn't coughed up her blog address. I know it, but if you don't send it with your post I'm not putting it up, I don't know if you want it published or not. Let me know!

Most Embarrassing Moment….. Lately

Three years ago my mare, Sera, was thinking she didn’t want to work for a living. When I rode her, she’d run through her shoulder, go backwards instead of forwards and she would rear. She was six at the time and a race track reject. And I was teaching my very first project her new job as a riding horse.

She had me scared. I'll admit it. But I am nothing if not determined! Mostly I could ride her through the bad behavior, but the rearing was freaking me out. I’d jump off when she was at her worst and lunge her. If you can’t be good, you will work my dear. You will go forward and you will work. Hard. And work she did!

Around the time I finally had her convinced to move forward vs. sucking back and going up, I noticed an ad for a “De-Spooking Clinic”. It sounded interesting and maybe it would help me with my courage which was sometimes lacking!

I called the number and talked to the barn owner who was nice as pie, but the clinic was 2.5 hours away. Hmmmm. I wasn’t sure I wanted to drive that far by myself. What if something happened like a flat tire or my truck broke down or there was an accident?? I told the nice woman I’d have to think on it and get back to her.

I can really get myself in a twirl over the “what if’s”. I know it’s a bad habit. I told that voice in my brain to shut up and decided I would go. The woman at the barn gave me the name and number of another person I could meet up with along the way to tailgate with over to the clinic. That made me feel better, at least if something happened on the Interstate, I wouldn’t be totally alone.

Of course Sera and I arrived safe and sound. The barn hosting the clinic was immaculate. There was an ornate, iron, automatic gate that slowly opened when the sensors detected a vehicle. It closed automatically once the vehicle was through. “Wow – that’s fancy.” I thought. I parked my truck and trailer, unloaded my mare, groomed her and walked to the indoor arena.

The first half of the day was ground work with nothing but a halter and lead rope. There were tarps set up and bridges and pots of big bushy plants… things to startle or spook the horses.

We spent the morning in groups at each “station”. Each horse and handler team worked to get their horses over, on or up to whatever scary thing was there. It was fun and watching all the different horse and handler teams was interesting. There was every size and shape of person, horse and pony.

We broke for lunch and we were supposed to meet back up in the indoor fully tacked up and ready to ride in an hour.

When I returned to the indoor with Sera and climbed up on her, she was an instant live wire. She was snorting, tense, running through her shoulder and threatening to rear. I simply breathed, in and out, deep breaths and kept her moving forward. She seemed to be the only horse exhibiting nervous energy and a lot of people were staring at me. I tried to block them out as I moved Sera forward.

She calmed down eventually… well “sort of”. As long as I let her keep moving, she was o.k. While the clinicians talked to everyone about what they would be doing, we were supposed to be on our mounts standing still. Not Sera. Well, not unless they wanted to witness WWIII. I kept her going in small circles both directions, out of everyone’s way. We'd stop occasionally but it wasn't for long.

The clinician wanted me to back her until she’d submit to standing still.

I don’t always stand up for myself very well, but there was no way in hell I was going to go backwards on Sera after I’d spent all winter getting her FORWARD. I politely told them, No thank-you and continued with my mare going forward in little circles.

Sera relaxed as the afternoon wore on and our group finished up with some outdoor riding exercises. Sera was glad to be outside and moving forward. I felt exhausted from a day of trailering, ground work, riding and a lot of different concepts.

I led Sera back to my trailer, untacked her, groomed her and loaded her up. The people I’d followed down were ready to leave and I followed them down the drive. They drove through the fancy, ornate, iron, automatic gate.

I started to drive through the fancy, ornate, iron, automatic gate. I was moving slowly forward, inch by inch. I looked up for a moment, distracted by someone waving goodbye to me.


Oh crap.

I looked in my mirrors and the hub of my trailer was impaled on the fancy iron gate. Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap. My armpits began sweating profusely. The rig I was following home didn’t see what happened and continued on….

Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap… I didn’t pay close attention to how exactly we got here since I followed them. I’m never going to find my way out of here! Crap, crap, crap…. Beads of sweat appear on my forehead.

I tried to go backwards.


Nope. I can’t. My trailer hub has become one with the fancy automatic gate and I’ve completely trashed the first tire.

Everyone in the outdoor arena going through their paces stopped to watch me.

Crap, crap, crap. I want the Earth to open and swallow me whole.

I get out and I smile through clenched teeth while I give a small wave to the onlookers. “Yup – s’all good here. Nothing to look at, I’m fine. See how nonchalant I’m acting? Oh, it’s just a little scratch. Go back to riding – stop looking now. I’ll be on my way in just a moment…”

I look and there is NO WAY I can go forward or backward. A crowd of children has gathered around. Where in the heck did all these kids come from anyway?!

One little boy goes running back to the barn, “Hey you guys! Com're! Lookit this lady who ran into the gate! C’mon! Hurry!”

Please God, can you strike me down dead right now? Please? Pretty please with sugar on top?

The owner of the barn comes out. She is still so nice it’s almost painful. She gets her husband. There is a small crowd surrounding my trailer. Everyone is evaluating the situation.

No one can leave the clinic because I’m blocking the driveway and gate. There are a couple trailers in line to leave. No one can come into the barn for the same reason. There is a boarder in her car waiting to get in on the other side.

My shirt is soaked with nervous, anxious sweat. The pits are wet, the back of my shirt is wet, I have boob sweat and I have sweat running down my face. I want to die from the embarrassment.

The owner’s husband tried a crowbar. No dice. He tried a hammer. Nope. He tried every tool he had without success. My wheel well was melded to the gate. How that happened while I drove 5-10mph I will never know.

His gate was most definitely broken - adding insult to injury. I gave him my information for insurance purposes.

We got my tire changed while people were trying to figure out how to release my trailer from the gate. The people I was going to follow home? The blessed angels realized I wasn’t behind them and they came back for me. I wanted to cover these complete strangers with kisses I was so, so, incredibly grateful.

The barn owner’s husband ended up going back to the barn and bringing back his CHAINSAW to cut the wheel well free from that fancy, ornate, automatic, expensive…. now broken… gate.

And the same little boy who went running off to gather his friends to watch? He looked at the chainsaw, he watched them cut the wheel well away and he looked at my trailer containing Sera who remained totally silent throughout the ordeal.

“Boy. That’s a good horse in there!”


autumnblaze said...

Hahahahaha... I always wondered if the auto-gates were prepared for that second car/truck that goes through. I always wondered what happened if they started closing with someone 1/2 through... now I know.
Oh man that stinks! At least you can laugh about it... now. :)

Sydney said...

Haha good ending. Good writer. That is funny.

milwaukeecob said...

Priceless term: boob sweat. Thank you for naming what I go through with my hot flashes.

Miss A said...

Hahahahaha! Hilarious and embarassing!

Ponyice said...

Hehe, don't feel bad my friend did that here, to HER OWN GATE!!! On her new trailer. My husband is a welder and fixed her gate for her. Hope your trailer was ok.

Jonas said...

Wow, you poor thing :P

AKPonyGirl said...

I just wanted to let you know that you are not the only one that can get "in a twirl" about the what ifs. When I was a kid I rode anything anywhere. I packed everything I owned and drove by myself with my 18 month old daughter from Kentucky to Alaska. We drove from Alaska to Florida and back. But now there's this voice that says ooooo That's gonna hurt.

Great story.

KD said...

I hate the prickly armpit sweat and love the term boob sweat ! Good story; I was embarrassed right along with you.

FD said...

Blasted blogger just ate my comment.

I just want to say, I worked at a yeard with a hydraulic gate, intercom and code pad entry and I have many, many stories about them. So you are not alone. I used to have the manufacturer's no on my speed dial. Seriously.

littledog said...

Oh, how embarrassing and I feel for you even as I'm laughing.
But, excuse me for maybe getting too philosophical, here's what I get out the story, there's a theme going on here:
"If you can’t be good, you will work my dear. You will go forward and you will work. Hard. And work she did!"
"I simply breathed, in and out, deep breaths and kept her moving forward."
"I don’t always stand up for myself very well, but there was no way in hell I was going to go backwards on Sera after I’d spent all winter getting her FORWARD. I politely told them, No thank-you and continued with my mare going forward in little circles."
"Sera was glad to be outside and moving forward."
"I was moving slowly forward, inch by inch. I looked up for a moment, distracted..."
"I tried to go backwards.


Nope. I can’t."

And finally: “Boy. That’s a good horse in there!”

Thank you for this story, I don't know about anybody else, but it's a microcosm of what I'm trying to learn, in riding and in life: GO FORWARD, it's never the wrong answer! No matter what the obstacles, including robot gates, and clueless mistakes will happen, but just... FORWARD!

jmk said...

Loved it!

lopinon4 said...

That's the kind of bad luck that I have, and now I don't feel nearly as ALONE as I once did!! Fantastic story, and I can relate to it on SO MANY levels. Thanks for sharing!

Sarah said...

Haha, what a great story! I loved the ending so much...I also had to laugh at 'boob sweat' and 'Where'd these kids come from ANYWAY?!'

Laura Crum said...

I loved this story. Funny and well written. Now I know why I don't go to clinics. Or have an automatic gate. I have the old fashioned kind, where you get out and open it, go through, and then get out and close it. I can't count the number of times people have asked me why I don't get an automatic one (especially on rainy days). I always say I'm not so lazy I won't get out of my car to open a gate, but I will also admit that my experiences with automatic gates overall are not positive. I haven't actually got stuck in one (thank God), but have been stuck outside ones that inexplicably malfunctioned and refused to open. Lots. No, I don't want an automatic gate. Thanks for a great story.

focusgrasshopper said...

Oh man...sounds like something I would do...

Shanster said...

I'm glad you liked it!

I suppose she who laughs ... LASTS! :) I'm always finding something to laugh at myself about - maybe I have a low entertainment threshold?

And NOW I know those automatic gates are something to watch out for... heh, heh

Oh - sorry - my little piece of the blog'o'sphere for anyone who wants it is:

Half Dozen Farm said...

My parents have an automatic gate, and that thing is SO SLOW! I have six automatic gate openers - well, actually five because the sixth one is still in a car seat. ;) They jump out of the car as soon as we stop, run up to the gate, stand at the open gate till I'm through, then close it and hop back in the car - all before my parents gate is halfway open!
Thanks for the funny story - though I'm sure it wasn't at the time! :)

gtyyup said...

That's a great story...very well written and just plain funny! I could feel your pain at the time.

oregonsunshine said...

Oh my! This just changed my mind about getting an automatic gate for our new place! I think I'll go with a regular old gate now. Thanks!

mugwump said...

oregonsunshine - you could probably use one as long as Shanster doesn't come over...hee hee.

autumnblaze said...

You're bad mugs. :)

Shanster said...

Nope - Mugs is absolutely RIGHT! grin

Redsmom said...

OMG!!! I feel your embarassment. "Boob sweat" LOL!
You painted quite a picture - of course a crowd of children gathered round. Thank goodness your horse was despooked! He probably thought this was another exercise in a crazy day!

Redsmom said...

Blurry pics up and a narrative post folowing about my clinic and show last weekend. Sheesh - it was almost as embarassing as breaking the nice gate. But not quite (JK! Shanster!)

SOSHorses said...

Holy cow that totally sounds like something I would do. Oh wait, I am pretty sure I have. Only mine was a corner post and an aluminum running board, which ended up sticking out from the trailer like a wing.

don't feel to bad apparently it happens to all of us at least once.

Joy said...

Shanster, just checked out your blog quickly and loved it. It's bookmarked!

Great story, I love it. My best friend and I have always used "boob sweat" to describe, well, the boob sweat. It sux, that boob sweat, huh?!

badges blues N jazz said...

HAHAHAHAHAH OMG that was a HILARIOUS and very well written story. I could totally feel the embarrassment!

Whywudyabreedit said...

Oh my god you poor thing! What a scene, that is hysterical. I hope you had plenty of water to drink, sounds like you could have become completely dehydrated what with all of the nervous sweating!

I am most proud of you for politely telling the clinician no when told to back your horse! Good show on that one!!

Redsmom said...

Mugs, "Help" I need to know how to get Matt to sidepass. Thanks

mugwump said...

Only those who are truly Horsaii will openly embrace the term "boob sweat." Snicker

Boots and Saddles 4 Mel said...

Hello - I enjoy your blog so much! As a token to that and in an effort to guide other people to your blog, I've given you the "honest scrap" blog award. Thank you for your stories, advice, and humor.

mugwump said...

Thanks Boots and Saddle...

JGL said...

How did you get your horse to stop rearing? I was reading this blog and it sounds just like my horse! Only I have not figured out the solution yet. When he doesn't want to work he sucks back and starts rearing. Backing up is out of the question.when he does it and I think I can not handle it I do get off and lunge the living daylights out of him but it does not seem to be doing any good. How long should I give this? Any advice would be great. Thank you.

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