Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Otto has recently discovered a new trick!!

 I was working on some ground work and lateral lungeing with him. I had taken him out of sight of the other horses and he wasn't happy but my attitude on that is .. too damn bad.. deal with it..

Well, he had other ideas. When he blew through the pressure of asking him to go from a trot to a walk on the line, I gave him a heftier tug to get him to "walk". His response was to go up, just a little bit with his front end, but then walked off . Ok.. Then he tried to trot away again.  ( the brain is gone.. the feet go..) I asked for a walk and he went up again. This time, he went up a little higher .I pulled him to one side and he came down. I asked him to walk off again on the end of the line. He wanted to blast away. In his attempt to leave the scene , he hit the end of the rope, and he really went up in the air this time.. and added in some hang time. Special...

This went for several more times. I could not get the leverage on him I needed to get after him enough and stop the behavior. And I was late...

In hindsight , I realize I made a couple of mistakes. He was crowding me and I wasn't getting him away from me,  so when he went up he was practically right over the top of my head.. not a good place to be. I also should have been quicker in my attempts to correct him before he could get up so high . My timing was off. Way off .

What was amazing to me is that he realized very quickly he had my number.(yep, I ain't proud) AND.. he took major advantage of it. I definitely learned something about his behavior/personality . I can't give him an inch.. I am sure he sensed a level of fear as well after about the 5th time, he was getting down right bull headed . The scenario went from bad to worse and no matter what I tried to do, his response was the rear. I know alot of this is the testosterone since he is not gelded yet but  that it is still not acceptable.  This behavior has also lent itself to his playtime with Cassidy. I often see Otto out there playing and rearing at liberty. Tendency? maybe.. Just feeling his oats.. probably. I truly believe for the first time in maybe a long time he has enough energy reserves that he can act on some testosterone type behaviors. I think before any spare energy was going into his growth.

So , as much as I didn't want to end to session having clearly lost, I did , because it was becoming a safety issue for me and him. I basically had to throw in the towel but not without getting the last word. As I turned him loose in the pasture and he went blasting away, I said

"Wait till your father comes home you little smart ass... we'll see who has the upper hand then!"

 Talk about feeling like failure as a horse owner/trainer at that moment. I thought I had caused the issue somehow but couldn't figure out why. I knew Tom would be home in a couple of hours and I took solace in know he could help me. Normally, Tom lets me address most of my horse issues all on my own, because most of the time, I can figure it out. This time, I called Uncle. With age comes wisdom. I have a vested interest in keeping my skull from being tap danced on.  I am so very thankful I have a spouse that is so good with this kind of stuf

So, "daddy" got home and as I predicted.. he  had it sorted out within about 15 minutes. More importantly, he helped me figure out what I was doing wrong and  coached me through it. I needed to stop letting Otto crowd me so much and I needed to drive him forward more.  Even if he needs to move his feet and chooses to trot around, instead of walk (like what I ideally wanted) I was to let him but just direct his feet, and go with him...keep him on the circle, ask for a walk but don't insist. Let him sort through his options a little  and hunt for the answer. Eventually he will offer to slow and reward that. Ofcourse, I know all of this.. this was nothing new.. i have coached others through this very same damn thing and yet here I was struggling.. Oh well..

The result was that Otto and I ended on a much better note. He was listening and so was I. Going forward  I need to make sure I am not inadvertently causing him to react or respond in that way to pressure.

However, the rearing may still be there for a while.  It's not gone..

Not yet.

Rearing is a scary deal, whether you are on the horse or on the ground. I will have my work cut out for me and ....



and down with a buck...

me thinks his doctor visit this spring for a certain "boy specific" procedure might be happening sooner rather than later!


Mel said...

Glad you decided to post about the incident! And lucky you to have a "daddy" to threaten Otto with. LOL at the "wait til you dad comes home young man." just LOL.

I've never had a horse that showed an inclination to rear. Don't envy you at all. He's getting big.....and yeah, i think a little male alteration procedure is in order! What a smart cookie....I bet he's going to be really talented with that sort of mind at his future job, but boy oh boy what a challenge right now.

Mel said...

subscribing to comments ('cause I forgot when I wrote my comment)

Jonna said...

Yes.. indeed! and thanks for subscribing..

He is growing like crazy and I am happy to see he is filling out.. but he is also getting much stronger. I can tell by how he moves. I definitely see some great things about him . He is naturally curious and generally friendly but the hormones appear to be coming into play. That will go away soon enough! I see alot of potential in him..hopefully I can figure it out well enough to get it working for me instead of against me.. ofcourse, with Maggie, she made me work every step of the way.. so hopefully that experience will prove to be useful.

Alternatively, I kept JB a stallion for four years and competed on him while he was a stud. He was easy to deal with comparitively to alot of studs I have dealt with in the pat. He would occasionally rear but it was out of playfulness, not because he was having a tempertantrum.