Yesterday I got an official new project horse that is going to put me through the ringer; I can tell already. I know it will be a long and interesting haul, so I decided to keep track of each day with a sort of “diary” entry. I don’t expect anyone to actually read this.
For the sake of slight anonymity, because the horse is known in certain professional circles, I will be calling him by my affectionate pet name “Sulley” (Sounds like “S-oo-ly not “sully”). Sulley is a Royal Dutch WB, 13yrs, and was shown competitively in the jumpers up to Level 6. He came to us about 2 years ago, but hasn’t been ridden for about a year and a half (not due to injury, mostly due to everyone being terrified of him or not having the time to work with him). This is Sulley and my summer project adventure.
I began getting Sulley back in work yesterday, May 8th. I put him in one of my (personal) bridles with a waterford bit. Obviously because he has been out of work for so long, we only walked and trotted. Immediately when getting on, Sulley shakes his head repeatedly. And I don’t mean a side to side, “I’m fresh” headshake. Imagine him slapping his lips together really fast and repeatedly the entire time you’re riding him. I realized this “lip smacking” was a mechanism to rip the reins from my hands. While I am unsure as to what type of bit he was ridden in before he came, it is obvious he dislikes bits in general. So to be fair and to experiment, I acquired a hackamore to use on him instead.
Day two (really today) of Sulley’s back to work program was interesting to say the least. To be clear, Sulley has a lot of attitude and is used to getting his way and not having to work. The hackamore was a dream to ride him in. His lip smaking was useless and he actually stopped doing it after he realized he could no longer rip the reins from my hands when doing so. We actually had a pleasant trot around the ring. For a moment I was proud of my little Sulley. But, Sulley’s auwful and rank demon within him raised his ugly head quickly after that. We had done enough trotting for the day, seeing as he is completely unfit, and were “attempting” to calmly walk around the ring to cool off. Well, Sulley decided that he didn’t want to walk around the ring and that he needed to be done and go back to his stall. So he started bouncing around. As a side note he does have a nasty reputation for going up on people (and by going up I mean rearing). But I was determined to simply and nicely ask him to go forward and simply walk around the ring once without bouncing around. Just when I was about to stop and get off, Sulley decided that it was 100% time to be done so he proceeded to try and flip himself over (by rearing of course), his efforts were thwarted, however when I quickly pulled his head into the judges box on the rail, which we had thankfully and conveniently been right next to. Angered by the fact that he couldn’t rear up, Sulley proceeded to crouch down low and run backwards into the center of the ring. I call this little move of his “crabwalking”, it’s literally the most awkward thing I’ve ever felt. So. Day 2=almost a success…but possibly more of a disaster.
I have a feeling that the goal for the next few weeks will be to stay on.
Posted on Thursday, 10 May
Tagged as: Sulley Diary Days 1 and 2 horses headache project pony i might die