Monday, May 25, 2009

She's had a brain transplant!

Well, either a brain transplant or I've finally reached some kind of tipping point with Dixie. I feel like I bumble through life haphazardly and there's no way I have managed to be consistent and kind enough to deserve THIS from her, so it must be aliens.

Ok, today's saddle experiment was back in my saddle, re-rigged so it uses both rings on each side. A quick google doesn't turn up a good explanation, so I'll give it a stab and maybe one of yall knows the name of this? You take a long latigo and run it from the front ring, down to the girth, up to the back ring, back down to the girth, back up to the front ring, and tie off there. It puts the girth a skosh further back, and it pulls the back of the saddle tighter against the horse, which is good in my case.

I put the stirrups back on too >:(

She's still in heat but she managed to walk down the aisle without stopping to pee for every horse on the way. She was actually pretty sprightly and alert when I rode! I didn't manage to get her attention at first - lots of wandering around aimlessly. She meandered to a stop by a little spilled hay FOUR times, and every single time I just locked the reins so she couldn't drop her head to eat it and waited til she decided to pay attention to me again. The fifth time I got annoyed - locked the reins, nudged her side with my leg, then kicked her when she ignored me.

That got her attention! But here's the crazy part - she didn't flip out and bolt into a wall. She didn't suck up behind the bit or try to rip the reins out of my hands. She settled down and started working for me.

I finally got her on the bit, too. She has decided that it's ok if I hold the reins with enough tension that they don't flop in the wind. See what I mean? Aliens have transplanted her brain.

We've got a long way to go, but I feel like we've finally made a big step in the right direction.

Anyway after I rode I yanked the saddle off and hopped back on bareback. Just cause. I didn't post any more about riding bareback the other day because it was such a non-event - I got on, she was mildly confused, we walked around, I got off. Did the exact same thing again today.

I swear to god, if I'd tried to get on her bareback a year ago or 6 months ago and my foot had whacked her butt on the way over, she'd have thought I was trying to kill her and spun/reared/bolted. I'd have ended up in the dirt just like Julian. But lately it's ok if I do strange things to her.

I have been on Cloud Nine all day, yall.


  1. The brain fairy visited! Whoot! :)

  2. your saddle girthing arrangement is called "center-firing" around here. I used this method for years until I bought my current saddle. Very secure, especially with, uh, "traditionally-built" horses.

    Isn't it great when the aliens replace the brains? Do you think you should wrap her fly mask in tinfoil so they can't swap the old brain back?

  3. YAY FOR YOU AND DIXIE! That's awesome!

    I have a friend who's a John Lyons certified trainer. She has always said that she finds that some TWHs can take a really, really long time to understand something. But once they get it, they have GOT IT. They will never forget. I think it's true in some cases--it just all depends on the horse.

    Anyway, I love the fact that Dixie is figuring out what you're looking for now. It's so hard to retrain TWHs so they don't know GO all the time. You are doing awesome!

    Also, the saddle rigging you described is called endurance rigging. It's commonly used on endurance saddles and pretty much started in that discipline. I used it on my Crest Ridge plantation saddle. It's a great way to distribute the tree across the horse's back. See this link and scroll down to Tucker Rigging Styles - Enduro-Balanced Single Tie:

  4. AareneX is right--I've heard the term "center firing" as well.

    Tinfoil flymasks! That's PERFECT! I swear when my mother-in-law's mare goes into heat she has also had her brain swapped by aliens.

  5. hopefully the aliens won't notice til they're really far away that they got the wrong brain: )

  6. See now, when my aliens come they replace Gogo's brain for a nutso one, so maybe they just fly their spaceship between your horse and mine, swapping brains just to confuse us? We need to get some alien radar up in here, stat. And then take two good brains and send them on their way with the bad brains.


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