Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Do horses get ADD???

Ok, so I wrote about my experience at the AFatGirlAFatHorse forums, but I'll re-post it here:

Well, the other night, Altivo was all saddled up, my teacher checked the saddle to be sure I'd cinched him up properly, and we started my lesson- all went normally, until she put him on the lunge line to trot him, so that I could work on my seat and balance.

All of a sudden, while he was trotting, he stumbled in the sand arena, and fell down on his front end, and I got lurched forward. My instructor quickly got him up, and I had put my hand out forward to stop myself from tumbling over him, and ended up gripping with my legs, holding onto the saddle horn with one hand and pushing against his neck with the other.

As soon as he got up, I dismounted so that she could lunge him and check him for any issues (there were none), and she chalked it up to his being out of shape, and I hopped back on. She trotted him with me up on him without incident after that.

Holy crud, that was scary!!! I was scared, but at the same time, dang proud of myself that I managed to stay on. It happened so fast that I have a hard time replaying it in my mind, and I know a fall is bound to happen eventually, but never having had one, it's unsettling to be reminded about it.

Ok, so, my amazingly awesome teacher and I talked about what could potentially be wrong....and I made a vet appointment. We still used him for my lessons, and I still rode him, but we only asked him to walk, no more than that.

 Then, a couple days later, the vet showed up, and she spent almost 2 hours with him. She had me trot him in various directions, she did flexion tests, where she held a foot in a specific way and then had me take off trotting with him, then she touched all of his legs, walking him up hills and over curbs, and then there were 10 essay questions. Ok, so I made that last one up.

But she really looked him over, and figured out.....

He's lazy, bored, and has a short attention span.

Really? Well, as far as anyone can tell, yes. That, and he's out of shape, which could be a small part of it.
Unless he gets worse or this becomes a more prominent issue, then that's the diagnosis at the moment.

So I'm continuing to ride him, and we've noticed that he trips less and pays more attention when he's outside....I suppose I'd get bored turning in circles in an arena all day, but I will still continue to monitor his progress.

So BGG got curious....What is Giant Inattentive Horse like bareback??

I'll tell you...but first, I will tell you that as of last night, I had no clue. Let's rewind to yesterday, shall we??

I went to the barn alone yesterday. When I arrived, I realized, no one else was in the barn either. I'm pretty self sufficient nowadays, what with a very patient horse and all. So I tacked him up, and we went for a short walk around the property. He did well, though he tried to eat some yummy looking grass a couple of times...if only I'd thought to bring Mr. Spanker with me!!! I managed to yank him away with a sharp kick, and we finished our ride.
Then, I thought, I shall get on him bareback!! I removed saddle, saddle pad, breast collar, and put them away. I walked him out to the arena with his bridle, and I parked him next to the tallest mounting block there.
I took a handful of mane along with the reins, and looked at his huge back. I swung my leg up, and....

Stood there.
With one foot on the mounting block. One on the horse.
The horse stood there, calmly, waiting for the half mounted idiot on his back to either get on or fall off. It was surreal, how quietly he stood.

I hopped with my left foot. Nothing.
I used my right foot to try to heave myself over the rest of the way. Nothing.
I grabbed at mane and pulled at air. Nothing.

Then, something.
Altivo took one step backwards. One. With that one step, he dragged my foot off the mounting block and I was hanging on to his neck, in a sort of weird performance art-type pose. I'll call it, "Girl, unfinished".
I slid down the rest of the way, thanked Altivo for being as quiet as he was, and put him away for the night.

Now, tonight, I asked told BigGreenHusband that he was coming with me to be a stepstool. I bridled him, led him to the arena, and grabbed the tallest mounting block. I swung my leg over, and BigGreenHusband shoved my butt up, and poof!!

I was on my horse, without saddle or stirrups!!! He was comfortable, and wide like a recliner. His skin didn't shift alot, so I didn't feel like I was going to slide to either side easily. I had to grab on to his mane to steady myself about 3 or 4 times, usually when he was turning, but for the most part, I felt balanced and solid.
Granted, we only walked, since I'm not solid at a trot yet in a saddle, let alone bareback, so walking was as fast as we went.
AND....since this was the first time I'd ever been on him bareback, we stayed in the boring ole arena, because even though I wear a helmet, I didn't want my first fall off a bareback horse to be too ouchy. (ok, so I didn't fall off, but I like to be prepared...)

Photos or it didn't happen, right?

There me are!!!

It felt so free, to just hop on and go....but it seems to me until I have a ton more experience under my belt, in order to work on my posture and seat, I need to use my saddle more than not....but maybe a treeless saddle will be in my future???


Weaseldancr said...

Congratulations. I haven't been able to ride my g
irl bareback for more than a few steps. She's a breeding stock paint with no withers. I love reading your blog. It's wonderful reading about another green rider. Keep up the good work.

Carol said...

I love your writing - it's very interesting.
We have a draft cross who is very comfortable to ride bareback,and i find it helps my seat. We (my husband and I) bring a step ladder into the riding ring to mount from when riding bareback :)
If I'm going for a trail ride I take her into the yard and stand on the picnic table - what ever works!
You have a very pretty horse. I'll look forward to reading about your progress.

BigGreenGirl said...

Thank you both so so much for your kind words!! I washed the big lug today, so I'll post pictures soon.

Anonymous said...

I found that riding my horse bareback boosted my confidence. I have actually dared to lope a couple of times. For a very, very short time/distance of course. But I can say I have!