Saturday, March 28, 2009

Crossroads Part I

I ate dirt twice today. But not because I was bucked off.

Kenya reared twice. And I don't mean that she just popped up a little in the front. I'm talking Hi Ho Silver. The whole event, from first rear, to second time in the dirt, elapsed over less than 2 minutes. I got back up on her both times, although the second time took some strong encouragement from Mrs. BR. I'm not ashamed to admit that I was scared to get on her the second time. I'm 43, and have long since entered that phase of life where I am aware of my own mortality. I'm not in a rush to reach the hereafter.

Rearing is DANGEROUS. No other word describes it. While it may look cute to see a Silver rearing with Roy Rogers aboard, that was a horse and rider who were trained to do it in a safe manner. In all other instances, there is a high risk of severe injury to the horse or rider, due to the horse flipping over backwards. Riders have been killed from this.

Why did she rear? I'm not entirely sure. In both instance, she reared immediately after I applied leg pressure, the cue to move forward. This was not new to her, and had always yielded the desired result, before today.

The first time I think was out of fear, although of what I do not know. I'm inclined to think that the second time was a result of her discovery that she could get rid of me by doing so.

I cannot say that I am entirely surprised by this behavior. In the past she has show a tendency to be a bit light in the front end, rearing up at things that scare her. If this is her initial reaction to fear, what happens if I am 50 miles out in the backcountry, something scares her, she rears, and throws me onto a rock, or off a cliff?

The problem is this: once a horse develops a habit of rearing, it is difficult, if not impossible to train this out of them. That's not just my personal opinion. I talked with a professional trainer, and also with my father-in-law, who is Old School Cowboy, and has been riding and training horses for over 60 years. The consensus seems to be: This can get me seriously injured, if not killed, and there are too many good horses out there to spend time on a dangerous one.

This causes me great pain. I really like this horse, and I do not want to be one of those people who cuts and runs at the first sign of trouble. However, it would irresponsible to knowingly place myself in such danger, particularly with a family who depends on me.

I have not decided the outcome of this, yet. I did feel that my readers deserve to know that things are currently amiss. I will let you all know more, when I know more.


Anonymous said...

I think you were very brave and I was very proud of you! :)

Daphne said...

She's a mare, BR, ladies can be unpredictable until you find their sweet spot or the right bit.

I'd love to see some video of your exciting rodeo adventures. And please stay safe.

Ann from Montana said...

I am so sorry that things have come to a point that a difficult decision has to be made.

Trust is so important - between people or us and our animals.

My thoughts with you and your family as you decide the course of action.

Christina LMT said...

Good luck, B.R. I hope you can figure out what's wrong and fix it before you have to cut your losses. I'll be rooting for you!

Buck said...

I read these last two posts out of order... and I gotta say you're a better man than I, Buckskins. I dunno if I could have even contemplated getting back on a second time.

I like the facts that you've not given up on Kenya, that you've talked the issue over with a trusted trainer, and you've hit on an alternate strategy. Good luck with it... and her!

Buckskins Rule said...

Thanks for the support, everyone.

I definitely find myself between a rock and a hard place. I don't want to throw in the towel to easily, but at the same time, it's not worth putting myself at risk of severe injury or death.

Buck: I wouldn't say that getting back on the 2nd time makes me a better man. Borderline crazy, perhaps.

Anonymous said...

WOW! pretty impressive you got on a second time. I'm sorry to hear about the rearings. My horse reared on me the other day. Silver for sure! she was next to the barn and we had a pile of wood behind us. So I had two options if she flipped, die, or flip off. I prepared to do the latter. Fortunately she went back on all four and I remained in my saddle. Perhaps your horse was frustrated\spooked. What I do whenver my horse rears, I dismount and walk her for a bit so she relaxs and she can see what she is scared of, or her frustration with me by her side.