Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Before you wander down the trail (or through the fence) with Tally, I need some blog assistance. The equine mind meld is a mess. If I was going to clean it up and get it running again, are there any ideas on ow to put it in a better format, or to clean up this one? I like it, I think the potential for help is great, but the spam has gone crazy. Help!

Oh boy oh boy oh boy.

This was going to be just one fricking lovefest.

I had been too blunt with my client, Tim, and now he was mad.

I was still pretty fired up myself, I felt bad for Tally, was mad at myself for pushing too hard, mad at Tim for being a dumbass and more than a little nervous.

Tally had grazed quietly next to her owner while we talked, reacting to the rising tension between us with nothing more than a tail snap and moving a few steps away from us.

It wasn't until I tied her to the rail by the tack room that she let me know where she stood. Which would be knee deep in my guts if she had her way.

Her ears were pinned, her jaws locked tight and she leaned against her lead rope, not quite in full "suck back" position, but close enough. "Fool me once, and I get scared, fool me twice and I'll hand you your head on a fence post," her rolling eye made the message clear.

Tally was done with this game. She had not signed up for saddles hanging around her belly, riders flying of without warning, or nervous nellies refusing to listen. It was time to get put back out to pasture and be left the hell alone. She was more than ready to spell it out to me if I didn't care to listen.

"She's not going to let you saddle her," Tim said. "Nobody could get it done -- even with her leg tied up."

I sighed. God only knows what all was tried on Tally before I was let in on the problem. I decided I didn't want to know.

"Oh, she'll get saddled," I said through gritted teeth.

Boarders were starting to gather around. Tally must have been making quite the impression.

I untied her, held the lead rope in one hand and tucked the saddle pad under my elbow. Tally began to maneuver her hindquarters towards me, tail  clamped, butt muscles quivering, she was planning on a double barreled kick. Bitch.

"Hey!" I shouted, stepped into her shoulder, yanked her head towards my chest and hit her across the butt with the saddle pad. She swung her hips away and bolted. I  turned my body to her hip and yanked hard again, "Hey!" Her head was jerked towards me, she lost momentum and hesitated for just a second. I relaxed my hold on the lead rope. She bolted again. I stepped in, jerked and swung the saddle pad. Rinse, repeat.

Ten minutes later we were both sweaty messes. She had quit bolting and had switched to backing away from me, wild eyed and crazy looking. I kept my lead rope loose, pulling her head towards me just enough to keep her arced and her hind legs moving away. I kept my eyes on her haunches and kept walking and running at her, whatever it took to move Tally just a little faster than she wanted to move and to keep her feet going where I wanted them.

We had worked our way out of the stable yard, through the parking lot and halfway down the steep access road before Tally paused to take a look at me. I stopped, stood square, stepped in a little to give her some slack and waited. Our audience was bigger and had come down the hill with us. I let my concentration relax and glanced over at the observers. The energy rolled off them like the sweaty crowd around a boxing ring, what the hell were they expecting?

I could feel Tally through the rope, starting  to tense again. I exhaled, shook my shoulders loose and focused on her hind feet, moving her forward a few steps and then relaxing. Her head dropped and she blew, slinging snot and sweat all over me. I waited and watched while she stretched out and pounded the ground in frustration, first with one forefoot, then the other. She peered out from under her heavy black forelock, trying to decide her next move by reading my intention. I gave her nothing, just stood, rope slack, waving my saddle pad around a bit and idly looking her over. Jeez, she was pretty. Her sweat soaked shoulders gleamed with good health, her powerful muscles were quivering, ready to fly into action at a moments notice, her entire body was poised and ready to fly, or mash me into the dust, whatever. She was awesome.

Tally decided to let go. She sighed, her top line relaxed, her belly sagged and she lipped the grass. When I stepped in to put the pad on her back she flung her head in the air, but her feet stayed quiet.

"Do you want me to get the saddle?" Tim asked.

"Nah, we'll go get it."

I led her back to the tie rail and saddled her without even a foot stomp.

"That's probably enough for today," Tim said.

I was tired. Tired of his new found horse-man-ship, tired of this dude filled barn, tired of Tally and tired of thinking about the situation.

"I'm going riding." I bridled her and headed back down the hill to the arena.


Becky said...

You've got bigger ovaries than I do. I can't stand working with a horse when people stare at me. I go all to pieces.

Horseyhabit said...

omg... I can feel the tension!!! Oh yeah, I quit breathing..


Calm, Forward, Straight said...

No fair with the hateful cliffhanger!! ;D

mugwump said...

So true...Becky made us all wear blind folds while she worked Caspian at the Mugwump/Big K clinic...

Becky said...

No I didn't. I just let you all watch while I tensed up and fell off.

mugwump said...

Shhhh....I was saving that part for "Clinic 2013 - the Video."

Lana said...

It's so much fun when you sell someone something and they don't listen to a damn word you say. Then you have to come in and try to patch everything back together. Good times. Good times.

Half Dozen Farm said...

Somehow your cliffhangers ALWAYS surprise me. Every single time the story ends I think, "No, that's not the end. She wouldn't leave me still holding my breath." So I scroll down looking for more and then am surprised to realize "AHHH, another cliffhanger!" I'm a slow learner, I guess.
Thanks for the Tally story. As always, can't wait to read more. Glad you're back to blogging again. I missed you! :)

Anonymous said...

And the wait for more, more, more begins.....

poniegirle said...

Fabulous post- I love your stories!

Hadn't been over to the Mind Meld in a while, was very surprised by what's there. Let's just say I'm not interested in soundtracks, juicy or otherwise...

What if the forums were organized by topic? Something along the lines of training, problem solving, equipment/product recommendations, and general discussion? Throw in a couple volunteer moderators to keep the icky content out, and it might be easier to navigate.

Snipe said...

"even with her leg tied up"

What a moron. It's one thing to be ignorant because you don't have knowledge or experience, but this guy had been repeatedly warned about how to deal with Tally. It sounds like he wasn't interested in her welfare after all.

Great writing and awesome cliffhanger, Mugs. You've got some real skills. It must really be something to see you work with a horse.

Anonymous said...

Oh Poo. I wanted to know how that ride went.
You made me laugh out loud when you started working with Tally. I could picture it in my mind. I've taken the same approach with a horse, and I was glad no one was watching. I've also paused in the middle of my internal cussing to think "Damn, you're a beautiful horse."

The exchange with Becky in the comments explained a lot. Don't worry about it Becky, go ahead and post the story, I'll look the other way when you get to the embarrassing parts.

Heather said...


In thinking about Equine Mind Meld, I know you want everyone to be able to contribute, but have you considered making it a private forum? It would make a bit more work on your part (or someone's part) but it will help with the um.... shall we say "less than desirable content". I agree with Poniegirle's suggestion to divide it up by topics - that will help tidy things up a bit as well. Other than that, the problem with the forum format is just what you're experiencing - they're a bit of a pain to manage and, sooner or later, you get spammed. It's been a problem from the earliest days when we all used the old newsgroups. :-|

Francis said...

You know.. I don't agree that he is a total moron.. just like hundreds of other NEW horse people, they are overwhelmed by people telling them what to do.. and not knowledgeable enough to know who to listen too..

I feel badly for Tally.. none of this has been her fault.

I am not a fan of working a horse in front of a crowd, but once you get started its all one on one anyway.

Can't wait to hear "the rest of the story"

mugwump said...

Dear Snipe -- Ask Becky. You know, the one that said, "I wrote all about the Mugs/K clinic,and was going to post it on my Blog of Becky Blog but lost it in my computer so now I won't share..." yeah, that one.
I think I might be in trouble now.

mugwump said...

Francis - Great points. I was frustrated by Tim, on so many levels, but felt for him too. He was a newbie, in a horse loving barn made up of owners whose horses were pets. Not a bad thing, but ... he had bought Tally. Anyway...there's a post here, I'm going to go write it.

Anonymous said...

Mugs, not sure what software/service you're using for the Mind Meld, but back in the day when I was doing artist websites, there were several free "message board" hosts that offered a simple, automated sign-up process to keep out the spam. User enters name, screen name, email address, receives an email "activation" link to be able to access the board. I like the organize by topic idea. If interested, I can go back to my old notes and see who I used, although Google has probably bought them out by now :->

Heidi the Hick said...

Well you might as well go riding, after all the work it took to get the little monster saddled!

Although I probably would have said, ok, that's it, everybody go back to work, we're done here.

Well on second thought, that horse knew what to do, she'd done it before... maybe what she needed was a real strong push on the Reset button.

(Hmmm... fence sitting???)

y'know, I've been Tim, I've been the one who took advice that may have even been good, but not for me and for my horse. At least in my old age I'm learning to trust my gut. And my BS filter is getting more efficient.

Anybody wanna know how to cure yourself of the fear of people watching you work a horse? Get bucked off your 13 hh pony at a horse show. After that, anything else is just pffft.

mugwump said...

Anon - Yes...Please! And I wouldn't mind talking with those of you who suggested/offered helping maintain it??? Just mail at jhuntington@cowhorseart.com

Anonymous said...

proboards.com is the only one I've worked with that still exists. It looks like the other I used has been rolled into this one: eboards4all.com

It looks like either one should give you the moderator tools you need to keep the 'interesting' spam away :)

MichelleL said...

Yuku might be worth looking into. It is a message board that has served our little online community well for years.

I do hope Tally and Tim both got their Happily Ever Afters even if it was not together.

Looking forward to the rest of the story.

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