Friday, February 19, 2010

Trials and Tribulations

So, now my horse was three, and we were still schooling in the training arena, never having ventured out. His schooling was progressing well, and he was still on the rubber bar snaffle. I wanted to keep his mouth soft, and it worked fine. I discovered that he had inherited his Saddler grandsire's smooth, effortless gaits, including the rack and triple. Starr's grandsire was a champion palomino American Saddler called Golden Sovereign. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with him at that stage, apart from outriding, perhaps show jumping or dressage.

Starr was a fast learner, being intelligent and willing, but at times too strong willed and a tad stubborn, but then, so was I. We had our disputes, which I ensured that I won, by hook or crook. He needed a strong hand, or he'd have just run roughshod over me to get his own way. A friend went to see him while I wasn't there and later told me 'that horse will kill you'. This was because of Starr's white-ringed, 'wild' eyes.

Starr had inherited his Arabian granddam's toughness, cleverness and hardiness, and gained weight rapidly. At that stage, his quarters were still taller than his withers, but that soon caught up, as he was still growing, I discovered, to my horror. We started going on outrides with a friend on a lead rein, and he went well, although he was somewhat skittish, being a baby. Soon he didn't need the lead rein any more, but I still rode with an older horse. One day when we were returning from an outride, my friend Adore stopped her car on the side of the road to chat to me. While we were talking, my 'friend', on the other horse, got bored and decided to head on to the livery stable, which was only a couple of kilometres away.

That was when I discovered that Starr did not like to be alone. He wanted to follow, and when I stopped him, proceeded to swing around and back away. I didn't fancy a wild gallop to the livery stable, especially on a busy road. Starr turned in circles, and I had no control over where he went, I was only able to prevent him from following the other horse. We spun into the road, and Adore rushed out to flag down the cars. Round and round we went, right across the road, stopping traffic. When we reached the far side, we encountered a knee-high bank. No problem for Starr, he just hopped up onto it, with me hanging on for grim life, to his mane as well as the reins. Upon reaching the top of the bank, he stopped, finally. With more haste than dignity, I quit the saddle in double time. Once on the ground, I had him in control again.

My friends raced to the livery stable to call back my 'friend' who had left me so much in the lurch, while I waited with my reins wrapped around a tree branch, just in case my strong willed horse decided to drag me home with him. Of course, my fears were unfounded, but I was still getting to know him. We made it home safe and sound, but that was when I realised that my horse had rather more character than I had bargained for.

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