Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Good and The Bad

Jack has been here for 5 days so far and we've already been through a bit of this and that. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were great. Jack seemed to be settling in well and I was looking forward to getting to ride him. Unfortunately my saddle fell through (again) so I had to put off riding for a couple of days. I decided we would just hang out a bit, get to know each other some more and generally just have a relaxing few days but Jack had other ideas.

On Wednesday night I got him out of his paddock. Well actually it was another paddock from what I had put him in the night before because he decided he liked the ponies better and jumped the tape. As soon as I took him out of the paddock the whinnying started... and it didn't stop until I put him back. That itself wasn't too bad. I'd figure he was allowed to have some separation issues since his two paddock mates at his previous owners had been put down on the same day rendering him companion-less. Then the barging, pulling and general bad manners started. His had no regard for me what so ever. He pulled me along on the lead while I struggled uselessly to stop him walking. He basically ran over me a couple of times and when I put him in one of the pens and went in to groom him he swung his butt on me continuously. Basically it was like I didn't exist. I couldn't get his attention on me at all. It was everywhere and anywhere else. It started getting dangerous so I quickly fed him and put him back.

I knew something had to be done. The behaviour was dangerous and totally unacceptable. So the next day when I went to buy his feed I also picked up a rope halter, a lead rope with a tough clip and a crop. I went to Pony Club and went to catch Jack bringing the crop with me. He was in the pony paddock again. I haltered him and starting leading him towards the club rooms. He tried his moves on me pretty quickly but a well timed whack on the shoulder made him think twice. Soon he tried it again and another whack followed. He lead pretty well after that. I put him into one of the pens and fed him. He still whinnied and didn't end up finishing his feed because he was too interested in what else was happening around him. He got pushy on the way back to his paddock but soon stopped when I corrected him again. When I let him go in the hacks paddock he trotted off immediately along the fence line. He then circled out and came at a canter towards the tape. I brandished the whip and yelled at him and he swung at the last minute away from the tape. He tried a couple more times but I yelled and waved the crop at him again and he soon settled down to graze. When I went to get him today he was in the hack paddock so I guess that worked yay!

So today I took him down the club rooms again. He was quiet most of the way and led pretty well. When we got to the club rooms his whinnying started again but again theres not much that can be done about that. He acted up a bit when I tied him up to be groomed etc but settled down when another horse was tied up close by. I groomed him and saddled him up quite easily. He wouldn't let me bridle him and in the end an instructor came over and showed me how to do it another way which he seemed to like more. I took him over to the arena and got on for the first time. Since his ground manners had been worse since coming to Pony Club I was wondering if he would be as bad under saddle. Thankfully he wasn't and we had a pleasant ride around the arena for 20 minutes or so. He whinnied a couple of times but I got his attention back on me and we kept going. I trotted him a tiny bit to show the same instructor how terrible his trot was. He made me a liar by doing a reasonable trot. She laughed because I had just given her a big description of what his trot was like and how horrible it was. I finished the ride, unsaddled him and had an awesome grooming session with Rita who owned Rose, the horse Jack liked. He actually seemed like a normal, calm horse instead of the hyper demon horse he had become for the few days before hand.

One of the instructors at Pony Club, who have dealt with horses with bad ground manners before, is coming to give Jack and I a lesson on ground manners on Sunday which should help me sort him out completely. I actually was scared of him on Wednesday only because he just wouldn't give me his attention at all. He could have run over me and he probably wouldn't have known. So although his manners have been very, very bad at least his riding was good. Also, I put his deterioration in his ground manners down to his excitement and separation issues he's experiencing since the move. He's only been here a few days and I'm sure once he settles in more and calms down he'll be more willing to give me his attention but because he was getting dangerous I couldn't wait for that to happen.

I got contacts today which hopefully should help my riding improve just a tiny bit. I'm short sighted and up until I've worn glasses for driving and watching movies etc but as you might imagine it can be difficult to ride with glasses. Up until now I've just made do but I suspect it hasn't be helping me judge distances correctly when I'm jumping. So contacts is the answer. I wore them when I was 15 but lost them pretty soon after I got them so I will be taking super care of these. I wonder if it will help at all.

Anyway sorry for the very long post! The pictures in this post were taken the second time I rode Jack. I really need to get some more.

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