Sunday, January 23, 2011

Running the Gauntlet

We had just returned from the Horse Expo in Maryland. This is the first time that we went to a horse show and I didn't find myself in the supplement aisle looking for some magic cure for Metro. Usually Wendy and I split up, she goes one way looking for sparkly baubles to adorn Pork Chop with, and I end up in the medicine section. I am always on the lookout for any scientific breakthrough that would make Metro a healthy horse again.
If equine science ever advances to the point that knee transplants are possible, Metro will be sporting a brand new pair of Chestnut colored knees, courtesy of Pork Chop.
Wendy thinks that we bought her Pork Chop so she could have her own horse. I am of the mind, that we bought Pork Chop for spare parts, in case Metro ever needs a kidney.
But Metro has been doing great lately, so no need for magic cures today.
When we returned to the barn, we found all the neighbors riding around in the arena. When the ground is frozen, and they can't ride outdoors, Ed lets them ride in the indoor. There were 4 horses and riders in the arena, mostly cowboy types, roping barrels and dragging them around.
I nice opportunity to expose Metro to some activity and hopefully de-sensitize him to the the whole "getting excited when other horses are running around" thing. So I ran to the other barn to get my boy and bring him in. I found Metro covered in mud. Good old Metro. Always the one to make a good first impression with the neighbors.
We brought him and Pork Chop in to watch the action. Metro was alert but not out of control like he was over the weekend. His eyes were wide and his ears were up as he watched every move that the horses made. Pork Chop went to sleep. I think he will be fine for the next show in February.
Pork Chop was a pony horse at the track for a year before we bought him. I think they are called "outriders".
He was the horse that rode along side the racehorses as they did the post parade and warm up on their way to the starting gate. He was the one that had to get chewed on by the overactive thoroughbred about to race. Nothing fazes the big boy except not being the first one fed.
Metro, on the other had, was the overactive thoroughbred doing the chewing on the way to the gate. He still gets excited by all the activity.
Talking about Metro and all his quirks, I sometimes times fail to realize how far he has come since we got him off the track.
The horse that I couldn't lead from Point A To Point B, because he was so stubborn, he had to plant his feet and refuse to move, has turned into the horse I can back up 15 feet with just a wiggle of my finger.
The horse I couldn't groom or blanket without his head being restrained by cross ties for fear of losing an arm, is now ground tying.
I can drop his lead line on the floor of the barn, groom and saddle him and he will stay in the same place.
I can walk into the tack room, have a sandwich, come back in 10 minutes, to find Metro in the same spot I left him.
Not having him in the cross ties does open me up for his intimidation tactics though. He will still swing his head around as I cinch up his saddle, just to let me know that he could bite me, but at this time chooses not to.
He will play this game with Wendy also. I groom Metro right in front of the tackroom, so when Wendy needs to get Pork Chop's saddle, she has to run the "Metro Gauntlet".
Metro will see Wendy coming to pass through the 4-foot opening between himself and the wall on the way to the tackroom and swing his head around to block her path like a Russian border guard dropping the gate.
"I need to see zee papers." After a short stand-off Metro will let her pass, only to play again on her way back.
I don't know if he is trying to intimidate Wendy, or just buying time for Pork Chop, who doesn't take the whole ground tying thing as seriously, to go over, open the tack box, and help himself to the horse treats. Which he always seems to do, when Wendy is out of sight.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you've come a long way with Metro. Good for you.

    Not sure what to think about the gauntlet without seeing his expression. Is it just a game or is it about territory?