Wolfie the Wonder Horse!

Wolfie the Wonder Horse!
Wolfie, 24/02/08

Sunday, 16 January 2011

First ride of 2011.....

....and it was an exciting one.  Wolfie's had almost 9 weeks off work, the first time back under saddle, I expected him to be full of beans and he certainly didn't disappoint.  We've had torrential rain for the last few days, the higher temperatures have cleared the ice and left vast amounts of water and flooding in its place. I had thought about getting back on yesterday, but the rain didn't stop, it was pretty windy and Wolfie looked very high spirited in the field, so I decided to leave it another day.  I brought him in today, having made sure he'd had the best part of the day out in the field.  I tacked up and he seemed genuinely pleased about getting his tack on.  I put his exercise sheet on, there was a cold wind and hoped it would keep him a bit warmer and less likely to act silly if he was cold.  I had thought about lunging him before I got on, but the school is waterlogged and to be honest I don't see the point in having him running endlessly around in a circle, not achieving anything.  For the first few weeks back in work, I want to keep him walking in straight lines.  Harden him up to his tack and strengthen him.  I don't see the point in lunging unless he's being asked to work properly and at the moment it would be putting too much stress on him physically.  Also, if he's going to do anything, he'll do it regardless of whether he's been lunged or not, in the past I've never found that it's tired him or helped to settle him that much.

I got on at the gate to the tracks, he stood completely still and waited to be asked to walk on.  We walked down the tracks to the gate, he was striding out and bouncing and very looky, but he felt good.  I was thinking how well it was going and decided to go up another track which passes a house.  We made it almost to the top of the track when Wolfie stopped dead, head raised and neck rock solid.  I couldn't see what he was looking at, but he suddenly half reared and span to the left.  I managed to turn him back to the way he had been facing, and then struggled to keep him straight as he leapt sideways.  He took 2 steps and then started backing up at speed down the hill.  I stopped him and managed to turn him and bounced back down to the bottom of the hill.  All I had been able to see was what looked like a tree trunk in the field next to the track.  I walked into the field and decided to approach it from the other way, to try and let him see it without trees and a wall obscuring it (if this was what he had been spooking at).  We walked through the field and he tried to take off, I brought him back to walk and he did his infamous rodeo demonstration in frustration.  We began walking up the hill and the tups started to run past us.  Wolfie thought he would go with them and when I pulled him up, he did two huge bucks.  Obviously annoyed that I was ruining his fun.  We got to the top and started to walk across the field to the track we had tried to come up initially. The man from the house was outside, so he caught Wolfie's attention first and then about twenty feet away, he spotted it.  It wasn't a tree trunk, but a roll of scarey horse eating turf.


He stared at it, trying to process what it was for about 5 seconds, then decided it was obviously incredibly dangerous.  He started cantering sideways and then span and tried to bolt.  I managed to turn him and he was leaping around, sliding everywhere as the ground was so wet.  He worked himself up into a complete blind panic.  I decided to get off, to see if I could lead him a little closer so he could see what it was.  Even that proved difficult, he was spinning, leaping and backing up so fast I couldn't get off.  Eventually I managed to get off and led him a couple of steps towards it when he span and made to bolt again.  He nearly dragged me off my feet.  The wind was up, the trees were creaking, this wasn't the day to be trying to work through this.  I managed to lead him past it on the other side of the wall and back down the track.  I led him back to the stables, got back on and walked along the tracks to the gate and back again.  He was settled and very good. 

As Black Beauty famously said 'I'm not afraid of what I know'.  Wolfie didn't know what this was.  He's young, had a long holiday and was looking for a reason to be silly.  He blew it out of proportion and got himself completely worked up.  Wolfie can be very unpredictable.  He is so fast when he reacts, you get absolutely no warning.  Some horses favour a direction when spooking or napping.  Not Wolfie, he can pull any trick out of the bag, you never can tell which way it's going to be. I felt rusty being back in the saddle today after not having ridden for so long.  I don't think I was riding completely effectively, in fact I know I wasn't.  I know from past experience with him, that the quicker you get control, the better chance you have of riding through it.  Today, I was too busy trying to sit to everything that he was throwing at me, that I feel I kind of abandoned him and never gave him any direction.  I know it's just down to time and work to re-establish the trust and confidence.  Wolfie has a very strong play ethic.  His enthusiasm knows no boundaries and he needs constant mental stimulation.  I need to find a way to channel his enthusiasm and energy positively, to have him concentrating on his work but also keep it fun.

So bootcamp begins.  It's still too dark to hack after I finish work during the week, but weather permitting, I'll try walking him around the school at night.  I think it's actually me that will struggle with bootcamp more than Wolfie will.  He loves having something to do and learning.

That was fun!
I've been looking at the GPS wrist units and thought the Garmin 205 forerunner looked good.  It does a few things but I really only want it for measuring distance.  Has anyone used these types of things before?  I'm not very technically minded and want something that will be straight forward to use.  

Cute as a Button

1 comment:

Mellimaus said...

Hm... I'm sorry you didn't have the most ideal ride back...but what ones are? haha. Glad you finally got on again in any case :)