From Endurance to Dressage
Speedy Opened a Can of Whoop-Ass
It's not often that I need to get that tough with the speedy pony, but every now and again, the dude needs his little world rocked. Like on Saturday ...
He's is a cocky little fellow, but his bark is far worse than his bite ... usually. He likes to put on a show of being the big boss, but it doesn't take too much to put him back in his place.
Since Sydney left, Speedy's been feeling a bit out of sorts. He loved not having to share me with Sydney, we had some really good rides while Sydney's stall was empty, but Speedy also seemed anxious without a buddy. When he's anxious, he gets very mouthy and pins his ears at me. A lot. He thinks his anxiety is my fault.
Now that Izzy has given him some company, Speedy is still a bit grouchy about having to share my attention. He loves to come out and work, but he always puts on show of being pissed about it. He comes up to me when I open the gate, but he has such a cantankerous look on his face that most people would swear that he's angry about his job.
He's not, I promise. When he thinks I am not looking, his ears are perked, and he waits for me expectantly. He loves cookies and will do anything to get one. He's just got a lot of personality that he likes to express.
On Saturday, after putting up with the occasional nip at my clothes, the pinned ears, and the wrinkled lips, I got my can opener out and told him that if he tried one more pushy thing, he was getting a big fat serving of whoop ass.
While I was bridling him, he felt the halter over his neck, where I put it every single time I bridle him, and he flung his head up hard enough to knock me off balance. The bridle was over his ears, but not yet buckled, so the reins were firmly in my hand. I whacked the holy hell out Speedy's chest with the reins as I sent him flying backwards out of the barn.
As I smacked his chest, I got big and loud and let the whoop ass out of the can. Within moments, Speedy's whole demeanor changed. His face went from sullen and pissy to OMG, what I can do to please you?
I marched his little butt back to the cross ties and finished buckling his bridle. He asked if he could nip at my sleeve, but one look at my face told him that no, he couldn't. I didn't discipline Speedy out of anger. He's just been getting pushier and pushier because I let myself get a bit indulgent. Once I get after him pretty loudly, he always gets back in line.
We ended up having a much better ride than we've been having over the last week or so. He was much more submissive and listened to my aids more closely. I hate to get so tough with him, but sometimes, it's what he needs.
Do you have your own version of a can of whoop ass?
My can of whoop-ass is hardly used - I tend to be a bit indulgent with Miss Mare but this past week I opened it! Usually the can is smacking on the chest with reins and sending backwards fast. This time though we were in the indoor alone and she went bananas on the lunge so I unclipped her and sent her out around me. She paid no attention until I got a lunge whip out and instead of letting her lollygag around the arena, sent her forward with gusto. I immediately had her attention (which rarely happens) and in no time she was all about listening to me. Had a lovely ride after that too!
2/9/2015 09:47:16 am
It sounds like we buy our cans of whoop-ass at the same store. I've used the lunge whip trick a time or too myself. :0)
Haha! Good for you! I'm bad about letting my "good" animals have some slack. My big black dog gets away with murder most of the time, because I know he really knows the rules deep down. And Guinness is allowed a lot of slack, too. Of course, once both of them step over the line too many times or too far, I give them a good reminder of why they are usually so good. It only takes one reminder for peace to be restored.
2/9/2015 09:48:13 am
For the most part, Speedy doesn't need to be reminded too often, but occasionally, WHAMMO! It works every time. :0)
2/9/2015 09:49:18 am
Speedy's not a huge fan of extended grooming either. I can deal with grumpy faces, but that's my limit. :0)
2/9/2015 01:11:41 am
Baaaaahaha!!! "The horse you lead is the horse you ride", no?
2/9/2015 09:49:44 am
No doubt about THAT!
2/9/2015 09:50:13 am
Kids and dogs too! :0)
2/9/2015 04:10:43 am
Wow! Speedy sounds a lot like my old thoroughbred gelding, Roz. Lots of personality for sure!
2/9/2015 09:51:04 am
He simply OOZES personality which is what frequently gets him into trouble! :0)
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
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