Sunday, January 8, 2012


Success!  We rode in the big arena today without Starbuck running off and freaking out-- I knew she'd be fine!  I did however have a slight lapse of judgement by asking my friend Virginia to ride her mare Coco with us.  Since we set these two mares loose in the arena from time to time to play, I think Starbuck just naturally thought that this was play time too.  So she started kind of biting at Coco's butt, I pulled her head away, she got pissed, things escalated and she started bucking, I mean SERIOUSLY bucking.  I was able to stay in the saddle for the first couple but in the end I realized things were going south, saw my moment and bailed off to the side before she could throw me between her ears.  Luckily I fell extremely well and was able to get right up and hop right back on-- I may not be a great rider but I sure have a lot of experience falling off!

Thanks to Virginia, who reminded me that I can use one rein to pull her into a circle which disengages the hindquarters and takes away her power to buck, I was able to stay in the saddle for the next round of crow-hops and Starbuck learned a valuable lesson: bucking doesn't get her out of having to work.  After those two brief rebellions, she calmed right down and did fine.  I can tell she feels a lot less constricted in the big arena, her strides were much bigger and freer and just the fact that she was confident enough to buck with me on top of her tells me she's feeling stronger and more balanced carrying my weight.  Also she didn't seem to have any urge to run around like a chicken with her head cut off and responded really well to the reins so I feel confident about riding her in the big arena from now on.  

Here's the video of the entire ride, it's too bad that most of the rodeo action is either off-camera or blocked by other horses, but you get the general idea.  I chickened out trying to get her to trot, so after a couple of strides I gave her a break.  Next time I'll be sure to have my crop with me so I'm not teaching her to ignore my leg cues.

Just a note to remember for next time: I dewormed Starbuck today too with Eqvalan Duo, I think that this next time I'll wait 3 months and use a less powerful wormer.  I'd also like to do a fecal analysis, when the vet comes to vaccinate her I'll ask her about it.

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