Bandit, Cowboy & bsms...muddling through together - Page 189 - The Horse Forum
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post #1881 of 1969 Old 05-27-2019, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
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^^ Speaking of which, just read this:

"Abandon all romantic thoughts about horses and think of horse manure. It was a problem that was growing as the large cities grew even larger. Toward the end of the 19th century, the waste product of horse digestion covered the city streets in thick layers. For the city councils, it was a headache for which there was no soothing pill. Each day in Paris, 90,000 horses needed to be fed and their waste disposed of somehow...In New York, about 15,000 carcasses were removed every year from the streets."

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #1882 of 1969 Old 05-28-2019, 09:05 AM
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It's really excellent hanging out with other readers. So much interesting information comes our way... plus of course people write so well... Thanks, @bsms and everyone else here!

I was thinking about the differences in metabolism, eating etc raised here today as I was doing my outdoors jobs. I cast my mind back to the semester I was doing Biochemisty as an undergraduate - one of the most complex and information-dense courses I ever did, and a real eye-opener in so many ways... (I nearly went mad though with all the posters of metabolic pathways I had to make up and put all over the walls and memorise for the exams... ...but it did look quite nerdy and decorative... the most difficult pathway was placed on the inside door of the toilet, since that was a room frequented several times a day, and where one could multitask with going over the reactions...)

Two things really struck me that semester:

1. The plethora of pathways available to deal with different substrates, and how energy could be extracted from carbohydrate, protein and fat, etc, and one thing could frequently be made from another thing in more abundant supply (not always though, which is why we have essential fatty acids, essential amino acids etc - and interestingly, these usually differ depending on species), and...

2. Breakdown of toxic substances, and the load it puts on the rest of the metabolism - and yet, fellow students were willingly intoxicating themselves under the table several times a week... sort of seemed to me that they were more concerned what went in their car's petrol tank, than what they put in themselves...

Anyway, I'm not surprised that a range of different things work for different people, with nutrition / eating patterns etc - we can't all be optimised for the same pathways; we're a diverse lot...

SueC is time travelling.
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post #1883 of 1969 Old 06-05-2019, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
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Frustrating ride / Rant:

Had an unusual ride today. Planned to do 3 minutes in the arena with Bandit exploring his hoof boots, then take him on a SHORT ride solo on the trail. Short because my wife was leaving soon for a medical appointment and she (and I!) doesn't entirely approve of me riding solo when no one is around to look for me or notice things if I don't come back.

Just after mounting, Trooper went BONKERS. Running around, squealing, jumping, kicking. Looked. Saw two people riding on the road about 5-600 yards away. Bandit didn't notice them or care about Trooper. The people turned up our street. THEN Bandit noticed them. He became very tense.

Why? In 11 years of riding, I've seen another horse being ridden TWO TIMES. The previous time, I still had Mia. Nothing scared Mia as much as a strange horse, but she had slowly become able to handle seeing another horse in a corral. I was quite proud of her when she stood her ground and didn't run away from a strange gelding. Stressed her, but she didn't try to run.

Four years ago, I swapped Mia for Bandit. Today was the first time since Bandit arrived that he had seen a strange horse being ridden. He didn't panic, but he tensed up tight inside. We got a little dressagey, so to speak. Yes, I've ridden a collected horse. I've never ASKED a horse to collect, but I've ridden them at times!

The two horses and riders paused on the road near me - I asked them to - and I coaxed Bandit to approach. He was NOT happy, but he did. Snorting & blowing and ready to fight. They asked me if I wanted to ride up the street with them and I took a pass. Both of their horses were bored with meeting Bandit.

The riders suggested I go to a clinic being held in the city soon on how to work with a mustang. After all, I obviously don't know how to ride a mustang or work with one if Bandit was so unhappy and tense about being near strange horses! The riders were being nice. I want to emphasize their intentions were pure.

But it was also very frustrating. According to his previous owner, when Bandit was loose on the reservation with a free-roaming herd, he didn't mix with the other horses. Bandit was always off to one side. When he came here, it took about 6 months to get him to mix peacefully with the other two - 6 months where he lived in his own corral just feet away from the others. And he has now gone 4 years without seeing another horse loose in the open (other than Cowboy and Trooper).

Mia obviously believed in her heart that other horses wanted to attack her. I am told that has changed now that she has experienced life in a free-roaming herd.

Bandit? I don't know what has happened before, but he tenses mightily just being ridden within 100 yards of corralled horses. I was proud he accepted my guidance to approach the strange horses. I wasn't sure he would. The Horse Who Thinks ALWAYS has his own thoughts. I was thrilled he would accept my "advice" to approach what obviously deeply worried him. Heck, Trooper totally freaked out just SEEING the strange horses within 500 yards - and he was in his corral!

They offered to let me ride with them, but Bandit would have been an emotional mess so I declined. They recommended the clinic again and left. As they left, Bandit got the Twisty-Turnies. He did NOT want his tail toward the strangers. So I rode him out onto the road and let him watch them riding away, then rode him back. In our little arena he offered a few laps of cantering followed by a few more of trotting, then blew hard and accepted he had survived the encounter.

But I also felt like a total failure!


I'm genuinely proud of Bandit for listening to me as well as he did. He was very uncomfortable but did as I asked. OK, we briefly did a few twists and turns in a "collected" sort of way, but look at the bright side - he didn't buck! He obviously felt a need for speed, but he didn't canter until I asked him! He felt threatened, but he approached when asked.

Still, I apparently don't know much, in spite of 4 years with Bandit and 7 years before that with Mia. I'm sure I don't look like much of a rider, too...but I've ridden more severe bolts than most need to in their lives, and ridden a ton of violent spins, and the only time I've come off was when I was already trying to get off.

But...I need to go to a clinic to learn to ride a mustang. It helps me understand why my son might get frustrated when given advice on diet. We can mean well and still come across as putting someone else down. Not how the other riders meant it, I'm sure. But how I felt.

On the bright side, my new cowboy boots were great:



Ariat Men's Sport Outfitter Western Cowboy Boot

Amazon had them on sale for $100 and I grabbed a pair. The heel is 1.75 inches - a nice big heel - and is slanted in just enough to feel totally comfortable when walking. My heel hits at the same leg angle when I walk barefoot or in these boots. Wide toe feels good too. Low shaft. Easy on/off. The most comfortable walking boots I own. Yet they also have a great big heel. Nice to have when one uses the "home" position!

I'd buy a second pair but the price had gone back to $145. Oh well!

PS: Did I mention I was proud of Bandit? OK...well, it is worth repeating. He was giving me what he had to give. I thought he was wonderful today.

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"

Last edited by bsms; 06-05-2019 at 03:01 PM.
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post #1884 of 1969 Old 06-05-2019, 03:16 PM
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In my book, any time you and your horse face a fear together, it's a good ride. Feedback from the peanut gallery be dam*ed!
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post #1885 of 1969 Old 06-05-2019, 06:24 PM
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Most certainly NOT a failure, you rode your horse through the whole procedure and he listened to you. no one knows your horse as well as you do and you did what you thought he could handle so that was good. Not everything has to be resolved immediately, it's ok to take steps, altho' I know you don't have much opportunity to meet other horses as that would help Bandit get used to it. \I think you handled things well and don't forget you had a time schedule which hampers situations like this.


Today I felt like a real wimp. Our weather predictions were for severe thunderstorms today so I got over early hoping to beat them. I am riding a nice gelding that we have had for just a few days. He was very buddy sour the first couple of days but we have worked through that. I was going to take him out around the farm today but I didn't want to get caught far from the barn if it suddenly turned into a bad storm so I went out to the sand area to do some schooling, the wind came up after a bit and it started to rain.
Now I never quite just for a little rain but I'm thinking, weather predictions, new horse don't know how he will handle bad weather and I'm not as young as I once was so when it rained harder I decided to head for the barn, I did ride around a bit in the rain back at the barn so he didn't think we had to run for cover because of a few drops of rain. It turned out not to be a bad storm, we did get wet but that's all, and I told Sis that if I hadn't seen the weather report I would never have stopped when I did.

Anyway I think you handled your situation wisely, maybe if they come back sometime you can go out with them for a short time.
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post #1886 of 1969 Old 06-05-2019, 10:56 PM
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I think you did an awesome job in handling your horse! I often think did I fail the horse? What could I have done to make the situation better? I think we all have those questions... and it's good we do.

The Boots are AWESOME!!!
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Last edited by lb27312; 06-05-2019 at 11:15 PM.
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post #1887 of 1969 Old 06-05-2019, 11:24 PM
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Horses are creatures that enjoy predictability. Anything unpredictable is dangerous. For a horse to be upset when meeting strange horses really has nothing to do with the rider, the training, or anything else. There can be many different reasons for it.

I don't know if you asked for info about the other riders' horses, but one of them could have been a stallion, or a mare in heat. Either of those will cause unusually strong reactions in other horses. I'd say probably the reactions of your horses were just from lack of practice in that particular area, but there might have been other factors.

Halla was around many strange horses and accepted most of them just fine. Occasionally, we'd go with a group and there would be one horse that would just annoy her and she would spend her time chomping her teeth, pinning her ears, and swishing her tail in their direction.
Amore is fine around strange horses, but if we were ever around one that was hormonal, it was chaos. Hero so far is often worked up when around other horses, and it seems related to insecurity about Nala and their herd status. Without Nala, he tends to be a lot better. So Bandit might even have felt protective of Trooper, if that is part of his job, especially if Trooper seemed upset.

I'm not sure we always read all the nuances of a horse's body language. For instance, one of the two horses riding may have been sending strong signals to your horse that said "I will kill you if you approach my friend." Last night I walked my two horses by Badger, a horse that protects his field so fiercely that no other horses can go inside of it with him. Normally Hero goes by with just a little posturing, but since Amore was there he was a lot more aggressive toward Badger with his body language (from outside the fence) and stood on his hind legs and squealed at him. These are just middle-aged geldings and an elderly mare. So there can be a lot of normal drama going on in that horse world.

I wouldn't let well-meaning people who don't know anything about the situation make you feel like a failure.
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post #1888 of 1969 Old 06-06-2019, 09:19 AM
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Horses forget. Sometimes amazingly fast.

The ottb mare I work with, its like her memory is wiped every time she is off riding for any length of time. She has a wonky front leg, and I have 'restarted ' her about five times now. We started trotting over xrails this week. I have to pet and praise her for doing so, even though I feel like an idiot. She acts like she's never seen one before, yet we've done it a bajillion times...in the past...I have to conclude that in her mind, it really is new, and she is being brave for me.
The amount of memory wipe is proportional to the amount of time off...
She is an extreme case, I think...

The hafliger kid had about four months off over the winter, but was at 90 percent after one short ride. It shocked me! The mare forgets after two weeks...grr, I hate when she gets a hoof crack and I have to wait to resume riding...

I'm really surprised you expect your horses to be calmer about strange horses when it is such a rare event!
You are a great horseperson for giving them the guidance they need!

I only conclude that their fears are real, to them, no matter if we feel it's silly.
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post #1889 of 1969 Old 06-07-2019, 08:47 PM
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Just back-seat drivers, @bsms !

Also: You're riding an Arabian, not a plodder - and they are very emotional, expressive, thinking, let's-go creatures.

It's funny how people who ride plodders like to talk about horsemanship, and sometimes imagine their skills are superior because their (naturally semi-comatose) horses are "behaving"...

And / or they will say that your horse is "mad" or that it's untrained or that it doesn't "respect" you and you should drive it around in circles in a yard a lot so it knows who's boss.

Or that you need to go to a clinic so you can improve your skills...

All these people are reading from the same script, and playing the same broken records, and you won't hear any of that from a real horseperson who rides animated, athletic, thinking horses, and who understands horses. They'll just think, "Oh, this horse is apprehensive about strange horses, and probably doesn't meet strangers very often." And offer you an opportunity for your horse to hang with / ride with their horse(s) there and then (which your lot did, to give them credit).

When I was doing Sunsmart's saddle training, when he was agisted in Albany in 2009, he had a bee in his bonnet about cows (AKA dangerous horse-eating space aliens). He'd stop and have stalk-eyes every time he spied one in the landscape - and there were lots of cows tucked away in this 5-acre hobby farm area, usually emerging from behind bushes etc! One time, I was riding him a little further afield, near a real farm with a whole herd of Angus, about 80 head. said Sunsmart! Snort, paw, eyes on stalks, running backwards etc. I stayed calm and kept facing him in the same direction, chatting to him about the cows. "Yes, these are cows. Mooooo! I see them too. Take your time, but don't run away. Look! They're not coming to eat you." (It's harder to convince a horse of this when the cattle are running up to the fence in curiosity! )

It was just patience with these situations, and repeat exposure, and remaining cheerful and calm, and communicating with the horse until it overcame its apprehensions and went past whatever monster it was worried about - then lots of praise, "Oh you're so clever, you braved the carnivorous aliens from outer space!"

There would have been lots of people riding horses who were educated at time of purchase and had grown up with cattle etc, who would have imagined they could offer me advice on how to handle the situation. Sometimes I met such people. They've never in their life saddle trained their own horse from scratch, or worked with "hot" horse breeds, or raced a horse flat-out, or done an endurance ride, or anything like that. They ride semi-comatose, pre-educated horses and think they know how all horses and riders should be. Don't let it worry you!

My best horse buddy in Albany, by the way, I met this way, in this exact situation. She was riding down the road my track was coming up to, and observing my horse's behaviour near the herd of cattle. I braced myself - here we go! Here comes the advice! And instead, she waited at the road until I could convince Sunsmart to walk on (which was made easier by the fact she was there on a horse - after all, here was another horse, calm in the face of the space aliens!), and then said, "Hello! Is he new to cattle? Are you training him up?" and we got chatting. She was on Rikki-Tikki, a magnificent OTTB whose post-track training she'd also done herself - he had been considered a "mad horse" but once they got to know each other, they became a wonderful team.

So, we rode down the road together, and she said, "Where are you agisted? Mind if I ride along? I don't often ride in company." And when we got back to our paddock, we exchanged numbers and made plans to do trails together - my new friend said, "It's so nice to meet a horse and rider who don't just plod. Most people around here call me a "hoon" because my horse trots, canters and - OMG - gallops on a regular basis. Looks like you and I ride the same sort of pace - this is going to be excellent!"

And it was!







Cows became "old hat" many moons ago...
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post #1890 of 1969 Old 06-07-2019, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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"Oh you're so clever, you braved the carnivorous aliens from outer space!" - @SueC

Yep! Gotta remember that one! And its corollary: "Did you see how the carnivorous aliens from outer space left the area when they saw you? Yes sirree! They KNEW they were no match for us!"

Worked on "Solo in the desert while wearing the large size hoof boots" today. Just wandered around in about a 300 yard long section of desert he knows well, until he blew boogers out of his brain and we could relax our way home. Plan to repeat, and repeat, and repeat until he accepts the idea that we go out alone together. AND RETURN ALIVE.

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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