One of the take-aways from the BUCK movie was exactly this…
If you breed a horse or buy a horse or take on a horse, make it a good citizen.
You see, one of the most dramatic points in the film was about a woman who bred a horse but didn’t do right by him. She didn’t teach him manners or respect. He was a bottle-fed stud who never learned boundaries or control.
No one could deal with him.
His human had let him down.
I understand not having time. Believe me. I don’t have much time myself.
I understand substituting training with using strong broodmares or big geldings to kick a little yearling butt… I’ve done that as well.
What I don’t understand is not noticing, or not facing, when a horse needs an attitude adjustment. To me, this is akin to turning a blind eye when a horse needs medical attention.
It is just as bad. It is just as negligent.
I have got to tell you that as we, the audience, watched the movie drama unfold, we grew in uproar over this woman. She didn’t geld this obnoxious 3-year old (or any of her other 18 studs – don’t ask…), she didn’t put him in with any lead mares when he was young and she didn’t get him into any professional training.
The horse had become a menace and a punk.
Yet, she wanted Buck to fix him…
Can anyone fix a thug?
She absolutely dropped the ball.
And it cost this colt his life.
MY WAKE-UP CALL
I have a 3 year old Morgan gelding named, Wrigley. He is the son of the lead mare. He is huge. He is pushy. He isn’t my favorite.
I put him in with the mares and they kept him in line. But, then he started to gain a footing there.
So, I put him in with Finn and Finn keeps him in line. But, Finn is the only one.
As I watched the BUCK movie and observed this woman who didn’t take the time to train her 3 year old, I reflected on myself…
I do not want Wrigley, a horse I bred and am responsible for, to end up all grown and me wondering where the time went…
SIMILARITIES AT HOME?
Sure, there are differences. Wrigley isn’t mean and won’t bite or kick – yet.
But, there are also similarities.
Wrigley is bold, pushy, hot and insecure at the same time. He wants to be close to me (or any horse) so he crowds the personal space. Yet, if you push him away, he has learned that his Uber Mare dam will come to his rescue. So, he pushes back.
And now, he has grown bigger than most of the other horses – and he knows it.
I need to step up and deal with Wrigley.
He isn’t a ‘ranch baby’ anymore.
It isn’t like I haven’t worked with Wrigley at all… He can stand for the farrier, knows how to lead, trailer and tie. But, he is not the kind of horse you’d want at a sleep over. He’d take all the food, spread his sleeping bag in the best spot and then jabber all night about himself.
Besides all of that, he is an immature, HUGE, 3 year old, hot, Morgan Park horse. He reminds me of a few of my 13 year-old daughter’s classmates. Kinda big and lunky, loud and ill-mannered, a cute but obtuse 8th grade boy lacking in social graces with sticky fingers and peanut butter schmeared on his face.
We always think those boys will ‘grow out of it’. But the truth is, they don’t without help or some comeuppance.
I decided that Wrig’s time is now.
Since he has a very short attention span, I have no excuse to not spend a mere 20 minutes a day with Mr. Bigstuff (Mr. Big Stuff, tell me, Who do you think you are Mr. Big Stuff,… – anyone remember that song?!)
Anyway, I have an arena, I have a stick with a flag on it, I have poles and barrels. I can do this.
I have to do this.
Now, I’m not saying it won’t change when I start training him, but for now, he still thinks I’m bigger than he is.
Today, we worked on stopping when I stop, backing when I back and keeping some personal space between us.
He did pretty well.
To be honest, I think he likes the personal attention.
That sure hit home. He craves exactly what he hasn’t been given. I’ve always not spent much time with him.
I wonder if spending time with him will make a difference? Duh.
From the beginning, he hasn’t been “my kind of horse”.
Sheesh. Shame on me.
MY PROMISE TO WRIGLEY
I pledged to Wrigley (and now to you) that I would help him become a good citizen.
I promised to work with him 5 days a week. I promised to take pictures. I promised to seek help if I feel I am failing him.
It is my responsibility, as his breeder, to make sure he has manners and is tractable.
And even though Wrigley is not the kind of horse I am drawn towards, the fact is that he is drawn to me. I am his human.
Wrigley, watchout. Mamma’s comin’!
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