Friday, October 14, 2011

Toadie's foot 2, my foot 0

Toadie was having a little 'tude today.  I was originally not going to go to her training because there was no school, but my daughter went over to a friend's house so I went out to watch some of it.  Trainer K. started early because she had to leave early so I didn't see a lot of the training, but it was nice to see that Trainer K. is comfortable riding her.  I recently had to fire Trainer V. who was the one doing the riding part of the training so I am happy Trainer K. is fine taking that part over.  It was kind of cool that whenever I got up to say shut the gate behind Trainer J. when she left the arena, Toadie would watch me with concern like "Mom, don't leave."  Even Trainer K. commented that she definitely knows I'm her mom.  I'm glad we're bonding.  I was kind of concerned because Girlfriend bonded super fast to me - within a couple days and although Toadie quickly learned where my boundaries were and what she could get away with where I'm concerned, it felt longer for her to really bond and get attached to me.

But she was being very impatient and annoying in the cross ties, shaking her head and pawing.  For the first time when I was cleaning her back hoof, she tried to pull it away from me and eventually succeeded, slamming the front part of her toe down on my toe.  Trainer K. was standing right outside of the grooming room and when Toadie's hoof stomped my foot I yelped "Get off!" and in instinctively slapped her as hard as I could on the rump.  Luckily that made her pick up foot back up really quickly and Trainer K. said, "Good job."  It didn't hurt as badly as the time Sinatra stomped on my toe and the toe itself turned black.  But it stung enough that I hopped out and followed Trainer K. outside so she could smoke.  I told her that I normally don't like to hit animals but that when a horse succeeds in stomping my foot or biting me - as opposed to just trying and missing which is what thankfully usually happens, I can't help myself.  Trainer K. said she doesn't like to bully animals but if they do something dangerous like that it's ok.  She used the example that if her son came up and hit her with a baseball bat she would have no trouble hitting him back and making sure he knew that was not acceptable behavior.  Sadly, I know parents that would not even use physical force on a child who hit them with a baseball bat.  I think I could help myself to hit back, and I would definitely physically retrain them if they were that violent.  Anyway, back to horses, I'm glad that Trainer K. did not get angry at me for hitting Toad.   The most I usually do is push back or swat gently and try to use voice and body language to convey my dominance, but damn that hurt.  Trainer K. said she saw it and she was the one who told me it wasn't the bottom of my foot, it was the front edge of her hoof that slammed down on my toe.  There is a dent in my paddock boots now and it was a cringy pain like "just a little harder and my toes would've been sliced off".  Ok, probably not, but that's how it felt.

After I went back into the grooming room Toad tried to challenge me by crowding me with her butt and I poked her and said, "No, move over," and she immediately relaxed her ears, chewed a little and quickly moved over.  Trainer K. said, "Good - she's listening to you now.  She doesn't want you to hit her again!"  Well, it takes what it takes I guess.  Hopefully now we can go back to our gentle firmness and snuggles and hugs.

There is a tiny girl who is working for Trainer J. cleaning her stalls and turning her horses out.  Tiny Girl can't be even 100 pounds and she's still a teenager and just barely an adult.  Ok, legally she's an adult but she's still a kid in my eyes.  Anyway, Trainer J. has all this huge paints who are quite lovely but they're big and wide (they're about the same height as Toad - 16.1 hh's but Toad is so slim and small boned she doesn't seem as intimidating).  They are also young and can be a handful.  Tiny Girl went out to the far pasture to bring them in and I guess there are two gates that aren't well latched or something and one blew open and two of the horses pushed her over and ran off.   I was in the grooming room with Girlfriend on our side of the barn and I heard a loud truck, people yelling and a strange sound of rumbling that I couldn't identify.  All the horses in our side of the barn were screaming back and forth.  Girl was visibly concerned but I kept telling her it was OK while I was finishing putting her blanket on, even though I knew something was terribly wrong or the horses wouldn't be screaming their heads off.

I took Girlfriend over to her stall and she started trying to rear so I managed to yank her down before she could, put her in her stall and she was on high alert and trying to run past me at the door.  I calmed her down, got her halter off, got her stall door shut, just in time to see two of the giant paints gallop right past the doorway of our side of the barn at full speed.  I went outside to see what was going on and Tiny Girl and her girlfriend were running past and yelled, "Trainer J.'s horse got out!" I said I would help and grabbed one of the halter's and lead rope.  The horses ran into a dead end and turned to run back past us and I started saying loudly but in a soothing way "Whoooooa ... Calm ... Calm down ... Whoa ..." and Tiny Girl raised her arms up above her head in front of them and followed suit saying, "Whooooa ... stop ..." in the same tone.  They actually slowed down and did a couple circles in front of her, then lowered their heads and walked right up to her.  I was impressed.  They totally ignored me, but once they realized they were supposed to calm down they went straight up to Tiny Girl.  I helped her take them back to their stalls and as soon as they were in their stalls with the doors shut they started rearing and circling and calling to each other.  I guess they were having trouble coming down off of being so wound up.  Tiny Girl was visibly physically shaking all over she was so shaken up by what had happened. I was glad her girlfriend was there to be supportive.  But I was having a huge mom moment feeling like I should be wrapping her in quilts and feeding her cookies.

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