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!
Unfortunately I won't be able to see Chance until this weekend, so after putting some gas in my tank I wandered off to see some of the local farm and feed stores.
D&B was turned into a Big R, which was kind of disappointing, but at the same time, it looked relatively the same. Except that their inventory spilled out, outside like most Big Rs in the area. I felt strange for not noticing it prior.
So I go in and instantly find some halters/lead ropes. I already have him a nice black rope halter and a halter bridle, so I don't think I should nab another. The little gremlin in my head that yells at me to buy stuff was pretty irked-- and stayed that way relatively the entire window shopping experience.
I saw some nice, mild, swivel shank bits. But on some they just looked too wide for his mouth. However, they had egg butts, which was good. And some strange shanked bit that had copper things in the middle that made it act like a french link-- no nut cracker motion. Will have to check it out again. I was mildly disappointed they had nothing else, but realized it was a predominantly western store, so no luck finding english stuff.
I did come in luck though. I found a synthetic braided roping reigns for ten dollars, like the ones I bought from the store back when it was D&B. But the other one was black and red. Strangely they were cheaper than a similiar pair for 13 dollars.
So after that I checked their leads... No fifteen footers. Darn. Was tempted to think of getting him a lead rope for simply leading and tying so I wouldn't bust up my other one, but its on the back burner.
I was very pleased to see they had the aspirin I like for fifteen dollars and shoes for a relatively low price. I'm thinking I will keep him barefooted, but depending on the snow, I might snow pad him. So far he seems okay barefooted.
Looked at SMB boots. Holy crap they are expensive! 80+ for a pair of boots!
I looked everywhere else horsey and decided to get the ten dollar roping reigns on hold so I can pick them up friday to do some bareback bitless work on Brown horse. For some reason the idea of me riding bareback bitted just really bothers me.
I went to aslin + finch, they had hardly any inventory for horses. I was greatly saddened. They had a couple bits, very few halters. But they had a huuuuuge selection of shoes and pads. It was kind of annoying.
But they had his feed there. I should have double checked their prices to see who I would go to come time I need to start paying for his feed.
So. This weekend I'm going to start grooming him like crazy and just get used to being touched. He's a little grimy, so I wanna see if I can at least attempt to make him look good. His owner, when I talked to her said he was a racehorse? Huh? Can TWHs do that? Might explain why he has so much urge to go.
Also turns out he's not been vetted since we had him (**** it) and he had papers or something stating the last time he was checked, I think. If I understand correctly. And I might not get a vet out here because of the other people who board the two mustangs didn't pay off the vet when theirs needed one, and left the FFO (also known as female festival owner, Chances owner) to pay off the bill that went to collections! A miscommunication error, but still... Getting one out to Chance is going to be a pain now.
When I spoke with FFO, I was relieved that she understood where I was coming from with leaving my stuff at the Tack Shed. I told her I would take it home every weekend so people don't steal or use it. I'm going to take my medical stuff, too. I can just imagine they will just use it up. She said others might think I'm "weird" for it, and they might think me snotty, but its my stuff, my money... If I absolutely have to, I will lock Chances necessities in a box and leave it at her house so its not readily available for people to steal.
When/ if I get the ok to, I can hopefully isolate Chance again and get started on that proud flesh! >D
So today I got a lot of riding in. I got to see Titan, my near 17 hands high thoroughbred lease, and -that- certainly was exciting. We had a couple of spooking fits, one of them with him running off under me and I STUCK IT. Yeaaaah! Yay me. : D As I was telling the FFO, my velcro actually worked! [we have a running joke from when I was younger that I could never sit a spook or a swerve or an anything unless they stuck velcro on my butt]
Aside from that, I felt like I had a really fun practice. It was just four people out of a varying number, but it was great. We finished early, and I really enjoyed it. I got to bareback bitless with my new reigns and canter without clinging to Brown's mane first. But as I was going along, I found out that contrary to belief... His canter is in no way smooth! It was very bumpy and felt kinda weird... but then again, he was wanting to go to Dill so of course he was more geared to turn funky and stuff just to get there.
Dill on the other hand needs a new bit. His head shaking is getting to be intolerable and I just hope his owners actually take care of it, because I'm not buying it for them.
Aside from that on the Chance front, I got a bit more information on his history. Turns out he was a RACE HORSE. Oh my god. This explains so much. Especially the part where he just wants to go whenever you have a crop or ANYTHING in your hand on his back but is totally chill on the ground. Also explains why all he wants to do is "go".
FFO said he was rescued from the track, and changed hands here and there until his previous owner got him, thinking she could do something with him. Apparently not. But jeez! Now I wonder if he's a TWH now. He could be a mix of something. But I know for a fact he is gaited.
On that note, I will take a bunch of pictures of him tomorrow! Like, a ridiculous amount. A bunch of "before" pictures of him pre-grooming as an ego boost to how well I can make him look, and also to see his scar before we do some repairment on it. : D
So excited going to be a very busy day tomorrow.
sounds like you are enjoying the holidays and getting a lot of riding done.
does a walking horse have different 'gaits'?
It is awesome!
I read they have a flat walk and a running walk, and depending on training can canter. I've seen Icelandics (i think that is the breed) on youtube race of sorts... but I am not sure if that is a race. I am actually kind of perplexed about his breed now...
I worked on some lunging with him, but we didn't get very far. I got a nice collected canter out of him (wasn't my gait of choice, he just started that way, but I figured since he's a pain to start lunging, we can fix it later-- Plus it was so pretty!!) until I asked to change direction. Then he became impossible. No matter how much I tried sending him out, he'd strategically move to be in front of me, facing me.
We started out really rough. I wanted to work on lunging in the pasture because I thought that's where we would ride, and ground work there would be best to get him used to the area and knowing that is where we would work. Nope. He reared as soon as I got past the gate and tried ripping the lead rope from my hand, shaking his head. So I got after him and he kept trying to do it. So we kind of had an argument, which led to eventually me getting him to lunge out of sure disciplining. Which, led to him kicking, and more rearing and kicking a bit with his front hoof.
When we calmed down, and I had a moment to breathe (for some reason I don't get scared, I just get really worked up and don't notice it and have to actually remind myself to stop, collect, and rethink) I walked him out a ways and we did some side passing. It was a bit rough, but I got him to side pass both ways a couple steps. I figured that riding or working him in the pasture currently wasn't going to be the safest place, so we walked, calmed down, and went to the list. He stood better for me today because I told him to stand, as that seemed to be his cue, and I was able to get on without any fuss thankfully. I noticed that, as you said, simply going in circles along the perimeter of the arena wasn't going to work, as he just stayed one minded on going "forward" and not relaxing.
So, I took in some advice a lady gave me about getting him thinking. And he relaxed very quickly! We weaved, we flexed (or tried to), I got him to flex on one side but the left he kept going in circles. I will start on the ground for this next time. We also circled around the step stool with his nose pointed inward while I pushed his body out. I got him to side pass both ways, and that was the only time he seemed a little worked up, because he likes going forward, and I don't think he has ever had a lot of work going to the side or backwards, as backing and side passing are his hardest moves.
He stopped really easy as he relaxed, he stopped trying to race forward going the way towards the pasture, except for a couple times, which may have been my fault in leg cueing, and when I dismounted, the snow made me lose balance and I plopped on the ground. he just stood there and looked at me like: "why are you on the ground?" Which made me REALLY happy because any other time he would have taken advantage of it and ran off.
When I was done I set him out to the pasture, he stuck by me, probably because I was rubbing him for being good towards the end, and it wasn't till I told him he could go that he did. So he's making -some- progress, I think... I think, not entirely sure.
I also found out that he was a race horse, and was put into a race horse rescue for a while, which may explain his lack of ground respect. But it really is apparent that he does not respect me on the ground, and so that I don't hurt myself or him, I am going to have to wait till my instructor gets back from visiting his family to discuss a training opportunity so that neither of us gets hurt.
Sorry for the sideways-ness. I don't know how to fix it, but here are some pictures of Chance and his leg. You can't see the scar, as it is underneath that tuff of fur and proud flesh.
He's so dirty... figures that as soon as I let him go after riding, that he went rolling. Indignant brat! I was gonna try and make him clean! > p
Anywho, Chance thought my phone was highly intriguing. And the fact that it was in my hand MUST mean it was a treat, and tried to eat it.
Side view of his scar. As I tried to take a picture, he kept nosing at me like "whatcha doing there with the treat that makes strange clicking noise?"
he's lovely, and horses that colour always come with extra dirt attatched!! having a scar does not prevent you doing all you would like with him.... unless you want to show of course. my friends horse has a couple of scars like that where he got tangled with a gate when he was younger.
we've no snow here but weather is too wet and windy for riding.
Oh yes! When he's freshly washed he looks gorgeous. But of course, he loves to roll. Maybe I can wrestle a bath out of him or even a sponge bath of sorts... He hates the hose.
Oh yes of course! He doesn't seem in pain, but it has split open once. I got word that it may be permanent, the scar tissue that is. He has a gimp to go with it, but its getting better.
Unfortunately... I do not things will work out with Chance. They might, but based on nothing but a "maybe" I am afraid I will have to pull away.
But alas... There is always a horse who needs a home, and maybe one day I will be able to offer one.
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