Yesterday when I was putting fly sheets back on the horses I came to the realization that George is not Piney. Yes I obviously knew that when I got him. I knew that no horse will ever be Piney. But what I mean, is that with Piney I got away with being super lazy around him because he was in fact super lazy. I knew him and I knew that when I fussed with his clothing he wasn’t going to do anything. George on the other hand hates being clothed. He doesn’t prance, or dance around me. He stands still and lets me drape sheets, blankets and whatever on him but you can’t take an eye off of his head, because those ears get pinned and he will try to eat you. It then hit me, that when I got Piney I couldn’t take my eyes off his legs because he would in fact kick you or try to at least. I remember the first time I wasn’t paying attention to his legs shortly after I got him, and I was chatting with the barn owner and fussing with something on his side, then “BAM” he got me, right in the middle of my thigh. As time went on he stopped his kicking thing. But when he was still new to me I was super cautious about those legs. I even used a stud chain on him for the first few months because I was always expecting him to flip a switch in his head and then become a ‘typical thoroughbred’. There were a few TBs at the barn that you couldn’t lead without a chain either under their chin or over their nose. He never really turned into that ‘typical thoroughbred’ so I just got lazy with him.
I am still learning about George and he is learning about me. It’s a process. An important process that I seem to have forgotten. When I got Piney it took me a while to trust him. Those first couple months riding him I hopped on with the feeling that TODAY was going to be the day he bucked me off, or bolted with me or did something terrible. That day never came so I got lazy. I also got sloppy in my normal cautious horse handling. Not dangerous or stupid by any means, but sloppy. If that even makes sense. I knew he wasn’t going to do anything stupid so I could get lazy. Usually I was by the book safe in handling horses especially when leading them. When done riding instead of dismounting normally and then taking the reins to go and untack them. I’d slide off like a weirdo, and then start walking away, Piney would just follow me I never had to grab his reins. His personality and temperament made me look like I stuck WAY more time into his training than I actually did. He made me look good and I had people asking me what I did to get him to be so ‘safe’. That my friends, is a good question. I had a dressage judge once tell me that he wanted a whole pasture filled with Piney’s so that he’d look like an awesome trainer.
George, is not there yet. He might not ever get there. And you know what. That is ok. Piney was my once in a lifetime horse. He was in my life for a reason. I call him my ‘gateway’ thoroughbred. He showed me how amazing thoroughbreds can be. I could do anything with that horse, well anything but trailer and canter. He was an amazing ambassador for the breed. Everyone stared at me in disbelief when I told them he was an ex racehorse. “But he’s so calm!” is what I heard most often. I wish more people could have seen him and met him so they could see that not all TB’s are nut cases. They can be calm and even lazy horses suitable for any rider. I had no problem putting a small child on him. He always took care of his person, especially small children. One thing I always wished about Piney was that he had a bit more ‘get up and go’…so enter…George. He has a bit more of a firey personality. Don’t get me wrong he is a dream to work with on the ground (OTHER than his whole pissy attitude about clothing). He LOVES people, much like all ex-racing TB’s I’ve encountered. My vet and farrier were both impressed that for his age and breed he wasn’t like “most thoroughbreds” they work with. I guess right now it’s all a guessing game as to what he’s like undersaddle. He has got all the makings to be what I’ve always wanted in a horse.