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In Which My Greenie Tries to Kill Me

You know what's fun?

Spending money and watching the thing you spent money on not work out.


Java seems to think it's hysterical, and he demonstrated that point brilliantly in June when he came home from training. Guess who threw a snit in the trailer? Guess who had a swollen leg the next day?


And guess who called the vet in a panic even though he was sound, resulting in a large bill, SMZs, 3x daily cold hosing, and two weeks of no riding?


Two weeks off after having been in 4-5 days of work a week for the last ten weeks does not make for a good start. The first week I rode him after the leg was done being a balloon, he was snorty, speedy, tense, and that definitely seeped into me. I was feeling super inadequate and garbage overall, but after a lesson with one of my favorite local trainers, things were looking up.

So of course, that's when it all went south. The next day, we had the first bucking/rearing episode. It was nothing to write home about, just some attitude-y bucks and a tiny pop in the front end. Whatever, fine. I can ride that. Cake. Except it wasn't. And his nerves fed mine and mine fed his until he wouldn't stand at the mounting block and by the time I managed to get on, our rides were nothing but a scrambly, surging mess.

Me? I am not bad. I am adorable.

I scratched the Laine Ashker clinic I was signed up for and gave my entry to a friend, but it wasn't until the next weekend that I realized I had a Serious. Fucking. Problem. Up until then, I had been thinking I had a young horse that was started late and telling me off for making him work. It was bad behavior, and I corrected it, but it wasn't outright dangerous. The weekend of my come-to-Jesus moment, The Ride, we dipped into danger territory.

For the record, being in the Danger Zone sucks.

A and I took Java and her horse, De, to ride at H's house. Java had been there twice already, once for the Robin clinic and once to stay over before leaving for Vermont. No big deal, it would be fine.

It was not fine. It began with not really getting into the trailer and continued into not really standing to get tacked up. At the mounting block, I found myself in a man vs. horse 30 minute struggle to get on. I tried to be calm and patient outwardly, but inwardly, I was freaking out. What was going on? Why was he like this? What was wrong?

I knew I wasn't getting anywhere, and A did, too, so she hopped off to hold him for me. That worked well enough for me to swing on and walk four steps without a stirrup before Java went straight up into the air like Hi Ho Silver. I was pretty sure he was going to flip and I was going to die.

Less cool, more kill.

Fortunately, I only managed to fall off, not get killed or maimed, and he did the great courtesy of not stepping on my sorry ass. I collected myself, the horse, my dignity, and got back on with no fuss. We only walked, and I tried to play it cool, but it was not cool. In my life, I've been lucky enough to have avoided riding horses who rear, but I know two things about them. Unless you're a trained professional:

  1. You don't buy them.

  2. You sure as shit don't ride them.

I am not a trained professional. I am an amateur who happens to have been riding moderately tricky horses. Java was not moderately tricky. Cherry on top of the shit sundae of my day? He wouldn't load. Not for anyone. So I called H and asked her if I could just leave him there, get him tomorrow, and save us all the hassle. Being the saint she is, she agreed immediately and even enlisted her husband to drop him off the next day.

My mother asked me not to ride him until we could fix the issue, but I could not fix this problem. To be honest, I wasn't sure I wanted to. He shook me up that day, and that's not great groundwork for fixing a problem I'd never encountered. So I called Robin and asked her what I should do.

Apparently, he'd done some of this initially but worked out of it. She suggested a few things the vet could look for, but ended on one suggestion that stuck out.

"He needs a cowboy."

So in search of a cowboy I went.

#horsetraining #obstacles

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