The adventures of Gilly the rescue horse and his side kick and partner in crime, Pokey the donkey.


Being with a horse is a journey that never ends. What they have to teach us is amazing; but we must quiet our mind to hear them. ~ jca


Friday, June 4, 2010

Gilly was one BAD boy...........

Wednesday I decided to work with Gilly and his trailer loading, since we hadn't had time to work on it since the clinic. Kim had the truck hooked up to the trailer so good time. I put on his halter and lead and down the road we went, the trailer was out in Kim's field that is at the end of our long hay field.

I thought this is going to be easy because of how good he did after the clinic. I walked him up to the open door and he say NO NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!! I noticed the gritted teeth and the wrinkled nose, oh, boy this can only mean trouble ahead! OK, so we will play the squeeze game and I had him pass between me and the trailer. I was only asking him to walk through but he insisted on trotting and turns were really fast and sometimes there would almost be a buck as he charged through. Was he scared of doing that? No, he was getting himself wound up for what was to come. I asked him to go in the trailer and again the answer was NO! So I worked him some more on the second pass he started running sideways....well, I know what comes next! He starts jumping to the side turns his head to look at me the quick as a whip slings it the other way and the rope snaps right through my hand, giving me a rope burn (I didn't have my gloves on)....then off he charges running as hard as he can go through the hay field! We were about 1/8 of a mile from home and I watched him shoot through between the granary and the sawdust bend, up the road then a quick turn and into the yard! He hasn't done that trick for a long time, BAD HORSE!!!!

I just stood there in disbelief, thinking, oh, great now I have to walk all the way up there and get him. So off Kim and I go to retrieve the bad horse. When we got to the yard he was there just eating like nothing happened. Ho-hum, well, hi mom what are you doing here, I'm just eating, that's all!!! (Grrrrrr!) So I walk up and pick up the rope (still didn't put on my gloves!) down the road we go again.

So we start over, it just escalates to the in a short time to the rope snap again and he is off and running! Years ago when he did this I could see it coming and run toward him and snap that head around and stop it. But now with the PMR crap I have I can't do it and he obviously knows it and takes advantage of it. Had I been able to run at him I would have put his butt in the creek to see what he thought of that. Once I somehow knocked his feet out from under him and down he went. After that one he was so good you wouldn't believe it!! "You win, you win, I'll be good now" For two days you couldn't have asked for a better behaved horse. LOL

I couldn't think of anything to do to him when I caught him again except just tie him up. He wanted to eat grass or go back in the field with Pokey. But he didn't get what he wanted, instead he got to get tied up and stand in the sun for two hours. A time out as it were, did he care? Didn't seem to, he just stood there. As you can see from the pictures he did find something to do. The door was shut but he opened it, chewed on the wood, picked at his rope would look up at the house where I was sitting on the patio, crying cause I was so mad at him.
I fed Pokey his oats and Gilly could see this, but guess what, no supper for a bad horse! He just stood there swishing the flies off and looking up at me like, hey, come here, why am I just standing here? He didn't paw or fuss around, just stood there patiently.

He has also been really fighting pressure from the reins. If I asked him to flex he would stiffen his neck and grind his teeth, now remember we are bitless so it's not his teeth bothering him he is just resisting pressure instead of giving to pressure. So after this blow up I was starting to get pretty worried about what was coming next. I can't ride the crow hops and other things he may start doing so I was racking my brain trying to figure out how to correct this new wrinkle he was throwing at me. If I couldn't get it worked out, were we going to have to get a divorce? This was breaking my heart, I love his horse but how could I be a stronger leader and have him be respectful to me?

Then yesterday while I was in town doing the dreaded grocery shopping it came to me. Backing up. Horses don't like to back up, it is a submissive gesture and they really aren't in control of their feet if they are being made to move backward. Yes, this just might work!!!

When I got home I called Kim and told her that I was going to work Gilly in the round pen (I had put it back together, had to take it down to do hay; took out my frustrations on the round pen cause Gil had really gotten to me) We worked, I really made him work up a good sweat too. Many turns, side ways and backward and he did this all off line. I think he knew that I had an agenda and I wasn't backing down and not taking any more of his sh@t!!! After about 20 minutes we got out of the round pen, backward I might add and backed all the way down to Kim's about 1/8 of a mile away. He was moving his feet pretty quickly too or he just happened to run into the stick. When we got there I let him rest by the trailer, he put his head inside and stood there puffing. When he got his air back we did more backing, around the truck and trailer, I asked him to go in again, only his front feet went in. Ok, that will do for a try, back around the trailer and truck again a few more times. No going forward only backward, finally he decided it would be a real good idea to get in the trailer! (wow, it's nice in here and I don't have to work, I can rest!) We kept backing and backing and backing, he got in two more times, good enough now time to quit on a good note!!!

I wish I had gotten the camera to take down with me, he was so tired his lower lip was hanging and his eyes were about half shut. He was pooped! When we headed home he got to walk forward this time. A hard lesson for him but hope he will remember what happens when you want to be a bugger. This should also help round up his back too so it has some other good points with it.

I worked him in the round pen this morning and then went for a short ride before it got too hot out. He was still wanting to be a little resistant to the pressure of the reins but gave up pretty quickly; if he had started giving me problems I would have just gotten off and we would have gone for a LONG walk with him walking backward. I think I am onto something; he has to think where his feet are going, his head is always straight pointed at me so for him to try and turn to do the head sling, it ain't happening!

He is one tough nut and I am going to have to eat a case of Wheaties to keep up with this boy!!!

Oh, yea, one more thing. Pokey said he wanted to get out to do something when Gilly came back from his trailer loading class. I got him out and took him to the trailer, he just walked right in twice and acted like he was really proud of himself!!! He got lots of hugs and pats for being a good boy......hope he went back and told that dumb ass horse that if you just do what you are told things are SO much EASIER!


from my front porch... said...

This was something! A huge "to-do" in Gilly's mind! It always amazes me how horses *see* things!

It took 3 hours to load Allegra once. Finally she had to be sedated, blindfolded, and we walked her in backwards! And now...that is THE ONLY way she will load!
But, I love that Princess :)

Sydney_bitless said...

Remember: Even to back up the horse has to be moving forward.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Gggrrrr! What a little punk Gilly was being. Sound like he just needed a reminder of who was in control in your herd....and it wasn't was you. Way to go!
You totally got his naughty boy number.
I hate when horses have to keep testing when you expect them to get it the first time, and have to keep going back over it again and again.
I bet you were so mad and tired and the adrenaline was just pumping!

When I had to work with Apache that week after I brought her home from Cedar Hill Farm (she pulled that same neck whip maneuver twice with Colleen and her hubby John!), I also made her work for supper...every day for several hours. She finally got it, too. But it sure is no fun at all.

What a smart little Pokey. He must have been keeping an eye in the proceedings. Good for him. He was just what you needed....a well behaved equine to not give you a hard time.

You deserve a a good rest now.


dexmangoldens said...

Good show of who's boss!! Just lunge him and flex him even before you get on him. Let me know how it goes! DON'T GIVE UP!!!!!!!!!!!

Kate said...

Good thinking, and good work - you'll have to repeat soon to be sure he's convinced.

Alice ~ Folk Art Primitives said...

Wow! That is some story!! Gilly was being like a bad little child! I really didn't know horses were that strong willed!! Hang in there, mama!!!!!!

jane augenstein said...

from my front porch, yes, horses seem to have their own agenda! Oh, my! Allegra was sure having some problems with the trailer. Backing into the trailer, don't think Gilly would do that one; just so long as they get on! :-D


Lisa, wish I could have come up with that when he was being bad, it would have meant more to him then. But we will keep working on things. Gilly is one to keep testing on a daily basis, the brat.
I think all horses know the neck whip-fish out-a-water-flop alright and Gilly can be a master of it.
yes, Pokey is the good one but I can't ride him! LOL

Julie, I do lunge him and flex him before every ride. There are days that he will be so stiff you can't pull his head around just because he is being so resistant to pressure. We are working on that everyday, he is very flexible but when he doesn't want to....grrrrrrr!!!!

Kate, it would be so much easier to get him convinced of the trailer if I had one. The one I have been working him in is my neighbors and she only hooks it to the truck every once in awhile so I can only work him in it then. It makes it hard, I need to convince my husband I NEED a trailer!

Alice, yes, he is a BAD child and a spoiled brat and all because of me. I let him get away with so much as a youngster and now I am paying for it!!! He isn't mean about it though, thank goodness for that!

Desert Rose said...

What a trooper you are!!!! You have to hang in there once you start the task...and you sure stayed with it!!! My tainer here in the PNW is a HUGE believer in the old backing up all the way to CHINA if need be...always seems to work in the end.
Both of my kids were naughty when I brought them in the other day...I rarely get to bring them in from pasture...Jesse was calling for Lady...walking through his lead rope....he got to back up several times before he listened...he broke my toe 6 years ago...was NOT going to happen again!!!

JeniQ said...

I'm sorry you have to deal with Gilly being a big ole bad boy! But what a way to get him to listen and listen well!

Gail H. Ragsdale said...

Round pen work is excellent in many ways. We used to teach our colts to back early in training to help make them supple (and give in to pressure). Glad it worked out for you. Beautiful photos of Gilly too, such a beautiful color! Pokey is one cool ass :)

jane augenstein said...

Desert Rose, the backing up did seem to work just fine for Gil. I have tried other things with him and they don't always work. I guess you just have to find what works with each horse to get the job done.

Gail, yes, the round pen is a wonderful tool if used properly. Several years ago I thought that I wouldn't use it much after I got Gilly started; I was wrong! Gilly is the type of horse that doing a bit of round pen work before every ride is necessary, how much just depends on his thinking that particular day. I do have my work cut out for me!

Jennifer MacNeill-Traylor said...

Gilly is looking quite handsome in his summer coat. Sorry to hear he's being a bugger, must be the TB in him. :) Sounds like you're doing everything right.


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