Monday, November 30, 2009

Laying Down on the Job

So living here in wonderful Seattle means that in the winter time blankets and rain sheets are a must!!! So I pulled out my Paint mare to take her for a spin and got her all brushed really nice and tacked up, then we head to the arena. I do my normal groundwork with her so she can let a bit of steam off and then I get on and proceed to do some walking flexing, circles, side passing, just little things to turn on her thinker.

Well at the moment her thinker was somewhere else. We were walking a nice circle and she lowered her head nicely, I figured she was stretching down or sniffing some horsie calling cards. She had her head all the way down and without she just laid down. Just like that, no warning. No pawing or circling, just laid her big 'ol booty down. It really took me a second to think about what I was supposed to do LOL. I'd seen horses lay down before with riders on their back, but have never been one of them. My mare laid down on her right side so I kicked out my right foot and dove/clambered over her and got the hell out her way. She attempted to roll, but with the saddle found it too difficult and once I had my wits about me I chased her up off the ground and sent her off to work. After a few minutes when I was done laughing hysterically, I proceeded to mount my horse and try this whole silly riding thing again....

It was truly a humorous and un-nerving experience all at the same time. I promised my mare that tomorrow I would let her roll FIRST, before I tacked her up and rode her. I guess with her winter fur, the moisture and her blanket she was a little itchy and needed a good scratching, just preferably not with me on her back.... I feel I can now say I've been through 99% of horse craziness. Bucking, rearing, bolting, falling and now laying down on the job....

I know some of you out there have your own stories of something silly a horse has done to you!!!!

16 comments:

JohnieRotten said...

I showed this mare in the early 90's that was a hell of a little character.

When she came in to training with me she had already had a strange but funny habit....everytime you would put your foot in the stirrup the first time you got on her, she would let out this high pitched squeal and lay down.

After that you could get on her no problem.

smazourek said...

My Stepfather's standardbred rolled in the middle of a creek during a trailride one day. He got out in the middle where the water was about a foot deep, pawed twice and went down. Fortunately the saddle was a Wintec and didn't get ruined.

My arabian did it to me once. We were out riding bareback in a gorgeous, high grass pasture and he went down without any notice. I managed to hop off when he hit the ground and back on when he came back up.

Horses are funny sometimes.

autumnblaze said...

For some reason, that was THE only advice my dad gave me when I left for my first riding lesson. He didn't want me to ride, BTW.

I'm walking out the door (I'm 18) and he goes, 'You know what to do if your horse lays down?' I say, step off. He said 'Yup'. And went back to reading his paper.

Never had one lay down... though I have had a horse fall due to deep sand transitioning into the canter. That wasn't all that fun.

Equus said...

AH!! When I was young, my pony used to lie down at every. Single. Show we went to. I cried and cried, but of course everyone else thought it was a riot. I actually walked away with a few sympathy prizes thanks to his rolling habit. A few years ago my main cowhorse decided a LAKE was a good place to roll, after moving cattle all day. Sort of takes you by surprise so by the time I got him out of the roll, we were both soaking wet ;)

kestrel said...

I used to have a QH that you had to really watch around apple trees...he'd back into the tree and expect you to stand on his back and pick him an apple. Hey, it was the routine he and his kid had worked out! If you said "not today" he'd pout and walk off dragging his feet, doing a drama dude heavy sigh...

imperialhighness said...

Man, I'll never forget it. I was at my barn during a riding camp type of thing. It had been rainy and the BO hadn't bothered to even attempt to dry off the school horses (it was her and her daughter and at least 10 horses, and she was too cheap to buy sheets.) With total beginner little kids on them, the two oldest, most broke school horses lumbered over to the far side of the arena, looked around, and proceeded to lie down to roll. They went down super slowly so the kids were able to get off and out of the way. Then they got up, didn't even shake, and proceeded on with the lesson.

Grocery Girl said...

i was riding a saddlebred for a lady one day (was used as a trail horse so had never been sored or anything), got on at the mounting block, horse took two steps then went down to her knees. i got her back up and we went about our business but it was really bizarre.

last week a bunch of boarders at my barn decided to go on a trail ride. they were walking along when they all heard this huge SPLOOSH! turns out one of the horses, with his rider on board, had decided to jump down the 10-foot embankment for a swim in the creek. they were both okay, but definitely more than a bit cold. who knows what that horse was thinking.

kestrel said...

No matter how well trained a horse is it still has a mind of it's own. What was the name of the famous jumper that bucked after a fence? GL?! I remember reading an article where they had retrained him and he quit bucking, but wasn't jumping as well so the rider just went back to letting him buck. They won a lot, but were just interesting to watch!

BluelineGoddess said...

I was a horse-crazy 13-year-old that got a chance to work with a trainer, mostly in regards to a broodmare, her 2-year-old son and weanling filly. The broodmare was green but quite gentle, and the trainer was confident enough in my riding abilities to trust me on the mare as long as he was able to supervise (usually as he was giving a lesson, I'd pretty much stake out a corner of the arena and work on walk/trot).

One day we're in the indoor arena and the mare started stretching out her neck. I shook the reins to get her attention as she sometimes liked to look around and get distracted. Next thing I knew, she was on her side. Yep, she rolled on me. I was able to step off and pretty much stood there embarrassed as she finished rolling, stood up, and shook the dirt off. The trainer was losing it on the other end of the arena, and when I got back on and rode by him he said "they have to train camels to do that!".

In his eyes, no harm, no foul. She never did it again, so we could only assume she had a bad itch under the saddle. To date, it's the only time a horse has ever done that to me.

Tammy said...

Oh, they pull so many stunts, but the one that comes to mind....

Last year, when on vacation in S Dakota, we loaded the horses up, ready to leave the campsite to head to the next stop. I had forgotten to put on fly masks & asked my son to open the windows and put the masks on them.

When I walked back around the trailer, my mare was standing next to the trailer - outside of the trailer. Odd, since she was the first one in and there were three horses behind her in the slant load STILL in the trailer.

My son was laughing. She was in the stud stall so instead of opening the window, he just opened the stud door. He said my mare kind of looked at him when he opened the door. I guess she thought he was letting her out, but the chest bar was still up. He said she calmly dropped to her knees and went UNDER the chest bar with her entire body and half slid/hopped out of the trailer. I asked if she was panicked? He said "no", that she acted like this was how she got out everyday. She isn't a big horse - just under 15.1 and slight built. But I still look at that chest bar and can't believe she went under it.

Soooo, we had to unload all the horses and reload once again.

Padraigin_WA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Padraigin_WA said...

It's not a rolling story, but a sliding stop one. I took my horse out for a ride on a dirt road one very cold winter day. All went well until he spooked and bolted towards a crossroads, which was at the bottom of the hill we were heading down. I could see that at the intersection lay a large spread of thick ice. As I braced myself expecting a bad fall, he hit it at a full gallop, locked up all four and we slid to a halt.

The Pale Horseman said...

Our old lad always thinks that the grass is greener on the other side. One of the boarders; a friend of ours at the livery yard, couldn't believe her eyes when she saw him get down on his knees, stretch out his neck and shuffle on his knees under the electric fence without breaking it. He had his rug on so whatever tape that touched his back mustn't have got through the rug. He's a sod for escaping and is much smarter than we give him credit for.

GoLightly said...

Probably Gem Twist, kestrel.
Amazing horse, wasn't he?

There were quite a few, the ones that come to this old mind...
Altair. The Immigrant. Cumano, sometimes.

Milton liked to buck during the awards ceremony. He'd actually do a capriole..

Many horse like to do a little buck and play after a particularly well-jumped fence.
A little happy dance:)

I taught my first mare to buck when I tickled her neck while cantering, I thought it was funny.
I had to re-train her to not buck, of course.

paint_horse_milo said...

My gelding can just be too smart for his own good. This past summer my trainer was on him and getting him to do some nice backing, than out of no where, she was backing him and he laid right down. It was warm out about 80 but he wasnt dehydrated and really hadnt been worked that hard. But confused as to what we should do, we ended at that thinking maybe there was a medical problem (which is when we checked for dehydration) or maybe his hocks or back were too weak for the harder backing?

Anyway, next FOUR rides on him, everytime I asked him to back he laid down. Realizing this was now a behavior he created thinking it was his way out, he got worked big time for his laying attempts.

For about three more months he never tried it, but than out of the blue one day he tried again, and again got his butt worked. I think for the most part he knows it doesnt work, but that one day of putting him away after he did it put it in his mind that if he doesnt want to, he lays down. Fortunetly (fingers crossed) he has stopped hi laying ways...

Dangerous said...

I've had my paint mare since she was a yearling, and she's put me through the usually bucking, spinning and bolting although she's never laid down with me. One time when she was about 4 years old I was riding her in an outdoor dressage arena and she kept spooking at one particular spot. I thought she was just being silly. After a few times around the arena, when we got up to the spot again I looked out and saw a coyote just sitting there. I was surprised she didn't have a more severe reaction!
Another time, when she was around the same age, we were just trotting around the arena when a white, fluffy, down feather floated through the air right in front of her. She turned into a kitten! She arched her neck, perked up her ears and literally lifted up her front leg and batted at the feather. I almost died laughing, it was so cute.