Forest Festival, Friends, and Horses

Toss in family, and that's an awesome combination. :)

Yesterday I went up to Elkins to catch the Grand Feature Parade (or most of it anyway) and to see Orion and Kit with Chelsea.  

Sorry, most of my pictures are of the bands, seeing as that's the only part of the Forest Festival parade I was ever a part of in high school.  It's the only part I'm ever really interested in, lol.

My band. :)  Elkins High

Buckwheat Festival Queen

Anyone need a Snow Bird report? :)

E.T. heehee

St. Mary's

Tucker County

Strawberry Festival Court


And again, really? Aren't there better ways of advertising for this stuff?



So, the parade was fun....but around 4:00, Chelsea and her roommate, Ashley, and I left to go see our horses.  I was excited and nervous because I haven't been out there for a month.  Orion and I are still new to each other.  What if he had forgotten everything we'd worked on?

Well.  We got out there, and what do you know, Orion and Jake are in the paddock.  Piece of cake.  No running or being a pain in the butt - just walked up and reacquainted myself, then went into the barn and started mixing feed....and then had to go tie Orion anyway because he tried to follow me into the barn.  Baaaad idea.  I was getting the "Hurry up" look from him once he was tied at the fence because he knew exactly what me going into the barn for the first time during a visit meant. lol

While he was eating, I set to work getting the burrs out of his mane.  Ugh.  Didn't take 40 minutes like last time, but it was still bad.  He had these little seed-looking things stuck all over him too - anyone know what those are and how the hell you can get them off? Because I don't.  They wouldn't budge from a brush, and when I tried to pull them off, I was pulling hair, which made Orion jump and look at me with a "What the hell???" expression - pretty funny, but obviously not helpful.

Chelsea lunged Kit with less than stellar results, and once she was finished, I took Orion out for his turn.  He had a little swelling in his RF knee, but it wasn't too bad.  He wasn't favoring anything, so I felt it was safe to exercise him a little bit.

Unfortunately, he had other ideas.  As soon as I tried to send him away to get started, he moved off about six feet and stopped.  Would not budge.  I had planned on not using the lunge whip because he normally responds fine without it, but I had taken it out just in case, so I picked it up to snap it behind him, and as soon as it touched the ground, he started rearing and throwing his head and rearing some more.  

Completely took me by surprise, as he has never acted like that since I got him.  I let him calm down a minute and then tried again.  Same reaction.  I put the whip down and tried to get him moving without it, slapping my leg with the lunge line (which usually works with him) and being all aggressive.  But instead of going around the circle like he should have, this time he reared and took off in the opposite direction.

This is what happens when your horse runs away and you try to stop him.  It doesn't work.
I held on and got pulled a few feet before he stopped.  He was snorting and still tossing his head.  I walked over to him and wound up the line as I did.  My hands were burning like hell, and I wanted to stop, but didn't want to end on a bad note, so I walked him back to where we started and tried to calm him down as we walked (by that point, we were a good 30 feet or more away from our starting point).  From that point, I think he might have reared one more time or so - it's honestly a little scrambled now, it seemed to take so long to try to make this work.  Mostly after that, though, it was like we were "dancing".  I'd try to get to be facing his side so I could get him moving around me, and he'd turn to face me head on again.  I'd move around him, and he'd move with me.  So for at least ten minutes we were doing this whole moving around each other song and dance instead of him moving around me.

I finally gave in and walked him back to the paddock where Chels and Ashley were with Kit and Jake.  I still didn't want to end badly, but nothing was working, I was frustrated (which probably didn't help matters because I know he could sense it), and he just seemed to get more and more confused.  We couldn't figure out what was so different from before.  He's always been great when I lunge him.

I was so disappointed - I don't know if it was me or something else.  I honestly can't figure it out.  Chels and I talked about it, and it's not the same as her problem with Kit.  Kit will intentionally disobey and do the exact opposite of what Chelsea tries to get her to do, and yesterday when she lunged her, Kit outright tried to challenge Chels.  When Orion was acting up, he didn't seem to be doing it at me.  He never tried to approach me or come at me when he was acting up; it was always at the same distance away.  Then when he was not rearing and carrying on but just standing and not wanting to move, he was just watching me - not in a threatening way, but more like an "I don't want to be out here." kind of way.  I had problems getting him the right distance away starting out because he didn't want to leave my side.  I'd send him away and he'd try to come right back.

I'm so confused right now.  And he seemed to be too, which makes me wonder if I was doing something wrong, and I just don't realize it.

Any ideas out there from my horse friends?  Any input would be greatly appreciated.

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