Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Does this look like the face of a bad pony???

I took Applejack to team penning this past Sunday. Or at least I thought I did.
I was pretty sure that's who loaded, unloaded and got tacked up. During the warm up I started to wonder though...
Then, sure enough, during the first half of penning HE showed up, Applejackass.
That darn Appy was a little TOO excited to see cows, and chase cows!!!
He got a little insolent. A little head strong. A little too sure that he was running the show. And when I disagreed he bucked, sorta. Just a teeny little humpy hop.
On the next run he made a little more effort and gave an honest to goodness buck (although it still wasn't much of a buck it was a real buck). For that he got tuned. Same as I did when he tried bucking on the barrel pattern. If you remember I had to tune him in and remind him that I was 'boss hoss' and make him W-O-R-K.
Well on the third run he threw me a new one. He reared. :o
Never has he tried this and to be honest my heart jumped up into my throat. Rearing is THE scariest horse behaviour (for me). I managed to stay calm and keep my weight balanced so I didn't pull on his face or throw his weight backward and cause us to fall. When he came down a gave him a kick forward and put him to work. Hoping that he would realize that rearing equals more work (a fitting punishment as he is by nature quite lazy lol)
During the lunch break I downed a quick sandwich and headed back to the arena. You see I was pretty sure I knew why Applejack had disappeared and his evil twin had resurfaced.
Warm up.
Our warm up was cut short due to the cattle being fresh. They had seen horses before but not been worked with horses. So during the warm up the executive asked the members to stop so they could slowly and calmly move the cattle down the arena, through the pen and back a few times each. Unfortunately after they were done we just went ahead and started the penning, no extra warm up time was given for that time we had lost.
While Applejackass was trying to get the better of me I was thinking about that. We had warmed up a bit but he was still rough and choppy at his lope departures. That is a huge clue with this guy. If he hasn't got his "vinegar" worked out of him during warm up he tends to be rough. That usually surfaces in the work after with some mild little bucks and humpiness. So during lunch we rode.
Some trotting and walking to get him limber and then loping circles. Slow down to a trot and lope off again. And more circles and circles. Soon enough those lope departures were nice and smooth. We loped so many circles that I could feel him saying "please NO more circles. I will be a good boy"
We did one more circle.
Then we walked and got our breath back. (yes OUR lol)
And you know what? Applejack was there for the second half :)
He got excited but he was attentive to what I was asking and he listened. And we (Ben, Julie and I) were the only team to pen all 3 cows on both of our runs in the second half!


  1. I know the face of a bad pony when I see one, since I see one every day. Applejackass -- LOL!

    Good for you for sticking to him even when he reared. Neither of mine ever have and I'm not so sure I wouldn't either come off or lose my balance and make it worse.

  2. Some horses do need that warm up, specially at penning which is a sport that causes excitement in a horse. Good job on getting his mind on the job, and woohoo on penning 3 in the last run! Our sorting was cancelled last weekend, so we go this weekend instead.

  3. Lol, every time you write Applejackass it makes me laugh. Ornery horse!! But you made it thru and made him work. Can't beat that!!

  4. I have a horse that acts like she doesnt need a warm up, buuut she really does or she is always wanting to do her own thing (usually leave the arena), and after riding a few minutes I can tell now and its warm up everytime.

  5. You are one true cowgirl! And so brave, too. I would have needed a change of pants after the rearing episode. gah!

    I'm glad noone was hurt and Applejack sent Applejackass back to where he belonged....hopefully to never come back again. And now you know without a doubt just what your boy needs before every event. Good for you :)


    ps Thanks for all the wonderful comments, encouragement, and words of support and advice you've been giving me over at my blog. They are much appreciated :)

  6. Applejackass! Amazing how 3 extra letters can completely change a name. Yikes! I've always wondered if a horse rears, can a rider remember the rules of relaxing the reins so she doesn't pull the horse over on top of her. It looks like you remembered and handled it well.

  7. I swear Moon has some Appy-tude in him. He never gets excited like AJ, but if he isn't properly warmed up, he is a miserable PITA to try to get to perform correctly.

    Isn't it nice to have a horse the you know well enough that when things pop up...and they ALWAYS do...that you can immediately get to the root of the problem and fix it?

  8. What a bum! Glad you were able to recognize the problem and get his mind back in the game...

    I probably would've had a panic attack or something, lol!

  9. Sounds like you handled it all just fine. I know most people will say that - that rearing is the scariest - but I find bucking more scary. I had a horse who habitually reared and it was FAR more easy to deal with that his bucking - cause if it bucked I was screwed, in the air and hoping for soft ground. He didn't mess around when he bucked. He was the cause of my shattered shoulder blade - sprained ankles, dislocated finger, and many headaches.

    Rearing I have learned to handle - hang on and balance - bail quickly if balance is lost.

    But you handled the behavior like I did - no reward what so ever. Just more work. It never cured the behavior in my old gelding but it never got worse. Punishing him, tuning him after a rear only made the behavior worse.

  10. Hmmm...

    No one would suspect Casey of being naughty, EVER. But, he has his moments! I think they all do.


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