Thursday, August 19, 2010

I don't know what I'm going to do with the little bugger.

My mom loves her horse, but she can't handle him worth a crap. He can be a little obnoxious, seeing as he's young and still slightly colt-ish. But it's ridiculous when it comes to my mom treating him like a delicate little kitten. Drives me nuts. Norman is a horse. A fairly gargantuan one. You won't hurt his feelings if you give him a spanking when he deserves it.

We've only ridden together once since we moved, and the horses both did fairly well. Except Norman kept dragging my mother into the tall grass on the side of the trail, and mom doesn't have the heart to be firm and correct him. She's stuck in the "passenger" frame of mind. She also keeps anticipating him doing something naughty, even when he's being good. That fall off of another horse years back didn't do anything for her confidence. I want to go out and work with Musclehead sometime today, but it's been too beastly hot the last couple of weeks.

My goal is to be able to load the horses up and go on trail rides with our friends from the barn and not have any hassle. Victor's pretty good about it. He's a very good traveler. And Norman's getting better and better about loading. I'm just worried about him behaving once we're on the trail. I really need to put some miles on him. But it would work a lot better to have another horse ride with us and keep him calm, and my mom can't ride Victor unless she gets over this ridiculous nervousness.

We've been talking about possibly getting a third horse sometime down the road. If we do, it'll be a 12-15 year old Walker or Foxtrotter. But that won't be for a while, if it happens. I would rather spend the time and money getting Norman more trained before we bring another horse into the picture. And who knows? Once Norman is better behaved, we might not even want another one.

I've been asked why we don't just sell Norman and get another horse. Well, because 1] with the market the way it is, we would take a hit money-wise, especially since we paid way too much for him in the first place 2] because he isn't very marketable the way he is at the moment, and I would be scared to death of him ending up in a bad situation and 3] most importantly, because I made a commitment to this horse and I have no intention of walking away. When I buy an animal, I keep it forever. We've had him since he was 18 months old, and he was my first horse. I can't even picture seeing a different horse in his stall.

He's also a really pretty lawn ornament. ;]

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How important is your relationship?

For me, the connection between horse and rider is everything. If I don't click with my horse, it isn't even worth having one because it takes all the enjoyment right out of it. I suppose there are a million people who would dispute that, and they wouldn't necessarily be wrong. I think it boils down to why you have horses in the first place.

To some people, mainly avid competitors, horses are a means to an end. They need horses to compete in the sports they enjoy, and that's as far as it goes. They don't need to "get along with" their horse in order to love equestrian activities. I'm not saying they mistreat their animals- far from it. But they have little to no emotional attachment to them. It's a business relationship, so to speak.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have the people who covet their horses' affection above anything else. To Hell with the glory of being a successful competitor or winning a case full of rosettes if it's done with a horse that you don't connect with. It doesn't matter how athletic or well trained the horse is if your personalities clash, it's just not fun.

And I'm sure there are gray areas in between the two.

I would fall under the second category. I value my horses not because they're expensive investments, but because they're my companions. If my horses aren't happy and we don't enjoy each other's company, what's the point of having them? I don't want a horse that I feel detached from, or one that wants nothing to do with me. Again, what would be the point?

My old BO offered to let me show Harley, her Quarter Horse, but I turned it down. I don't really like that horse and he doesn't care for me, either. Granted, he's much more docile and easier to ride than Victor. But he's not my Victor. It wouldn't have meant anything. And it has nothing to do with familiarity, because I've know Harley a lot longer than I've known Victor.

And it doesn't necessarily have to be your own horse that you click with. Reba and I were two peas in a pod. =)

So tell me, do you value a purely athletic and successful horse, or one that is more of a good friend? Or are you somewhere in between?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Photos! The horses' first day at home.

I know these are long overdue. I believe they were taken May 1st... They got a kick out of the neighbor's goats. XDD

I can't believe how sparse the pasture was. The grass has really grown well with all the rain we've had. The dirt areas in the pictures are now almost completely covered. =)