Saturday, October 21, 2017
12 September 2015

Beauty - The Beast

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One of our "Extras" is Beauty.  She is a Friesian who came to us with baby Olivia at her side and severely underweight.  She's been at the Ranch now for a couple months and while still underweight, she's in much better shape. It's our understanding that she was used as a dressage horse and should be well trained.

When she first arrived, she was pretty wild and would run you over in a heartbeat.  But over the last couple months, she has settled down into a really personable and sweet mare who only gets a little nuts at feeding time if we're not quite fast enough with the grain.

Until yesterday that is.  Yesterday I decided it was time to see what she knew.  So I took a lunge line, whip, saddle and bridle down to the arena.  When I put the line on her and told her to walk, she obviously knew what lunging is, but there was nothing I could do to get her to go faster than a walk.  I would wave the whip at her, smack it on the ground, even tapped her butt with it a few times and she just looked at me with the clearest expression of contentment.  I clearly was not going to hurt her and therefore walking speed was fine.  Yes?

After laughing at how calm she was, I attempted to get her to trot with me when I led her.  Also no go.  I would run (not very fast) and she would walk a bit faster.  Ok, so I decided she probably wouldn't run away with me if I saddled her up.  

My saddle went on her quite nicely (I was worried because her shoulder muscles are still very under developed) and she happily stood while I tightened the girth.  So far so good! 

Then I got the bridle out.  The bridle I was using was an English bridle with a D ring snaffle. It's a pretty benign bit so I didn't think much of it. I put my arm over Beauty's poll and began to attempt to put the bit in her mouth.  I suddenly had a crazy horse on my hands.  She threw her head up in the air and moved sideways against the fence.  

Interesting.  At this point, I'm thinking she is just being stubborn. So I took the bit off the bridle and put the noseband on separately, thinking I could get the bit in her mouth if I had more control over her head.  And yes, I did manage to get it in her mouth, but before I could get the buckle done up, she was in a full blown panic and pushed me into the fence and reared up trying to get away.  

Fortunately she didn't manage to get away, but she did manage to get the bit out of her mouth and I decided that if she's that traumatized by her bit experiences, maybe we should try a bitless setup with her.  I new I wasn't going to be getting on her that day, though.  So we changed gears and did a few flexing exercises and led her around in the saddle for a bit so we could end on a positive note. 

So today, I'm nursing a fence shaped bruise on my right arm and pondering how to help her be the sweet willing mare she obviously wants to be.  And I'm not sure.  Her Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde personality switch has me a bit worried for what is the next thing that will send her into crazy land.  But I'm definitely willing to take the time to try to figure it all out.  

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The ranch is always in need of items to help it run more smoothly. 

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Did You Know?

Foals are born with legs 90% of their full adult length.

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