Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Saturdays with Rosso...


Isn't that book called Tuesdays with Maury or something like that?

Well, I'd gotten the feeling that Rosso was gonna test this past weekend. Just little ques I guess.... an extra tail swish when I saddle him... a funny look in his eye when I lunged him... nothing horrible or threatening or even really something to "correct".

Thought to myself, maybe I should have Rex ride him? But then immediately thought - no.

No one else can do this for me.

Rex already KNOWS how to make a bad horse be good... and I'm the one he has to ultimately listen to and respect.. Yes, Rex could ride him and "fix" anything but what good does that do for me when it comes to the bottom line? Sigh. Not an easy or fun realization and one I didn't want to admit, though I knew it, at the height of my fear issues with him.

I lunged him and he was fine... I got on him and he was fine. Not a hair out of place on his pretty red head. I reached up and scratched his neck - he leaned into my scratch. I asked him to walk on and off he went - pretty as a picture.

I walked in circles, serpentine, loops, across diagonals, changing directions...the whole time talking to Rex and going over what I'd been thinking in my head. When he's bad, he has to go forward - he has to be on the aids - I have to sit deep in the saddle - no one can do this but me.... and Rex is sort of laughing about the conversations I have with myself in a week.

Rosso is being good, no reason to think there will be any trouble and I'm trusting him and not being defensive in my riding. I'm sure she's wondering why I went over all this with her... she told me to take him up to trot.


Rosso kicked out sideways with his hind end, shook his head, skittered sideways vs. forward. I gritted my teeth determined to win this friggin battle. Little does he know Sera's been teaching me how to sit for big kicks behind with all her flying change nonsense! HA!

Rex is guiding me thru it... "hold you thighs tight against the saddle! Keep his head down - don't let it come up! Keep him moving forward! Change directions a lot to get him thinking about you!"

He was swinging his hind end like a huge barn door back and forth, light in front, skittering around being a general ass..... I spurred him once lightly with my inside heel to get him to round out and move into the outside rein. He jumped forward like I'd just electrocuted him - Rex shouts - "Good! Good correction! Remember your deep elbows - if you keep your elbows deep and he pulls against you, he will pull you INTO the saddle....if he gets you suckered into following with your hands, you don't have him and won't have him..." (Don't get me wrong, I follow and give when they are consistent in the contact, soft and working - when they are trying to to kick, buck, jig and crab, I don't give - they have to give first and then I do.)

On and on it went - me changing directions, rooting deep into the saddle (thinking yoga thoughts of weighting my ass or melting into the saddle or growing strong tree roots into my saddle) he was flinging around and jiggy and moving sideways, offering to balk and stop when I'm put the spur to him to get him going.... he'd lurch forward and try to canter with his head up in the air....there was one point when he stopped - and I couldn't get him forward. This was the only time I was scared - if he learns now that he can stop and go backwards or worse - go up in a rear - it will get worse - way worse before it gets better - I growled - "oh no you don't ... you GET forward expletive expletive expletive!" and I kicked him hard with both legs - it worked....

He began to listen. I began to give to him more. We started throwing in downward transitions to walk and back up to trot with the changes in direction ... we gave him a couple short walk breaks - I think more for ME as I was friggin dying up there but no way could I stop because if I didn't win, this would go on a lot longer next time....horses ain't stoopid.

When he would walk, trot and change directions calmly, on the aids, round and lovely SEVERAL times, with me giving on the inside rein, giving him a scritch and telling him good boy....we quit. I walked him out. He was wet from ears to tail. I was too! At the end when I would put me leg against him or give him a nudge with a spur he acted normal - moving away from the pressure nicely... not like I'd just electrocuted him... roll eyes.

I never once felt like I was going to come off or like I was unbalanced... I felt really GOOD in my mind. I felt strong and confident. Rex said she was proud of me... we had a long talk about Rosso and his I don't enjoy the dramatics. I am learning to deal with it but I don't find it funny or amusing.

We talked about that mare that came through her barn that I liked so much.... we talked about me getting thru the Rosso thing because I am determined to ... but how it's not as much fun when you aren't a fan of their personality. Horses are spendy and they live a long time. Abnormally long at our place with a mare making it to 35 and my old gelding, Brandon, alive and kicking at 33. Rosso does go to a special place in his head, tho he IS nice from the ground, ties, trailers, lunges, stands for vet and farrier, can be turned out in pasture.

So I dunno. The market is bad, I don't want to see him on a truck to Mexico... I was told he shouldn't jump cuz of his knee surgery from the track tho' after his surgery he was sound and raced again a few times but had lost his speed/drive (I don't jump so it wasn't an issue for me), he has a cataract, his front leg conformation isn't great, he's a bit over the knee tho' I've never had any soundness issues - he is friggin athletic as all git out.... Anthony took him into the mountains and trail rode the pants off that horse... down ravines, up hills, through rivers and said he absolutely loved it.

I know someone would enjoy him and think him fun and challenging. I think ultimately that would be in his best interest to be in a home with someone he can have a better relationship with. I'm not looking to make any money from him - looking for a good match.

I'm in no hurry and he is welcome to stay with me as long as he needs to until a good home I feel comfortable with comes up. Brandon won't live forever tho Furry Husband thinks he might. So maybe Rosso willl be a pasture buddy if Brandon dies before he finds a home.

We'll see what happens. It's not something I came to lightly.... but I've had him now for 4 going on 5 yrs and this whole time it's just been a knuckle biting adventure - ever since he went through our fence twice in a complete blind panic 2 weeks after I brought him home.

The mare I liked and blogged about what 6 weeks ago? She is still available and it may fall through but I'm looking. Can't hurt to look. Even if that doesn't happen - and there is a good chance it won't - finding another place for Rosso clicks and seems right to me.

I think not all horses work for everyone. He was a good gamble... same dam as my wonderful mare... gelding, which might mean calmer with no mare heat cycle issues .... I had hopes I'd luck out with him as much as I've lucked out with her. They both came to me with the same amount of training at 4 yrs of age from the track, from the same breeder.

Suppose the biggest difference is Rosso raced and Sera never did. He's had 4 yrs off to recover, fatten up with hay and pasture and to simply be a horse. He had with the same rider and training methods as Sera. I'm schooling Third Level and looking to get my USDF Bronze medal with Sera and I'm still at walk, trot and canter with Rosso. I think that says something.

I'll keep riding him for now but yeah, I'm pretty sure he'd be happier in different work with someone else. It's a hard realization to come to. The right thing isn't always the easy thing...



DebH said...

I know your thinking and practical is a hard road to follow sometimes.
There will be that right fit in a person out there and like you said...wait for it!

I sure could hear it in your post on how that mare of 6 wks ago might be the one. I would love to hear that was possible for you! You so enjoy your riding and when the right one comes gotta go for it!

Kelley said...

Got'a go with your gut feeling! He may prefer to be a trail horse for someone if Anthony had such a good time taking him out.... or even just something less "focused" than Dressage (something he doesn't have to think about and work at constantly). Lots of choices, lots of people, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed it all comes together for you two!

Laura Crum said...

I think you are doing a great job working your way through this, Shanster. I just know that you'll find the right path for both you and Rosso. I've been through rehoming horses that didn't fit me, and though it was not easy, it proved the right choice for me. And the people that have these horses LOVE them.

Heather said...

I hadn't thought about the background of Sera vs. Rosso and how far you have come with her. It IS interesting that he is lagging so far behind. I know you will make the right choice. Horses are difficult.

Shanster said...

DebH - Thanks for your kind words - I sure value them!

Kelley - I think so - someone will have a blast with him. Someone braver than me who likes to go fast!

Laura - thanks - many of your posts have really helped me think it all through. Not an easy decision but the right thing isn't always the easy thing!

Heather - yeah, when I began looking at the whole pix I was like ... wait a minute ... this doesn't seem right. Think he would rather find someone more bold and exciting than me. I'm pretty sure he thinks I'm a dud and quite boring. He's just trying to liven me up... he can stay as long as he needs to as he's nice to have around. I hope I can find someone who will really get along with him!