Finals are finally over and I am officially a senior in college! Where has the time gone?
Since discovering the old jumper photos of my Sulley and his rank behavior earlier this week I’ve adopted a “no mercy” policy when it comes to our training tactic. Every time he decides that he doesn’t want to work and tries to rear up, it only adds more trotting time to his schedule. Further more, since he is trying to rear up on me, when he attempts to do so we trot on a medium circle (with him slightly over bent inwards so he can’t go up on me) until he relinquishes power back to me. I have to say, he’s starting to understand this new policy more and more every day. Yesterday I was actually able to trot him around the entire ring, rather than having to basically trot on a circle the entire time. It’s a big improvement.
Sulley also got beautified, mane pulled, nose clipped, legs clipped, the works. my darling little rearing, chubby, jughead is starting to look and act like a real horse!
Some photos of Sulley doing the Level 5 jumpers back in 2009 that have restored my faith in him. I decided that every time I get horrifically frustrated with him and am about ready to kill him I will look at these pictures and remember that this is what he could be. Patience.
I didn’t ride today because I am in the middle of finals week and I have a horrific amount of work to finish and I have to study. I have to finish writing a German paper and take my German final tomorrow, plus finish major physics homeworks that I missed while at Nationals, and study for my least favourite class Molecular Bio.
All of this stands between me and finally becoming a senior in college. I don’t feel like i should be a senior yet. I mean I’m only 20! when did time fly so fast?
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.