Saturday, October 1, 2016

Sometimes You Need A Kick In The Ass

This past week I had Spider's saddle fitted to Jack. I expected this to be a tear-filled event. I cried when I sent the email to the Saddler. I cried when he set a date to come out. I cried for two days before the date. But, when the day came, I ended up cussing a blue streak at Jack instead.

Apparently, being fitted for a saddle is way too much excitement for Jack. First, he didn't want to stand still while his measurements were being taken. He noodled around, tried to take the Saddler's clipboard and tools, wouldn't stand up straight, and was just generally obnoxious. Somehow, the Saddler managed to get his measurements (bless that poor man, he's a true pro) and retreated to his trailer to refit the saddle. I put Jack in a stall to wait, and that's when the fun really began.

Jack proceeded to lose what little brain he's got as soon as the stall door shut. He thrashed and crashed into the door and walls, jumped up and down in place like a psychotic rabbit, and then started biting off chunks of my damn barn wall. I was not amused. Very bad words were tossed around, as well as threats of serious bodily harm.

Under normal circumstances, I would probably have left his ass in there to tantrum it out. But, the Saddler needed a somewhat sane horse to finish his fitting, so I pulled Jack out of the stall and took him for a walk. More cussing and threats of bodily harm ensued, as I attempted to guide a 17hh jackrabbit (pun intended) with the mental acuity of a particularly stupid labrador retriever on a calming walk around the farm. As the Saddler peered somewhat nervously out of his trailer, I found myself uttering the words that every equestrian professional dreads: "He doesn't usually act like this."

To be fair, he really doesn't.

Oh, FFS. I've become that owner.

It's my own fault. I've let him sit too long. I've barely touched him since Spider died, so it's unfair for me to expect perfect behavior from him. To me, it was just a saddle fitting. To Jack, it was the first time in months that his favorite person had taken him out, but instead of grooming and riding and having fun like we usually do, he had to stand still and get poked and prodded by a stranger, then locked in a stall, then taken out to stand still again. Jack isn't the smartest horse by miles, and that was a lot more than his little 6 year old brain could handle. He needs routine, he needs experience, he needs a program.

So, now I know that I've just got to suck it up and get it done or else I'm going to have a big, red problem on my hands. It doesn't matter if it makes me sad to work with Jack, because I'm not the only one in this equation. I only lost Spider that day, but Jack lost both of us.


  1. Look, I took my thoroughbred mare out for some exercise in the big pen and on the way back, she spooked at her corral gate and ran into me. I fell into the dirt SPLAT! and just sat there, not knowing whether or not I could even get up. I held onto the lead rope and prayed she wouldn't decide to walk over me. When I saw her raise her right leg to do so, I wacked her and screamed, "NO!" I really didn't wish to be clobbered any more, especially since I already have sciatic nerve damage from a fall years ago. Thank GOD I only got a large scrape on my right arm, two bloody finders, and a sprained ankle. I am not able to do anything yet and it will be a week or so before I return to the horses. I'm still hobbling around. This is the second injury to the same ankle. I'm 64 years old and frankly, I'm not as quick as I used to be.

  2. Nothing to bring you into the present moment like your horse acting like a wild creature! (ask me how I know :P)

  3. I wonder if he picked up on some of your emotion as well. I'm glad that he was a healthy distraction. After I lost Steele it took a bit of time to build my relationship back with Irish- we were like two wounded souls tip toeing around each other.

    I'm glad that you are coming back out.


  4. Bless Jack's heart. ;D Horses are good at giving us what we need, even if it's not what we want.

    ...the words that every equestrian professional dreads:"He doesn't usually act like this." Lmao - I think we've all said that at one time or another.

  5. aw sending hugs :( tho in some ways perhaps there will be something therapeutic about getting back into the routine with a horse who clearly craves it? good luck!

  6. Wishing you both well. I am sure Jack will appreciate your attention. You will have to learn to appreciate him for his own unique personality as you start to work seriously together. Just be patient. The bond between horse and rider can take some time to establish as you well know.

  7. Aw Jack sounds like exactly what you need. :-)

  8. You're breaking my heart here.

    I'm excited to hear more about Jack soon. <3


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