Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Smokey, Spooks, and Riding Cold Backed

Me and Smokey, pre-spook.

Yesterday I went to the barn to ride on Smokey again. While I had committed to buying him, I hadn't put money down, hadn't signed anything.

So I decided I would do another little test.

I got on him cold backed. No lunging. No prep work. Just get on and go.

He stood stock still for saddling.


He lead quietly.


He took the bit without a fuss.


He moved a little when I went to mount, I moved him around quickly. Then he stood still for mounting.

Close enough.

We rode just up and down the road, then over to the round pen. Behind us, Cibolo spooked at a sparrow. Smokey ignored it.


We went in the open gate in the round pen and left it open.

A huge bird suddenly took off behind a tree. I didn't see it, but the folks with me and Smokey sure did.

He spooked! He was running, taking off, having a fit! I could barely hold on! I thought back to all the times I'd been through this...

Just kidding. That one was for YOU, Trail Rider.

So actually, the huge bird took off suddenly, Smokey saw it and spooked slightly, shifting to the right. Then was quickly back to work.

Check. I can handle that.

We worked on softening his backing. And me understanding his cues. Getting softer and softer until we were backing with weight and a slight pressure in stirrups and reins.


Then I dismounted and he was stock still for that.


We hand walked. He got distracted for a moment, I backed him two steps. He didn't take his eyes off me after that.


We put a funny hat on his head. He looked perplexed but cooperated. He watched Mireya do a funny dance.


I'll be writing one today. A check, I mean. :)

All teasing aside, I do plan on doing one thing different this time. I'm going to be the same in the saddle as I am on the ground. I am going to keep the rules clear and consistent. To that end, I'm going to train and learn as much about riding as I did about ground work. I'm going to be ready to get pro help as needed, and often. I'm going to ride other horses, and work with a wide variety of trainers. Just like Trail Rider suggested, and has been suggesting for some time, and at times with more vehemence than others.

Because Smokey is just 4. And I want to do right by him.


Beth said...

Wow that sounds like he has a really good mind. That if have the ticket right there. He will get even better with time. And he is such a cutie too!

Jeni said...

Celebration time! Young horses need three things - consistency, lots of miles and an owner who is not afraid to get help when needed!!. Smokey sounds like a great horse yeah for you!

allhorsestuff said...

Kinda definately~EXCITED FOR YOU& SMOKEY!
KK :-))

Miles On Miles said...

Well, Congratulations!!! He is adorable and sounds like you two are establishing a great foundation. More pictures of your beautiful new boy please:)

Anonymous said...

I like his reactions - or lack thereof! Good stuff, and with TR to advise, I don't think you'll go wrong.

Leah Fry said...

That's great! Congratulations to you and Smokey.

John and Regina Zdravich said...

He sure sounds like a winner -- great behavior for 4 years old! Looks like you got a good one...looking forward to hearing more about him.

Trailrider said...

Lol! You got me! I was already saying "I knew it!"

I pray it all works out. And it probably will if you stick to your plan.


Susan said...

That's so cool that you're getting more confidence. As a general rule it may be that a younger horse may not be right, but there are exceptions. I'm glad you decided to buy Smokey.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Congratulations! It sounds like you are really doing your homework with him. He looks and sounds really nice.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

What a good boy, especially for a youngin'. After riding several lesson horses and a couple horses in my mentor's trail string, I realized that I didn't want a horse that needed to be worked every time before I rode. Sometimes you don't have much time and it's just nice to be able to get on and ride.
I can't ride 3 times a week either. I'm lucky if I can find the time to ride once a week. So a horse with a good, calm demeanor, no silly goofiness and spookiness was so important to me.

With Apache, I usually try to do a few minutes of 'moving her feet' before I mount, just to see how respectful and receptive she is while showing her that I'm the leader, but I don't have a round pen and she seriously thinks I've flown the coop if I ask her to run in circles on a lunge rope. lol!

She's not the type of horse that has to get the bucks and farts, spit and vinegar our anyway. But it's also a relief to be able to get on a horse that doesn't spend the first 10 minutes trying to test you to see if you're really in command.

Sounds like Smokey might be a lot like this, too. I sure hope so. You'll have a lot of fun with him. It would be interesting to see how he does in a group trail ride or endurance ride before you paid fro him, though.

If you remember, I didn't pay for Apache until I had taken her out on a group trail ride first. I didn't do that with Baby Doll and regretted it, because she was really not happy traveling in groups.....or even leaving the arena or round pen, for that matter. lol!

Anyway, I'm excited for you and really hoping this horse works out well for you...and for him.


I noticed the way you tie your halter and thought I'd share a photo/video tutorial on the correct way to tie a rope halter. I made the same mistake and it was brought to my attention by Shirley over at Ride a Good Horse that the incorrect way can be dangerous.


Paint Girl said...

Congrats!! I am so excited for you!! Can't wait to hear more about Smokey!

morningbrayfarm said...

Congratulations! Woot-woot!

Wolfie said...

Holy crap! I don't check my blogs for a day and look what happens. You are buying Smokey??? That was quick!

Melanie said...

Haha...that little jab was too funny!!! Smokey sounds like a great horse, because you should be able to get on a horse without working them on the ground first...especially if they are turned out vs. being stalled.

Definitely keep taking lessons and riding other horses, as the knowledge and confidence you will gain in the saddle are priceless. : )

But most importantly??? Have fun!!!!

ms martyr said...

I had a feeling you and he had a connection when you kept on riding him. He should only improve with age and the right training. I hope he'll turn out to be "the one." Personally, I prefer geldings for their lack of mareishness. But take my opinion for what it's worth - nothing.

One Red Horse said...

Standing Ovation. I am so happy for you. Happy for Smokey (who is stunning). Looking forward to reading about your further adventures.