Friday, November 2, 2012

Cross Tie Woes

Another horse blogger recently shared on Princess Diva Diaries that blogs help us not feel so alone when things aren't going perfect. I have to admit that sometimes I tend to accentuate our good days. It isn't all from wanting to look good. Mostly I am just so impressed with my boy that once he's good I forget about the bad parts right away. Well in the interest of commiserating with my fellow bloggers in the hope that it will make someone feel not so alone here it goes........

Dickie looked happy as could be grazing with his girls today. I called for the horses to come in and at first no one was interested in what I had. They were up to their eyeballs in grass. Of course my good boy couldn't resist me for more than a few seconds and came right up. I decided to take him over to the old barn before it got too dark or started to rain buckets again. I heard that when they walked him over this weekend he reared a few times. It isn't entirely unheard of for him throw tantrums and rear but this kind of behavior has pretty much dwindled and I wanted to see what was up. Our routine is for me to stop often and say "Whoa" then ask him to back up. I do this randomly and I will also do it the second his shoulder get an inch in front of mine. He was FABULOUS on the way over. He was a little snorty and wanted to prance but he listened and even kept out of my personal space. I was thrilled. Often he needs mental recalibration when I have been away working for a few days. We went into the round pen for a few minutes and he was on point there too. The best thing about it was the fact that it was windy and he was very distracted. Even with all that he was still able to listen to me. That is  HUGE improvement over the first day I got him. 

How is this sharing the bad stuff you ask? Oh I am getting there. Once we got back to the barn I decided to work on cross tie manners. We haven't had a good cross tie set up since the first barn. The only cross ties were in another barn and it was too hard to walk the beast and carry all my supplies to I groomed him at a single tie in his stall or the aisle. The second I put him in the ties I knew I had my work cut out for me. He would back up, move forward, dance from side to side, grab the cross ties, he was like a preschooler hopped up on candy after Halloween. 

When I work on getting my horses to stand still in the cross ties I just keep putting the horse where I want them. That is how I get them to ground tie too. Bre would stand all day in one spot if I asked her (I used past tense because she is currenlty in a state of extreme spoiled rotteness). This sounds simple but generally it works. The only place they get to relax is in an area that I choose. Eventually they get tired of the boring game and decide it is more fun to get love and treats than have buzz kill mom poking you in the side. At one point he decided he didn't want to move his bum and kicked out. As much as I don't like to resort to being rough I won't tolerate that I the next time he tried to kick he got a dressage whip in the butt and he didn't try it again. Man that horse can move fast. The second I got him to move to the left he would go right, move him forward, he would move back. He didn't care if he walked all over me. I have to admit I was starting to feel more than a little equicidal as our dance went on. We didn't seem to be making progress and my only other option was going postal on his ass but that isn't my style so I just kept at it. After twenty minutes of this I realized he was spending more and more time with his feet where I wanted them. I took a step back and MIRACLE he stood there right in the middle of the aiselway ears pricked happy as could be. "Hey mom I was standing like this the whole time. Don't know why you are all sweaty." 

I was sweaty and tired but feeling triumphant. I won SUCKA!! I showed that two year old. Or so I thought..... I ended my night with some tack room organizing which happens to be across from his stall. He could see me and decided it was unacceptable that I wasn't paying attention to him. He proceeded to throw his body against his door and bang his legs. The sound was enough to send me over the edge. In addition to the infernal racket he also risked taking the door off the hinges. I think he actually likes the noise because he doesn't do it at his other window. My solution? I made my own jail system to keep his bloody head in. We will see if it holds up over night but I did a pretty good job securing it. He still gets to stick his head out but not at the door. Magically he stopped all the racked the second the door option was taken away. I guess he really was doing it for the noise. 

Here he is in all his naughtiness:
I can see you in there!!!! COME OUT!!!!! Come out or I will remove this door and get you. This is generally the super cute look he has on his face when he is doing bad things. 

Ha, ha. Once again I WON!!!! No he can get his nose out and get his head stuck. I have it secured to the bars so it can't slip with vet wrap. I plan on putting up a stall guard once I get the right hardware. 

See, he can still hang his head out and with visit with the girls. 

They go out to the big pasture tomorrrow. I am heading out in the morning to help lead him. I want to make sure that he is a good boy and that the barn manager sees what works with him. 


  1. :) Thanks for the mention and nice comments on my blog. Dickie is a lovely guy!

    1. I can't wait until Dickie and I are going to shows like you. I am looking forward to all the adventures I will have on his back. Reading your blog shows me all the fun stuff we will be doing.

  2. lol. Young horses push the limits- they have no choice. Good for you for being so consistent and not losing your temper.

    Based on my experience with my now 12 year old at some point someone will look at him and say 'you're lucky to have a horse so well behaved'.


    1. It's kind of fun to have and end product and a baby. Bre reminds me of how good they can turn out. I bet you feel like that with Irish and Steele.

  3. Oh my goodness! What a brat! :) I would have done the same thing with the kicking. I absolutely will NOT tolerate kicking! I'm glad you managed to win in all of your mini battles lol. You are very resourceful. :D Oh and there were horses at the barn I used to work at that did that with their window/doors. We even had one who could take his door off the hinges!!!

    1. He's such a challenge. I've been around horses like him and he's not the kind of horse you want to pick fights with. You might get away with bullyin ga horse like him a few times but then he will explode. That is how Bre was started. However, he also won't forget if he starts getting his way. He needs to know I am the boss but he has some input into what is going on.