Saturday, August 31, 2013

Our Oaf

Jack continues to be a pleasure to work with and have on the farm.  He is a sweet, kind little fellow and full of try.  Unfortunately, he is also one of the clumsiest horses I have ever known.  We've actually taken to calling him "The Oaf".

He has the best "Derp" face.

I think (hope) that it is mostly his age, size and general lack of maturity that makes him such a klutz.  The poor little fellow has legs all over the place and not a clue where to put them.  I've seen him fall down in the pasture after taking a corner too tight.  I've also seen him randomly run into the door jam of the stall while trying to walk out of it. (No wonder he lost every race he was entered in).

He also has no clue about social graces, which results in him getting smack-downs from the other horses when he invades their personal space.  It also results in me getting stepped on and head-butted regularly.  At this point, he may actually believe his name is "DammitJackGetOffaMe".

He spent the last couple weeks lame after getting tangled in the fence and breaking it.  How does such a thing happen?  Well, I didn't see it happen... but after owning horses for many years, I've gotten pretty good at forensics.  It seems he was rolling in a mud puddle and got too close to the fence.  He took out two lines before getting himself untangled.  I didn't discover the accident until I found Matilda in the lawn, she had escaped through the broken fence lines.  Spider was cluelessly grazing in the pasture, and Vinny was eyeballing the remaining line to size up whether or not he could shimmy under it.  Jack was hiding in the barn.  He didn't have any cuts, luckily, but he definitely strained something in his left shoulder and was off.  Poor guy.

But, he seemed to be doing all right yesterday, and ready to work again.  So, I took him out to put him on the lunge line.  I wanted to assess his soundness.  He's perfectly sound, as he proved to me by running all over my property and the neighbor's property.  (Sorry, Neighbors!)

Now, I definitely did a few stupid things here.  I'll be the first to admit that it's been a long time since I took on a 3 yr old, and I've gotten to be a bit of a slacker.  I was not really following best practices.  I put a 3 yr old on a lunge line in an area of the property that wasn't fenced.  And, that 3 yr old is 3 months off the track, 17h and hadn't been worked in two weeks.  I was asking for trouble, and I got it!

He was doing pretty well, just going around like an old campaigner, when suddenly he spooked at something and ripped the line out of my hands.  Now, I've come off Jack a couple times under saddle and he always stops, but that's because when I come off the reins go slack.  That's a "stop" sign for race horses.  I had been lunging him in side reins, when I lost the line the side reins didn't let up.  He leaned right into them and did his best racehorse impression.  Plus, he now had the lunge line "chasing" him.  It added up to about 10 minutes of pandemonium, until he figured out the line wasn't going to eat him and settled down enough to let me catch him.  Once he was caught, we went back to work like nothing ever happened. But, we did go back to work in one the fenced areas... just in case.

In a few minutes I'll have to get myself out from in front of this computer to put him back on the lunge line.  And you can be sure he'll be in a fenced area, and I'll be on his behavior like white on rice. And I bet he's not going to do damned thing, because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


  1. My 3yo goes from elegant to totally klutzy in nanoseconds. One second he's running into walls (literally...), the next he's doing canter pirouettes on his own violation. That's part of the reason I still don't ride him much... he's still a growing boy and I'd rather he figure out his own feet without interference than to throw my weight on him and expect him to be more balanced with me aboard... (I'm not saying to not ride as your boy has had enough time under saddle to figure out a rider, whereas mine has not, but I just personally don't want to ride him yet due to those tendencies! :) )

    Basically, I think it's a 3yo thing, lol! Silly babies!

  2. Such a goof. I don't think there's anything untoward about an awkward giant 3 year old. My new guy is 8 and still does goofy things, just because he's learning a whole new way of life. Gotta love Mr. Jack.

  3. Holy withers, Batman!

    Giant and awkward are not a good combination. Thankfully, he is a good chap and cute!

  4. Yeah - those are some serious withers on that boy. He'll get it together as he matures. :D

  5. My Russell R was a klutz when I got him and was constantly in trouble. He grew to be a stellar athletic hunter/jumper/eventer. Guess he grew out of it. Tucker, on the other hand still sometimes forgets where his 17 body is. I always have to remind him of "my space" vs. his.


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