Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Good Day Bad day

UGH, I have had one hell of a day. My emotions have been all over the place and with good reason. So, A trainer friend of mine wanted to come out and ride Acacia, no problem. She is a good rider with a relaxed hand and nice seat. OH Everything started out so nice, Acacia was doing so well! She was almost perfect!! Acacia, as I've mentioned, has liked to stop at gates whenever she feels like it to irritate me LOL, so anyway, she was doing that to my friend and she was lightly getting after her with the crop and Acacia, everything was fine until Acacia really slammed on her brakes and my friend got pissed and hauled off and whacked her. Hard. Well naturally Acacia took off cantering down the arena wall and my friend fell off and hurt her back. I had to call the aid cars to come and get her. 100% rider error *sigh*. She'd fractured her back before and as a safety precaution we had to call 911 to make sure she OK. They took away and she's doing fine, she was cracking jokes with me the whole time! We were laughing about the hottie firemen, and she was joking about the fact, she couldn't get back on. She was so embarrased and felt horrible that she fell off and I'm like "HEY! How do you think I feel? I feel terrible it happened!" Her and I always joke to eachother about when we fall off. LMAO! She's a champ!

So later tonight S&D thought it would be a good idea to take the girls, including Acacia down to the creek to relax and cool off. OH I needed that so bad. I hate seeing people fall off, it stresses me out, I'm a worry wart. So we took the horses down there and I hopped on Acacia, first time ever bareback and we were sitting in the creek. I had never seen Acacia so damn relaxed! She for surely likes being outdoors MUCH better than she likes being in the arena. AMEN to that! It was terrific end to a horrible start of a day. I'm grateful my friend ended up being OK, but dang she made Acacia look like a STAR!!!!!!


  1. I was stuck riding in the arena for almost two years because of my failing hips. When you have to ride alone all the time and have nothing but balance and prayers keeping you on top rough desert mountain trails is an unwise decision. Once I got bilaterally resurfaced and recovered enough to hit the trails again last September Joy was so happy and has gotten more and more grumpy going in circles behind a fence. Enter the steers, I can chase back steers for the ropers hours on end and she gets more "into " it each run. Just schooling even with mixing it up as much as I can with barrels, poles, and other toys and even with another rider or two she is so done in 20 minutes.

  2. I have some smart horses who figure out in a hurry that the arena means work hard, so I have a few areas outside that I work them in, then go into the arena for rubdowns and treats. Mixing up the day seems to keep them from getting arena sour. Keeps me from getting arena sour, too!
    Sorry about your friend, is she okay? Man do I dread that type of accident...

  3. Do you worry about the hitting with the mustang? I've been following your blog and you talked about the importance of recognizinghow different training a mustang is and the need for safety- just wondering if maybe the mustang mentality affected Acacia's response to your trainer friend's tactics? I hope she comes out of it okay!

    I know it's lots of hard work- I don't know how you all do it! :)

    Glad to hear Acacia had fun on the trail, that was probably wise to get her out for a good experience after a scary day!

  4. I don't think there is any difference in a mustang vs a horse.

    A mustang is just an unhandled horse. Every spring ranches bring in their unhandled, unhalter broke 2 and 3 year olds to be trained. I have been around mustangs and unhandled ranch horses and I have never seen a difference.

    After the horse is broke, you should be able to reinforce cues appropriately. Some horses have a tendancy to get mad, some can get their feelings hurt easier.

    After reading the post, it sounds like your friend was inappropriate with the horse. She should not have gotten mad at the horse and reinforced out of anger. I'm not saying she shouldn't have done something but what she did do was too much for the horse.

    That is tough to learn, how hard is too hard, how soft is too soft. Every horse is different. I think it's good to start softer and see what can be done. You can always increase, but you can never decrease.

    I know you are trainer, but if she is stopping at all the gates, she is asking to be out of the arena. She is also not 100% paying attention to you. She is not doing it to "get" you or "annoy" you...she is a horse and has no concept of these ideas.

    I suggest addressing the issue, rather than have it be sometime this and sometimes that.

    Don't forget that we are all learning, regardless of what we are being paid to do, regardless of how old we are. Every horse has something to teach us.

    I might sound a little cranky, and I really don't intend to. I like to read your blogs, amongst other training blogs. But here was an accident that could have been avoided and a broken back is no small thing.

    Your post mentioned nothing of reflection and all of the accidents I have seen or been in, make me ponder them.

    I agree with Kestrel on the work peice. She's quiet for you out of the arena because she doesn't do any work there. She's comfortable there. Think of ways to make her comfortable with her work and she won't keep looking for a way out.

    I usually MMOB, but it is a public site so posting is a lot like asking.

  5. ETTGD~ You make excellent points and it's so true. That's one thing I've learned about this experience, is that I DID and HAVE treated Acacia different than I would a normal training horse. Next time that won't be an issue....