Taking a chance with Chance
He is a Tennessee Walking Horse who the renaissance festival rescued from a lady who was going to send him to the meat market. I'm not entirely sure what possessed them to buy him, but, he just came there one day.
He was SO terrified of everything. We had him isolated for a while, but he only destroyed the hot wire fencing that was set up. So once he was checked out and stuff, he was pastured with everyone else. Shooter couldn't stand him! Tana tolerated him because well, she's boy crazy. Even to this day you could tell that Shooter isn't quite so impressed with him.
Anywho. He was super shy, unsure and spooky as all hell. When we got him we found out that he had a scar and a proud fleshed ankle with a gimp to match. He was a little underfed, too. His food manners were awful! Very impatient and a little food crazy, like he had been starved a bit before.
Once it was assessed that he wasn't in pain, my instructor took him for a ride. One thing was for sure: this boy loved to run!
His balance and coordination wasn't the best, so he was to run on the straight aways and trotted the rounded ends. That boy is super fast. As we worked him a little, he became more and more "go" and a little less "relaxed". So we started working him on the slow.
Since getting him, he wasn't worked very often, but I hope to change that and document his progress. I will start with the last day I worked him.
I helped the male festival owner (now referred to as mfo) put in a bale of hay with the tractor. The boys (shooter and chance) were all excited because zomg, there's a giant horse eating monster delivering us hay!
It was my job to try and keep them from the gate. Stupid me didn't think to shut it, as I thought this would be a quick thing. Nope! Chance had nothing to do with the tractor and wisened up to try and slip past. He was more food bound than scared, I think, plus wanted a chance to be naughty. So he slipped past, and I ran to get a lead and halter. Tried catching him, but nope! He was enjoying his little frolic in the snow, getting everyone riled up, munching on grass. Every time I went to catch him he froliced off farther down the road, teasing the ladies.
Poor Tana got too close to the hot wire and got shocked. She squealed and bucked and kicked like she was cursing up a horsey storm. Poor girl! So the mfo decided to help once the tractor was settled. He got Chance on one end, and I maneuvered out of his way so he wouldn't run me over. But eventually, he decided play time was over and it was okay to be caught without hassle. Bugger!
He tied nicely, groomed nicely. A big change from when we just had someone hold him and do stuff. He would dance around, and if you disciplined him, he would paw. Don't let him paw? He'd head butt you.
Still moves his butt when you bring the saddle out, but stands okay when saddled. He bridled for me like a champ! Usually he plays around, messing with me. He likes to lower his head, then once I get my arm between his ears and about to put the bit in, he would yank it up. Not this time! He lowered politely and took it without a fuss.
We went to the out door arena. The gate needs to be re welded, so it sits on the ground. The gate being dragged on the ground was sooo spooky, he kind of splayed out a little. So I sent him back and forth in the opening, and he got the hang of it : ) at first when he went through he had this look of: oh my god, what is this beneath my feet? What did I just do!?
So we did some light ground work, testing out his go/stop buttons. I was really impressed with it. He jogged in hand really well and kept in pace with me. His stopps aren't too clean, but they are passable and I'm sure we can always improve!
We tried to mount, which was a pain. He got super frustrating, and had nothing to do with the step stool! Spooked as I tried bringing it over and slipped from my hand. He went over to the gate (of course) and as I was about to nab him, he jumped it! The thought process was like so: hm... I'm taller than this thing, my buddies are past here... I wonder what happens if I...- FREEDOM!
Thankfully he wasn't too far again, went back to his buddies to a clear patch of grass. Caught him just fine and went back to frustrating mounting work. As a latch ditch effort, I told him to stand and he did. Major face palm.
So once the stirrup was adjusted, we walked. He was a little anxious, but he calmed right down. We did circle esque type patterns around the poles that were up, going through one, cutting to the other side, going around, and going to the next one further up and repeating. Had naught a problem. Before he'd get really nervous, and excited, wanted to go faster. My instructor thinks he likes weaving and doing pattern work.
So once I felt he was calm, I tried trotting him. He did so good! Chance had a tendency to want to go faster, but for the most part, he didn't go super crazy like he usually does! Not once did he get wound up. I was very happy.
To end on a good note, I tried weaving him through the poles. The poles weren't lined even/ spaced evenly, but even so, Chance listened to my leg and reign and trotted (kinda) through them with an honest attempt.
I set him in the middle of the arena and dismounted. This horse was so calm it was unbelievable. I took him out myself once alone and he was a mess to contain. That time, no problems at all. He had a toe cocked and everything. He made my day.
Of course as we went back things got scary, but he was great. A little sweaty, a little wet, but he was awesome.
Oh. And did I mention? His gimp is near gone completely!
Can't wait to do some more awesome stuff!