I can’t believe I haven’t posted about this yet. Well, yes I can. The weather has been sucky so it has been draining my energy and making me mopey. The winds here have FINALLY let up for the most part, but I haven’t seen the sun in days! Anyways last week I finally rode Duke. I wasn’t planning on it but it kinda just happened.
Let’s talk about Duke for a while here shall we? Duke is my husband’s horse. He’s owned him for I think 8 years now. When Duke first came into his life hubby was living in the same town and was able to ride every single day, which he did. Duke was awesome when he was worked all the time. Well hubby moved away and Duke became a pasture ornament. He was ridden a couple times a year, but mostly he was a hay burner and that was just fine. Duke grew to like his buddies and life of leisure so he acquired some awful habits to assure that he would remain with his buddies and his delicious hay. When ridden he would become a great big crap head. Crap isn’t usually the word I use, I generally use a more colorful word to describe him, but I’ll keep this PG. He will do a lot of spinning towards the barn, and offer some little baby rears, or he will just freeze in place. He’s done if for a lot of different riders who usually just give in to him because they are freaked out. When he does those things for hubby it just ends up pissing him off until he is so mad that he doesn’t want to ride anymore. Hubby has been riding a lot longer than I have, he’s a great rider, but he doesn’t have the patience for bull crap like I do. I generally take a safe horse over a bat crap crazy one, so I’ve never had to deal with their bull crap first hand. But I’ve watched a lot of people deal with the naughty horses though so I have played out scenarios in my head for many, many years of what I would do when faced with a big jerk of a horse. I got to live out the scenarios first hand last week when we went riding.
We rushed home from work because the weather was so beautiful and we’d both been itching to ride again after our awesome Saturday ride. I walked out of the house to see hubby and Duke butting heads by the barn. Duke was glued in palce and was refusting to walk around the corner of the barn. Then hubby yelled over to me “he won’t move, I don’t want to deal with his crap today”. So I smiled and called Duke my little sweetie, ran my fingers through his whispy little forelock and then grabbed his lead rope from my agrivated husband. I then swung the lead rope behind me and it brushed against Duke’s big gut and low and behold he was walking around the corner of the barn with me. I tied him up kissed Duke on the nose and said “I’m not taking your crap today sweetie!” and then went to get my tack ready for my monster.Tacking up of the beasts was pretty uneventful but hubby was done before me and mounted up. I could see it on both of them that it was going to be one of those rides. Duke was already pulling his favorite moves on hubby, and hubby was getting frustrated. I hurried to finish and mount up, hoping that once I got Piney going down the road and into the field, Duke would follow. Nope. Duke was set on staying at home and being an ass. Hubby managed to get him into the field where Piney and I were patiently waiting, but Duke was not going anywhere. I hate when this happens. Because when Duke doesn’t want to go anywhere I don’t get to go anywhere. Sure I could just go on by myself, but I feel like a jerk doing so. At one point hubby hopped off after calling Duke every name in the book, he looked up at me and said “ I want a new horse. Just get rid of this one.” Well that isn’t going to happen. As much fun as getting a new horse might be, I’ve grown rather attached to that crap head. I asked if he wanted me to get on, and he didn’t because he didn’t want to risk me getting hurt. HECK I don’t want myself getting hurt, but I figured that I need to try something because this behavior is getting really, really old and I want to ride longer than 10 minutes DAMNIT!
So I slid off my dear, sweet Piney who was like “oh we are stopped? Cool. I’ll just stand here mom all right?” And I took a deep breath, and said a quick prayer as I grabbed the reins and a handful of Duke’s mane. I hopped into the saddle and just left the stirrups incredibly long. I really, really didn’t want to deal with them. And you shouldn’t rely on stirrups all the time right? Okay so maybe I just tell myself that so I feel better about not using them. I asked Duke to go forward and he spun around, so I turned him around and asked him to go forward. He took one step then spun around and hopped up into a baby rear. He did this a few more times. I was freaked the eff out and getting kind of mad. I urged him forward and we started to dance. He’d pull some crap so I’d pull him into a tight circle. We did a lot of circles until I asked him to go forward and he would. What? Was he actually doing what I asked? He sure was. I praised the hell out of him. We did some big rectangles and squares in the field so I knew that he was listening and doing what I asked of him. When he was doing everything I asked we started to ride off down a little ditch in the field. I could tell he was starting to relax and let out some big relaxed snorts and sighs. Almost like he was saying “You win lady, hey this isn’t really that bad. Hey mom can I have some treats when we get home?” We were losing daylight, so we decided to end on a great note and head home.I’m sure I did a million things wrong and I’m sure someone will point it out to me. But I handled the situation the best I knew how. And it was the first time I was faced with this type of situation. When I started to get him figured out I was having fun with him. Am I going to go out and get an un broke horse this weekend and start him from scratch? HELL NO! I have no idea how to do that and am the wrong person to start a horse. Will I get on another horse with a little attitude about life? Sure. Duke KNOWS what to do, but he’s found that being an ass, he doesn’t have to work harder than he wants too. If you can get him to snap out of his bull crap right away, he is a fun horse. You just need to remind him who the boss is from the start of he will walk all over you.
I am proud of getting on him and working through his bull crap. I always thought that when I rode him I would be a day that I’d planned on riding him, and that he’d be a dream from the start. I guess that old Marilyn Monroe quote stands true for Ol Duke-y boy!
“I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.”
― Marilyn Monroe
― Marilyn Monroe