Wrong Horse, Wrong Time - Part One
 By Winniefield Park   •   13th Jul 2013   •   2,014 views   •   0 comments
Grey Arabian Horse

The problem with having a horse dealer in the family is that the horses they bring through can be a terrible temptation. Such was the case when a little grey Arabian arrived at the barn. He was shipped to a meat auction because he had scared his previous owner out of ever riding again. His game was spook and bolt. He terrified the poor woman who owned him by charging down the side of a paved road. When he spooked he could do an 180-degree turn at lightening speed. One second you’d have a horse under you, the next you wouldn't.

Article: Wrong Horse, Wrong Time - Part Two

During the time I owned him, I rode Mark all over the countryside. He didn't really like to move out strongly as a good distance horse should, but sometimes it takes a while for a horse to learn to really cover ground efficiently. Most of the time, he was fairly predictable, although I could count on him to spook at certain things - like an oddly coloured mailbox, and be ready to react. Three weeks after I bought him, I rode him in an easy twenty-five distance ride and placed sixth.

As hard as he could spook, he only unseated me once. I was riding in a thirty-mile distance ride. We were trotting smartly along a sandy forest trail when he spooked out from under me. I somehow landed in front of him, on my behind, padded by the big wash sponge tied around my waist. Thankfully, I kept hold of the reins and he came to an abrupt stop, looking down at me as if to say, “how the heck did ya get down there?” I remounted and went on my way.

He was even flighty in hand. After the thirty miler, I was walking him up a lane and he spooked. He knocked me flying, and I ended up underneath him. I was unhurt but embarrassed: he had knocked me down in front of a crowd of people who all ran over to help me.

I was always worried Mark would knock over or step on my kids. My son was only two at the time, and my daughter, four. My daughter was typically horse crazy. She wanted to brush him. But it wasn't safe for a tiny child to handle him - even in cross ties. It wasn't that he wasn't well trained. The way he lead seemed to indicate he had been shown ‘in hand’ at horse shows, and he was fairly well schooled under saddle. He simply had an unpredictable spook in him.

Over the winter, things got worse. Where I kept him exacerbated the problem. I could have kept him at my mother’s. However, that was a half-hour drive. Anyone with little kids knows you don’t have much time for yourself, and I had no car. So I boarded him in exchange for doing weekend chores and mucking out stalls at a farm within walking distance.

The owners of the barn had several horses, but they weren't very horse wise. He began to develop some dangerous habits. As he grained confidence intimidating them, they became more scared of him. They couldn't get his halter on or off him. He would turn his backside to them when they entered his stall, and he would charge in and out of the barn when they did turn-out

In hindsight, I should have taken him out of that barn a lot sooner than I did. In addition to their ineptitude - or perhaps because of it, I suspected that Mark was being harshly dealt with when the barn owners were able to get their hands on him. I moved him to my mothers, but the damage had been done.

I didn't ride much during the winter, so when I started up again in the spring, I found Mark was back up to his tricks and making up for lost time. I couldn't get on without him offering to ‘explode’. Even lunging him before didn't help. Clearly, I had a problem.

Image Credit: © Shawn Hempel |
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