Saturday, March 23, 2013

Saint and Sinner

Aside: 17K views! Huzzah! Thanks!

Went on a short 6 mile ride yesterday afternoon. I thought it would be a great opportunity to get both horses out on the trail: riding Q, ponying Griffin. The last time I did this we did 10 miles and Griffin was a champ right until the last mile. He and Q volleyed for the front position the entire time! It was one of the faster rides I'd ever done because they were competing with each other.

I was crazy for thinking it'd be that good again!

Q was forward,willing, and sweet from the moment I got her from the field (I love her). Griffin and two of the others were napping as I drove in, but by the time I got my act together and got to the field they were all up and he was walking toward me.

I tacked Q up and put the side-pull ponying halter on Griffin, and we set off from the barn at a nice walk with Q on a super loose rein and Griffin ponying along like a champ. Good horses!

1½ miles out, Griffin starts lagging. Weird for him. I watch and watch him. No lameness or general "off"ness. Just appears to be lazy and stubborn coming out. I proceed figuring, "Eh, as soon as I turn for home I bet he's stepping out like a champ." (I did alter my original plan from 8 miles to 6 miles though.)

We get to the rail trail at mile 2 and Griffin is DRAGGING. He trots, sure, but he trots the slowest trot ever. Q wasn't going that fast, it was her average 5-7mph trot, no where in her 8-12mph range. And yet, he's DRAGGING. Nose in the air from the halter pressure, dragging along like a sullen, hungover teenager.

I flopped around in the saddle trying various antics to keep him near as he'd speed up an eensy bit only to slow again drastically, jerking me from my perch (I didn't want to risk dropping the rope in numerous situations because if he'd turned and bolted for home he would have had 1 road with fast traffic to contend with). I hemmed and hawed and heaved and hoed and Q, bless her, was a SAINT. She focused on her job of moving forward and ignored all of my antics in the saddle. I love her.

I slowed Q to a walk a time or two to only have Griffin walk the slowest 1 mph walk EVER. UGH!

This back and forth dragging trot and walk was our ride for the whole 6 miles. MISERY.

After circling, slowing, and other antics proved futile in speeding up Griffin and I realized I just had a stubborn mule on my hands, I verbally abused the crap out of him in my frustration (sticks and stones would have hurt his bones, so words seemed like fair play!). Griffin, OHMYGAWD WALK! This is ABSURD! C'monnnn horse! Why can't you walk? What is this nonsense! GRIFFIN. COME. ON. ERMAHGERD. GRIFFIN! *slows, circles, continues, Griffin drags his feet and shakes his impish little TWH head* GRIFFIN! SERIOUSLY. COME. ON. Please? Walk. Just walk. FASTER. This is absurd. I KNOW you can do this better. COME. ON. Griffin! IF THIS WERE THE OREGON TRAIL I'D HAVE LEFT YOUR ASS!!

And that's how it went.

RIGHT as we got onto farm property about a ½-mile out, he trots. He canters.Without any provocation from me other than my verbal tirade. Ass.

I took off his halter for the short remainder on farm property, and Q and I had a nice little jaunt back to the barn without our baggage. He ran after us then decided to stop and eat grass right outside the barn paddock. *$)%&#)(&^

Thank god my little Q mare is such a saint when times merit it. I LOVE her. Griffin? Hrrmph. He's just lucky he's got such an incredible track record of having an insatiable need to please and trying his hardest for me all the time...and being a lovebug.

Its a good thing he's so cute and sweet 98% of the time!


  1. That's when I cut him loose and let him lag as much as he wants. (With that said, I don't know your trails, your horses, or whether he'd just turn around and go home, so, yeah.) What a jerk!

  2. Trick for next time: carry an extra long lunge line or a long rope with you, and put a surcingle on the little man. If he starts lagging, attach one end of the rope or lunge line to his halter, then run the length of it through one of the rings on the side of the surcingle, around his butt, up his other side, through the halter and into your hand. If he lags and you pull, you'll be pulling ALL of him. This is an old trick for teaching horses to respond to a halter and lead, but I think it would work for ponying even better.

    You can use the pressure-release system with this get-up, putting pressure when you want him to come and releasing when he responds. Of course practice this first at home to make sure he doesn't freak over the rope around his butt. :)

  3. The rope around griffin's hind end would look like in photo #1, except you'd use the surcingle to help keep it in place while ponying:

  4. Oooh Saint n Sinner would be a GREAT registered name for a horse!! lol

    Little buggers aren't they?

  5. Oooh Saint n Sinner would be a GREAT registered name for a horse!! lol

    Little buggers aren't they?