As Game Turns . . .

Hi all—hope the holiday season is going well. Just thought I would drop a note on how Game is coming. Not a lot of huge sweeping changes to mention….she went thru a full heat for us—-as bad and “witchy” as the vet in KY said Shu was—she has nothing on Game—lol. She sort of reminds me of Carrie of bygone years….she was sweet and docile out in the pasture—put her head on your shoulder…follow you in—big puppy dog—-but—just walked out of the tackroom with the saddle—-ears went flat back and that evil glare came on…..do you think after almost 32 years of marriage I am smart enough to understand a female in a really black mood saying NO!—in fact not NO but heck NO NO NO NO!!!!!….duh—not really…nope—here comes old Goofy—just walks up and slips the saddle on this maniacal…and might I say, fair sized female who is just full of angst for all things work right now—-ignoring the ears—the snorts—the dancing—comment rather blissfully to Patrick—wow—she seems out of sorts today….duh….wasn’t till I went to just bring the girth under–not fasten it or tighten it or anything—just laid it along her belly—-and those big ol warmblood feet you made note of in your blurb….well the back ones started hitting the ground about three times in succession…sounded like firecrackers—–then just once for emphasis in case I was missing the point…one whinged off of her belly—with extreme prejudice….in very close proximity to not only the girth—but my hand as well….hmmmm—-think I am beginning to sense a message here….lol. Calmly just reversed my direction…walked around—slid the saddle off and put it away…..and little miss puppy dog was back—ambled back out to the pasture with me—I walked around the pasture and just hung out with her and the other girls for a bit to make sure everything was ok and she wasn’t sick or something…and no–she would amble over—get a carrot—wander off—-enjoyed the company—just like nothing had ever happened…..I left better informed….she continued to nurse her menstrual cycle in peace…everyone was happy. Well,…she was happy and I was alive—guess that should count for happy.

I am discovering more and more she is a horse of complete different personalities that are somehow wound in together in a knot. Retraining her is going to be pretty much unwinding that knot. In the pasture–barn–aisle way(mostly) stall…she is the sweetest big puppy dog you would ever want to see—big doe eyes–easy going–affectionate…..however another Game emerges when she sights a saddle…and truly—that is all it takes….she just sees the saddle…and she starts dancing on the ties…head is flipping around like a ping pong ball….she isn’t nasty—she just completely switches to a full blooded racehorse. When you handle her and she is in this mode—she takes a very—and I mean VERY strong hand—-if I ever got after Shu on successive days the way I have to get after Game 3-4 times a workout just to get her attn….I wouldn’t be able to ride Shu again ever, she would be so traumatized. But Game on the other hand—simply seems to look for it–understand it as not mean or abusive but simply seems to be what she is accustomed to when under tack. She responds well to it—like once she is actually looking at you and engaging her ears she does exactly what you want —she is super intelligent just like Shu—and just as giving and honest—just so so hard as she is extremely forward—one mindset and one only…. She absolutely thinks she is trying to please when it comes to her work and expects this is what I want from her….so the aggressive tact I have to take is only long enough just to get her attn…then she listens and I immediately praise and back off—she is such a big dog you can’t be upset—you can clearly see she is trying for you—so the sec she actually looks at you and sees you, immediately you praise and go back to my program of reward and softness and education….she really does try…she just is so….bold and up front and strong in everything…I can’t even imagine Patrick having been matched with her…she and I do well—I love her to pieces and she knows it—she and I are going to sort it all out—but it is going to take most of the winter I am thinking…once she understands and is on your side—she is going to leave all of the rest behind her like it never existed…cause she does commit everything to her handler…but the girl is a powder keg if you aren’t strong and totally in command with her…she sure isn’t anyone’s backyard horse and won’t be for a while. I am super pleased she is starting to take Patrick being up on her and me handling from the ground as anything other than being led to the post with a jockey up right now…the first few times were…interesting…she went sideways and crow-hopped on the front—and was very clearly looking for the next step to be running….now, she doesn’t quite get it yet…you can see her not completely understanding in her eyes…but she is acquiescing and staying quiet for him at the walk and even a few loops of hand trot yesterday accepting the stop and down transitions and turning to change direction from the reins without going ballistic and very slight legs to ask up without charging thru….of course I only stayed about 4-6 feet away with her on the lounge…so she stayed secure in what we were asking—just an extension of her lounge work…but it was rewarding to see her staring to get it a little and trying so hard. Patrick loves her…he says when he is up he can tell by the way she moves he is an afterthought she has so much power…I am quite jealous…I can’t wait till we get her where I can start working her from the saddle. I am going to start her in some long reins in the next few days(plan) so as to give her a bit more control input without having a rider in jeopardy…she will do wonderful when she gets it. I know probably what I am saying sounds maybe alarming….but I am such a true fan of this horse….when she gets it she is going to be such dynamite…she and I are going to be a tight pair…we may not conquer the show ring the way Patrick and Shu will, but I am looking for a partner in whatever we do—and she is sure going to be that…but I think we’ll make a few people take notice along the way too. I have to take the time and put in the work to rejoin her fragmented mind—to bring the pasture and barn and stall Game to the riding ring and to get thru to her the race Game isn’t needed….she may not have been fast enough—but I will promise you it sure wasn’t for lack of trying on her part…she was committed…..now I just need to get that same commitment to her new work….I already have it to me—without that there wouldn’t even be a possibility of retraining. She is a fabulous personality—I can’t wait to bring that under saddle–her and me—lol…might even show Patrick and Shu a thing or two before they leave us in the dust….lol. talk to you later…..best of holidays….Chuck