Thursday, July 17, 2008

That's the Last Time I Buck Hay in a Tanktop

I have little red scratchies all over my arms, ugh. Didn't think about that before I started tossing hay bales around.

Today is my birthday! I am officially 18 years old.

Every time I ride on my birthday, I wonder if I'm going to get bucked off.

Let me tell you the story:

It started a couple years ago, on I think my 15th birthday. Some friends gave me a lovely little mechanical hackamore to try on Bailey! What fun!

I put it on him, figuring he'll be fine, since I regularly ride him bareback in a halter. So I tack him up, hop in the saddle, and start walking around on a long rein. I pick up the trot. Buck. Buck, buck. Trot, head toss. Buck buck buck. As usual, I boot him through it, fully aware even at this point in my riding career that the best answer to a buck is to go forward.

Buck, buck, buck. BUCK. Buck buck.

At this point, the bucks are getting nasty. Let me tell you something -- Bailey was a very honest horse. Even his bucks were honest. He was never trying to get me off; he only wanted to let me know he was displeased. They were always smooth and relatively low.

Not these ones.

When I got thrown far enough forward by a big one that I was actually close to falling off, I decided to hop off. I put the longe line on so I could see what was up (I do have the occasional moment of foresight). So I start longing him on the circle.

Canter Buck. BUCK BUCK BUCK, buck buck, canter, head toss, BUCK BUCK.

"Man," I said, "I'm REALLY glad I'm not riding those ones."

Buck buck. Buck.

Then I got smart and took the hackamore off.

No more bucking.


So, intelligently enough, I decided to not ride him in that mechanical hackamore anymore. It only took, oh, about a year before I looked at it molding quietly in the tack room and said, "Hmm. The shanks are about seven inches long, and it has a curb chain instead of a curb strap. MAYBE my darling OTTB, never ridden in anything but a french-link snaffle, objected to the leverage and curb chain."

Gee, ya think?

Despite my yearly trepidation about being bucked off, I'm still riding tonight. Since McKinna has only bucked (mildly) twice in the whole time I've ridden her, and both times were when she was misbehaving and I kicked her, I think I'm safe.

This is more for my reference than anything, but here's upcoming posts:
My Ride Last Night
The Talk at Leadership Camp
Bailey Update
The Horse's Perspective
Cake Walk at OHSET
Long Reining, Trial 3
College (and Horses)


Misadventures Of A Horse Crazed Mind said...

Happy Birthday! I hope you have an excellent ride tonight. I feel bad because I started a blog last week after reading Mugwamps for a while and struggled to come up with a name. Finally the one I have now came in to my mind. I didnt realize that I had obviously read it somewhere else, probably on Mugwamps blog. Sorry! My birthday is in July too, on the sixth.

mugwump said...

Happy Day! I am so glad your horse explained mechanical hackamores to you! I hate, hate, hate them....
They are vicious instruments of torture that people buy thinking they're "nicer" than a nasty old bit. Ugh. Did I mention I hate them?

manymisadventures said...

misad -- no worries! I understand, I get ideas from things I've read places and then later on go "oops, I guess that wasn't so original after all." This one I can guarantee is original though, because I thought of it years ago! I had a blog for a little while called "The Daily Bailey," and then when we got McKinna I considered adding the many misadventures etc, but it was too long!

Mugwump, after Bailey so eloquently showed me his disdain for one, I have never put one on a horse again. Especially now that I understand how they work and how nasty they can be.

I just wish more people could be educated about them. I didn't really know any better, but at least I understood the fundamental concept of long shanks = more pressure faster.

mugwump said...

OK McKinna- Now I'll mess with you some more....Longer shanks DO mean more pressure, but they also have a longer lag time before contact. So I'm happier in a long shanked broken mouth piece, than say, a Tom Thumb.I train for the eventual use of a full bridle, and I want my horse to respond to the list of my for thought.

mugwump said...

Oops, that would be "lift of the reins"

manymisadventures said...

This is true :) Sorry -- I suppose I shouldn't have included the "faster."

Tell me, are Tom Thumbs the ones with single-jointed mouthpieces or do they have a center piece?

Misadventures Of A Horse Crazed Mind said...

Mugs- I am curious about the Tom Thumb too. The one I had was broken with no bean and had about a four inch shank. I ride a finished bridle horse in my reining lessons and have learned how easily a long shank can be used or abused. There is a lot of feather light contact to be had there but for an less experience rider like myself it can be difficult to not pick up too much, too quickly.

I have found that english rider especially dont seem to grasp the advancement of a western bridle horses from snaffle to to half breeds to full bridles. It seems an english rider only steps out of a snaffle when they are having trouble with control, using it as a tool to become heavier rather than lighter as it would in a finished bridle horse. I own really well bred reining mare that was tuned on to make the futurities. She has grape size scar tissue on either side of her mouth from some asshat.

Misadventures- thank you for being so gracious about the name thing. I am thinking I might try to repost my blog entries to date on to a new blog...I'd hate to be unoriginal! lol Love your blog!

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