After that, Leah continued to work with Huxley on the gymnastics and more IHSA type courses, and State and I did some jumper stuff. We did some really steep broken lines, jumping the line on a 30 degree angle. and then two rollbacks, and one really steep rollback, where I had to shorten State's stride to a five or six foot stride to make it. Overall it was a success, and in my next lesson we will do some big stuff, and jump him 3'6-3'9. Anne wants me to get a feel for how cool he really is, and how well he can really jump.
This morning I got up early and finished a paper before heading to the barn. I thought I was getting there early enough to have time to ride, but to my surprise when I pulled up Dr. Shuler and Jim Bob were already there. Dr. Shuler did say she had sharp edges on her molars, but that overall her teeth weren't that bad. In general, the blame is on Heath, because the pony is barely broken. Dr. Shuler suggested that Jim Bob find a really country family with about eight kids to take her, and get her really broken. Basically what I took from this is that the bad horsemanship offered by 7 kids running around and doing everything with her would probably break her spirit. I told him that if any kids got hurt because of her, that would be on him. It scares me to think that anyone would consider sending a green broke, semi-dangerous pony to a bunch of kids who probably have no health insurance, and who probably have very little experience working with a young horse. I guess one could say ignorance is bliss, and that the horse would come out better in the end, but maybe I'm just from a different world.
In my world, no one would ever send a horse to be broken by 7 children. Horses get sent to professionals, to be brought along slowly and correctly. And that is what I am offering to Jim Bob. He asked me, well its up to you, what do you want to do with her. I told him that I would keep her for another month, and then after that I will be gone for 6 weeks. I will be home for Christmas, and then in January I will be taking a photography course in London. I won't be back until February. So I told him I would work with her until then and after that he can choose what to do with her, and if he wants to leave her at Grayson's thats fine, and I will work with her again in the spring.
We spent a while talking about the most effective way to work with her. The majority of the horses I have worked with in my life have been mares. At least the horses I have worked really closely with. Therefore, I think I have a pretty good understanding of how their minds work, and I don't think these men who she has been around do. You can beat information into a gelding, you can manhandle a stallion. You cannot under any circumstances do that to a mare. She will hold a grudge, stay mad and take it right back out on you. Jim Bob says he understands this, but I'm skeptical. He talked about taking her home over the winter when I'm gone, and "gettin' her broke". I responded with well she need knowledge but she also needs some lovin'. He said "oh I'll give her some lovin'". I laughed but said seriously, "I mean MY idea of loving, not yours." I had gotten a sarcastic vibe from him, that made me think that he would probably do what everyone else was doing to her, and trying to force information into her, rather than giving her a path of education to follow, and choices.
I'm learning a lot about people in this process, and a lot about expectations of young horses. I have worked with lots of young horses, but the young horses I have worked with before, have generally been handled, and many I have just found need to be REeducated. This situation is a combination of the two - she needs what little knowledge she has, reworked into positive experiences, and into a true education. Then she will truly be "broke"