Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wha da ya put in my mouff?

Side note: Life is beginning to settle down. We're on a path now, together, and we've survived as a family. The financial aspect continues to unfold, but the true rock of who we are, our family, has solidified again. I honestly wasn't sure that was how things were going to end up.

Whew. Thanks for hanging in there with us. So now my attention returns to Smokey.

Smokey: This is what my mouth is for. Grain. mmmmmmmmm

Smokey's has had a great deal of time to himself, and while I've come over at least once a week, mostly we'd just do round pen work, because I really didn't have time to do anything else.

I went to the barn Saturday on my own with very little time on my hands, but restored and ready to begin anew.

I just had no idea how anew it was for Smokey.

We did some round pen work at liberty, and went back to saddle up. When I got on him outside the round pen, and he started to gape his mouth and act really odd. So odd that I got off him to see if the bit got under his tongue.


I decided we'd work this out in the round pen as well. We walked over and it looked like his mouth was just fine with the bit in there.


We all know what comes next. I walked him over to the round pen and mounted. He was a mess.

Smokey: Wha da ya put in my mouff?

(He walks around like a clown with vertigo)

Me (pulling gently on one side, then the other.): Smokey. It's the bit. You know, that thing we use all the time.

Smokey: AAAAAhhhh Wha? Wha ya puwwin on my mouff? AAAAHHH!

Me (eyes rolling): Okay, let's walk in a circle. (cue for hindquarters yield with my leg, tiny cue on reins)

Smokey: Are ya crazy? I canna do da! Dere's sumthin in my mouff!

Me (sighing): You're doing it. Don't worry. You'll figure it out.

Smokey: AAAAAhhhh!

It took about 15 minutes before the lightbulb went off in his head.

Smokey: You want me to turn? Fine.

Me: That's the idea.

Smokey: I'm just a free spirit, ya know?

Me: Really? Then how come you're always at the gate, wanting me to get you out?

Smokey: I just do that to make you feel important.

Me: What a guy.

Smokey: Glad we got that settled. Oh, look! The Gate! Let's leave.

Me (cue): I don't think so.

We did several exercises to try to reduce his anxiety about the whole bit thing, and slowly but surely we managed to get it back together. We worked on head position and giving softly. We backed 10 steps. We finished with a few "trot to the pole" bits and called it a day, keeping it short.

I'm not sure I understand what that was about, other than the time off doesn't do him good, especially at this point in his development. Hopefully I can get more rides in now that things are settling in and I feel better about life in general.

I'm looking forward to stopping my lurking and coming over to your place to visit more often!


Dan and Betty said...

I'm glad things are settling down for you and will continue to do so. We haven't ridden our horses since before Christmas because of my surgery in late December. We've been working with them on the ground this week almost every day and that has gone well. Next week, we'll saddle up and ride them in our back.

It's worth the time to reconnect and re-establish communication.


Rising Rainbow said...

I'm relieved to hear that your life has settled down enough that you're feeling more hopeful. That's always good.

Horses, you just never know where you'll find them after time horse. They can loose their brains sometimes and others act like it was only yesterday. The plus side is you have something to focus on that is not life altering. Sometimes that's a good thing too.

Glad you're back!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I'm hoping it was just that he forgot the cues from time off, but sometimes when a horse behaves differently with a bit in his mouth it is because he's developing points or some other dental problem. I know you don't want to hear that when you've got financial problems. If he's had a teeth float recently, you can probably ignore that theory.

Leah Fry said...

Glad to hear things are settling down for you.

Don't you love it when they act like everything is completely new to them — clean slates every darn day.

Jeni said...

Yup the whole horsey version of "What the hell ?!?!" LOL! I have that to look forward to here as well as I don't ride in the winter, icy snow isn't fun.

Achieve1dream said...

I'm new so don't know anything about Smokey, but the dialog was hilarious. :) I'm glad he figured it out eventually and that you got to get out there and ride. I miss it so much.

Allenspark Lodge said...

Just keep giving Smokey lots of hugs and you will find it much easier to handle the other stuff, too. Horses are so great for that. Good to have you back.

How old is Smokey? Maybe he has some teeth coming in that now touch the bit and startle him. Can you ride him in just a halter? Try it in the round pen. Develops a lot of trust.

Shirley said...

If you can't rule out dental problems, try riding in a bosal, or a bitless bridle, if you can borrow one for a while and see how he goes. Loved the dialogue; it reminds me of my conversation with Beamer today.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Glad to hear things are working out for you and your family.

Smokey is young and I'm sure within a few rides he'll start to remember more of the things you both worked on. Hope this is the start of some consistent riding and fun for you both.

cheyenne jones said...

Great post! Loved the dialogue!

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Smokey has an awesome sense of humor. ;-)

Bugs was really 'mouthy' when I started bitting him again last week. Lots of chewing, stretching his neck out and gaping his mouth. He's not a young horse, but he is green and just had to figure out how to hold a bit again. Smokey is much farther along in his training than Bugs, but he's a youngster yet...sometimes they just have to figure it out all over again.

Glad to hear things are settling down on the home front. What you guys are going through definitely destroys a lot of families. So glad to hear you all have pulled together.

Wolfie said...

Hello! Very pleased to hear that things are starting to settle down for you. I am sure Smokey will love having you back in his normal routine, in spite of having to have something in his mouth. :-)

Jan said...

Breathe, The Smokey dialogue is so funny! I don't know much about young horses but I guess they can forget what they've learned until they review it again. I'm glad things are better for you in general, also. Always look forward to your posts!

Funder said...

So glad to hear things are improving! I second NuzzMuzz; I'd consider his teeth. How old is he? Could he be getting wolf teeth? You can check for those without a vet call, at least!