Monday 2 April 2012

Let's get this show on the road. As soon as I am out of this body cast.

Sometimes people say to me, Curmudgeon, don't you worry that some day you will regret not having children?

Yah, maybe.  When I am tied to my wheelchair, drooling and extruding turds into my already full diaper at the nursing home, and I have no offspring to stop by and wheel me around outside for 5 minutes twice a month like the other ladies do... I might have a twinge of regret.

But by buying a 3 year old (even better if you are able to breed from scratch, I would guess), you do get to experience some tiny bit of the exhiliration of looking at your wonderful young creature, bursting with pure and raw potential, and imagining how someday, they will blossom into something really great.  There is nothing but the promise of a wonderful future before you.

And, just as with a child, you get a few glorious years of smiling sweetheart submission before they morph into wanna be teenage gangsta crack whores that you are embarrassed to be seen in public with, and must wait anxiously until (with any luck) they get their shit together just enough to become a mid level somethingorother at some semi legit enterprise somewhere, move out of your basement, and manage to pay their bills more or less all on their own.  (At which time you can start dreaming about the unbridled potential of your grandchildren to become dynamic leaders of the free world).

(To be clear, your horse will never pay its own bills. So your chances of this happening are somewhat better with a real live child)

Just as with parents and their children, one of the best ways to navigate whatever it is your horse is tossing your way (or wherever it may be your horse is tossing you) is to surround yourself with similar parents in similar circumstances.

Lucky for me, at MVA I had a perfect companion.  Really!  I am not being a smartass.  A woman with a somewhat similar horse, of a similar age, who was just beginning her training journey as well.  And I think we had a lot of fun together helping each other with our youngsters for the short time I stayed there.

(But then, maybe I am wrong.  Maybe she has her own blog out there somewhere, and is currently writing about the psycho she met back in 2004)

As usual, before embarking on this new leg of my curmudgeonly journey, I took a trip back to the bulletin boards to review what it is people in the "hurray! my horse is old enough to start riding!" camp are talking about.  It has been a while since I was one of these people, so the refresher was worthwhile, however I can see that things have not really changed.

The gig goes down kind of like this....

Phase 1:

My 3 year old is wonderful.  I can't believe how EASY everything is with him.  I was able to start him all on my own, and he is PERFECT. In every way.  In fact, I think we have some special, Black Stallion type bond.  No, actually...I think he loves me even more than Black loved Alex.  He trusts me implicitly even without all of that shipwreck and eating seaweed on a desert island together for months on end bullshit hassle.  He just KNOWS that I know what is good and right for him.

Don't you have any fucking carrots?  Seriously....

Phase 2:

My 4 year old is really growing.  Sometimes, she just doesn't seem to be herself.  It must be the associated with the aches and pains of being a young, blossoming woman (remember when you were in gym class and had to sit out with cramps?  Yah, well, could YOU have done a canter transition?  No, I didn't think so).  I am getting the Schleese guy in because I know that with all of the correct work we have been doing at the walk, her topline is really developing, and chances are, the bit of sass she is giving me is due to discomfort associated with saddle fit.  Once we get this sorted out, we will be all kumbaya on the 20 metre circle again.  Yes, I know that good times are just around the corner, I know it.  (And by that, I probably don't mean the southeast corner of the arena over by the door.  Since she won't go past the heap of jumps there without having a meltdown).

Phase 3:

Is anyone else having challenges with their 5 year old.  Ever since I got out of full body traction following the body slam into the kickboards / fall / rear-flip followed by slight trample back in January, Brecher has seemed a little nappy at the halt.  I think it could be because I go catatonic and begin hyperventilating when my current instructor tells me to put my leg on.  Does anyone know of a good advanced level dressage coach that can help me work through this?  I am listening to some subliminal audiotapes in my sleep to help me deal with fear issues, but I think I might make more progress if I chip away at this problem while I am concious as well.  I was hoping that we could do the 5 year old classes this year, so the sooner the better. 

Can the kids come and ride your horse sometime?  Sally has been taking lessons  over  at  Halting School of Equitation for six months now.  I think she is ready.
Young horse owners, take heart.  When your little precious turns into a 5 year old jerk - you are not alone.  We will all go through this phase.

(Also take heart in the fact that you can actually sell your 5 year old, if you decide that you actually like being fully mobile with four working limbs and having most of your mental faculties preserved.  Not so with children, I have been told.  You get to own them forever.  Like it - or not). 

On the other hand, if you aren't at this phase yet, and your 3 yr old is perfect in every way - shut your flapping trap.  Your time is going to come my friend.  And when it does, don't worry. Even though your co-workers and probably spouse will think you are insane - your horse friends will be there for you.  Sure, we are in this activity for the animals themselves, but the good people and friends we make along the way are a big part of what keeps us coming back for more too.



  1. Oh, my God, this is seriously fucking true (pardon my language). The day Flecha turned 4 she started hating everything. Her five-year-old pasturemate will not be ridden without giving her rider the mechanical bull routine and screaming at every other horse who comes in the ring. I am terrified.

    unscathed-for now,


  2. i've got an OTTB that came to me as a 5yr old. good as gold, now he's almost 7 and is doing a delayed teenage misbehavior episodes- from rocking horse canter with flying changes, to tantrums and cowhops at random intervals. thank god for my trainer - its a long way to fall from 17 hands up. a year ago i'd let beginner friends ride him for a fun, feel good lesson, today wouldn't trust him with anybody but a pro. i'll try to find the humor in it as i continue to read your blog and we start moving past the rodeo rides. you have a great perspective. Mo

  3. Hmmmm... and here I was thinking I wanted to get a youngster because I'm too cheap to buy an older nice horse. But I just know that my youngster won't have the same problems! Not.

  4. Haha! Been there, fell off of it!

  5. Where did you think the term "Feeling his oats" came from? They weren't talking about some politician who couldn't keep his fly zippered. The "Baby Horse" who has been backed and ridden, mostly whilst living in a pasture turn-out situation gets past the physical and mental fatigue of all things new and fuels his new psycho persona the minute he's in real work with real food.

  6. I out grew my Morgan/QH X and decided I wanted to do combined training. So I went and bought an untrained saddlebred cross. She was 2 1/2, cuz she was tall...
    I waited till she was 3, having done ground work, ponying and 1 session being backed. I moved her TO a MVA, she has gone through her terrible twos, tyrannical threes, Fearsome fours, Flaky fives.
    And at 9 or 10 finally settled down.
    My 4th ride on her, she spooked and her lovely loooooonnnngg neck with head attached, hit me in the nose, cracking it. I then came out of the saddle and fractured my left hand.
    Fast forward to about a year and a half ago, I was working Noobtard's horse who had an undiagnosed back issue. The horse was about 5,and she spooked, gave a twisting buck. I landed on my shoulder, shattering the ball joint, 2 surgeries later.. My right shoulder is always in pain.
    I hate young horses!!

  7. I must be weird 'cuz I love youngsters. Spook, shy, bounce, buck, cross your legs and fall down - non of that fazes me in the least. I love the tiny accomplishments and the big break throughs equally. One thing that gets me, though, is rearing. My SI joint was damaged pretty badly almost 20 years ago when a horse reared and fell over backwards on me. LOL, I still have that horse and even did colic surgery on her.

  8. I don't (and can't) have kids and I've felt that owning and training young horses has been "good enough" :) Thanks for the laugh...

  9. All my kids will have four legs . . . and i've never looked back.

  10. Well, with plenty of young horses under my belt and only 1 kid, who is currently a teenager...I think I shoulda stuck with the horses. Would have been a whole lot less disappointing.