SO, this is one of those journal entries that's NOT about Trigger. This is about Supes, our patient old fart. In the picture at the bottom, he's the chestnut on the left, tolerating his person, my son (14 then, almost 16 years old now). Gina is the sorrel mare in the middle, my husband's 5 year old mare, and Nope is on the right with my Daughter Who Doesn't Horse. She's Oop's dam and against my wishes, was sold earlier this year.
Back to Supes. His name wasn't our doing and the name Superman, is ironic. He's not faster than a speeding bullet. He's actually quite lazy and low key. His papered name is Doc's something something Phantom something
, so sometimes I just call him Doc, but usually Supes.
Supes is our teacher. He's 19, almost 20 now. He's lived a life as a roping horse, a 'kids horse' (that's a very misleading term, kid's horse, because that kid was a junior roper and needed a faster roping horse), and now he's teaching some goobs new to riding in their adult life (me mostly) how to ride. Everyone takes one look at him and goes, oooo. I bet that old guy will take off with you!
Uh. No. He doesn't. Because he's laaazzzyyyy. The only time he gets REAL energetic is when you put out a coffee can's worth of sweet feed and the cows see it. Then he gets REAL energetic and goes into Cow Horse Mode. Its high entertainment, to watch him cut the cows off before they get close to the trough, and then guard the trough from all invaders. NO! ALL MINES!
Every great once and a while he just feels like being silly and charging around the pasture for fun, setting down in sudden roper stops and slinging dirt everywhere, like he's in the arena again, but mostly he's lazy.
He's also interesting.
He's a gentleman, and if he feels you losing your seat, you don't have to ask him to slow down. He does it on his own. If he feels you're sitting pretty solid, and thinks you're ready for more than a trot, maybe a slow lope, he will push you just enough to see how you feel about it, and if you panic or start to come out of the seat again - he'll slow back down. Now, I know there's people here horrified... he should do ONLY WHAT YOU TELL HIM TO DO! Well, that'd be okay if we were lucky enough to have lessons, etc.
We aren't. We're learning the redneck way - saddle up, mount up and hope for the best.
Supes has been a blessing to have. He's even tempered, bomb proof, clever enough to give a beginner all the horse they want so that they learn, and spry enough to give an intermediate rider a good time. He's willing... except when he thinks we're going back to the barn. He taught me when we ride and he acts barn soured, we should just ride right on past the barn. He's thrown a few toddler-esque temper tantrums, crow hopped a little, as if saying BUT MOOOMMMMMM.... I DON'T WANNNNAA HAAAAA AAA.... and sulked and moped and pouted when yes, we did do it anyway. He taught me to just be patient and firm, and not let him have his way, and he got a little heel to the sides over it too that day because he was dragging his feet so bad he tripped a couple of times.
He showed me his butt once... and in fairness, I did donkey kick him first and on purpose - in frustration, I donkey-kicked at him like I was another horse ... for trying to bully Trigger off his feed and push me around. He could have whapped me one if he wanted to, but he didn't. He was showing me he could kick back ---- After that I went armed with a long handled floppy plastic leaf rake... which is so floppy it's useless for leaves... but great
as a horse-swatter... he doesn't turn his butt to me any more because he learned he gets swatted by the big scary horse-swatter... So there's another lesson learned.
He's tried to lay down once on a friend of my daughter's. She let him. It was in sloowwwww motttiooonnnnn so she had plenty of time to kick him up and get him moving... but she didn't know what to do so he got away with it. He's never done that to me, and I may be a noob, but I know better than to let him do it - if it works once, he'll do it again.
He's taught me to not let random strangers ride our horses - I can't remember which one of my daughter's friends rode him (a guy), but the two of them did NOT get along and Supes almost ended up hurt if I remember correctly.
I could have used a quirt on everyone involved after that, and in fact, my son was so angry he couldn't talk and was almost in tears. PLEASE STOP letting other people ride my horse mom! So that ended the rounding up buddies to come out and ride, regardless of skill level or ability. Just, no. No more. I learned that sometimes
the people that claim they know what they're doing just THINK they know what they're doing, and can be the hardest people on a horse, especially one that's in his senior years.
He stumbles a lot - some of it is him being lazy and not picking up his feet - his natural gait brings his feet just barely over the ground. Dude, can you be ANY more lazy? Some of it is his age, and on close observation this weekend, we FINALLY saw, in action, what's tripping him up, literally, the most - his own back toes. They keep catching on the heels of his front shoes. We thought that clicking pop was his KNEES! Nope! Knees are fine! Our farrier said he can take care of that easy... so Friday, Supes gets a different shaped hoof trim than he's been getting. We may let him go barefoot for a while - his feet are seriously tough, probably the best feet of any our horses, and we're not riding on real rugged terrain this time of year anyway.
So he's taught me about hooves too.
He's our left brain introvert. So I'm learning what motivates him when he wants to be lazier than the time he was so lazy. He's not perfect, but he's been a wonderful horse to have and to learn with. I hope he has many years left with us - I just found out over the weekend (with mixed emotion... that my daughter who doesn't horse is a mom-to-be
and someone's got to teach that granbaby, someday, how to ride. I hope its Supes).