Monday, February 4, 2019

How To: Stop Your Bolting Winter-Bored Thoroughbred

Imagine it's the middle of winter, and you own a young energetic thoroughbred.
Like this one.
Now, imagine this young thoroughbred has had restricted turnout due to extreme winds and cold. Imagine also his feed is high, as you try to put weight on his slight frame. While most of that feed is fiber based, he is still getting a fair amount of high octane goods. When you mount, his back feels as though it is made of 30,000 spiders hyped up on cocaine.
The insanity is palpable.
Finally imagine that not only is your horse comprised of a pile of coked out spiders, but you have also injured your ankle recently and must ride mostly without stirrups to avoid further damage.
Safety? What is that?
Oh, don't let me forget. Your horse is not the only one who is utterly mad with boredom and cold. Instead, the entire ring seems full of total insanity every time you ride.
Well now this is getting fun.
All this might result in your horse (with a spine made mostly of horrifyingly energetic spiders, don't forget) coming out of his stall a bit ... on edge.
You could call whatever this is "on edge"...
In fact, your hypothetical thoroughbred might tend to be a bit quick. He might tend toward leaping into a bolt. His resistance all requests to bend or stop might leave you a bit exasperated and desperate. But don't fear. There is one thing that might help you stop his reign of terror.
We're listening...
Slap him.
WHAT?!
You heard me right. If your young spider-filled thoroughbred is running hell bent around the ring, overwhelmed by his own energy and the antics of his asshole peers, there's only one thing to do. Pull him onto a circle, and when he tries to straighten his head and neck and speed away, lean forward and open hand slap that dumbass right in the face.
Or not. Your experience may differ.
In my real life experience, I ended up giving Bast single open faced palm to the face when he refused to listen to my outside aids. In a perfect world, a dressage whip would have backed up my aids, but I hadn't grabbed one. Luckily, a slap seemed to somehow thwack some sense into Bast. Once he'd cantered reasonably for 20 minutes in both directions, he was much more amenable to relaxing his jaw and bending around my leg. In fact, he's finished all of his rides this week 100% less tense and wired than he's started, which feels like a win. He's even been regularly foaming up at the bit, something he's struggled with due to tension.
Not yet regular lipstick, but he's getting there...
In the meantime, I'm trying to avoid these horrifying tension issues by getting Bast out for more exercise daily. Yesterday we cantered out the crazies, then wandered around the fields on a loose rein while the dogs ran wild. Bast was happy as a clam to just move his feet and explore.
I love that he's starting to enjoy hacks as much as I do.
Fingers crossed my personal bored thoroughbred finds more relaxation and enjoyment in his life, as the temperatures have increased and his turnout should likewise increase. To the rest of you in this position, I wish you the best of luck.

11 comments:

  1. heres to more turnout coming your (and everyone's!!) way soon!!

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    1. Omg for real. I'd leave him out all the time if I could. By the time we move to field board he should be THRILLED. Haha.

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  2. Nothing like a little cold and no turnout to keep life interesting! Glad Bast was able to relocate his brain and reinstall the hamsters.

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    1. He's honestly so good about this. I've ridden so many horses that wouldn't come back from the edge like that, but he settles so nicely once he starts thinking with his brain again (instead of the spiders).

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  3. You've got big lady balls for riding all those cracked out spiders!

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    1. Lol. I don't know. He doesn't feel as dangerous to me anymore.

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  4. Opie got REALLY wild for his first ride back and weaved in the crossties for about five seconds. Then I had to kick him around the ring with my spurs because napping is better than being wild. #fatkidlife

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  5. "spiders hyped up on cocaine"! I'm dying! That is the best (and most accurate) description ever!

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  6. I know those spiders! They get on Liam when it's cold. Except he's a 13 year old warmblood so I don't know what his excuse is... I'm glad the thwack worked for you! Sometimes we need to surprise them back to reality lol. I'm pretty sure my nervous nellie would jump out of his skin and not come back to earth if I tried that though. Still figuring out how to defuse this version of Liam but hopefully spring warm weather will help!

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