HORSE TRAINING: Splash, bringing you up-to-date

It’s easy to get behind on posting. Sometimes even though I log the training daily, I  don’t publish the posts. After I get behind on the publishing, I start to get wayward on my daily logging. It’s a vicious circle. Now I have put in so many days of training Splash that I’ve forgotten how many. I think around 30.

There is another reason for not posting about Splash every day and that is that the posts are beginning to look very much the same day after day. With Splash, everything is moving very slowly. The following is a typical log. I think it was about session 20.

After grooming and saddling, Splash bucked again, only there wasn’t much heart in it, as if it was a formality buck, or as if he was saying, “All right I’ll buck if I have to.” After grooming and lounging, I led him down the driveway and then rode him back. Compared to day eighteen, he was more sullen or maybe depressed, perhaps despondent is the best word. There’s always a temptation to be anthropomorphic, but I think there has been so much disruption from his previously quiet life that he is probably shell-shocked from all the new situations and things that he has been confronted with.

Also the flies are taking their toll. In our neighborhood usually once during a summer there is a fresh fly hatching. This summer’s fly plague is worse or longer than usual. I can practically see the horses, especially the younger ones, losing weight-but Splash most of all. He was on the thin side when he came to us; now he is even thinner.  The flies add more stress to the already stressful training routine.

Three or four days went by and I wrote this:

When I was a kid we had snow vacation. I gave Splash a few days off for fly vacation. Now the plague has lightened up significantly. When I put the saddle on Splash he bucked with more enthusiasm today as if to say, “I have twice as much pep now that there are half as many flies!” I took off the saddle and led him down the driveway and then rode him home bareback. He did not seem as depressed or despondent and I can see he’s becoming more responsive to the reins. But when I sit on him bareback I can clearly feel the difference from the loss of weight because of the flies.


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