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Eric Hought

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Tempest's First Ride

The sky was gray, overcast, temperature 43 degrees and Tempest had arrived at her first LD 25 mile ride in San Jose at the Grant Ranch.

It was expected she would be restless being tied to the trailer with Shaq on one side and her on the other. She called, pawed on the trailer and was acting obnoxious. I hobbled her and it took maybe an hour for her to figure out that she could make it easier for herself to stand still. She had been standing quietly so it was time to do the pre-ride Veting. She did pretty well even though the Vet was on her tippy toes. The Vet said, "The start should be interesting". I said, "I will wait 15 minutes after most riders have left." As it turned out it was 12 minutes after everyone had started.

She returned to the trailer quietly so I decided not to hobble her. She did ok a few minutes, but she started pawing. Wrong! So, I put the hobbles back on and gave her a hay bag. She had been standing quietly and had not pulled the bobbles tight. Good for her. She also showed in her eye that she had it figured out , so the light had gone on inside her head, at least for the time being. I knew she would test at some point but it looked like we are over the hump.

Hobbling her would not have been a good idea here, if she had not been hobbled everyday before and after each ride while saddling and unsaddling. This is a good example where a daily routine develops a desired habit response. They are a creature of habit.

The untrained observer would probably have been upset with the antics Tempest displayed. It was not pretty. But, she had to work it out and thankfully she got it solved. The preparation at home and knowing that you just have to watch and wait takes time to learn as a horseman. The interesting thing is that Tempest never lost any skin. She ruffed some hair on her legs but lost no skin. Once she showed that she had softened, I went back a few times to pet, rub, and give her a little treat to eat. She deserved it.

To be continued.............


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