Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Tale from Two Sides - Bouncing is What Pippin Does Best

A few days ago our weather, although not especially warm, was sunny and bright. A good day to work the horses. OK, Pippin. You're up first!

So, there I am out in the pasture, trying to find something worth eating. Everything is dry as a bone and there's not much of it. A guy has to hunt long and hard to find a tasty morsel. Along comes my Mrs. Owner with that halter thing. I ignored her. Uh oh. She has put the rope around my neck and is leading me to the hitching post. 

Pippin is a mess! After some currying and brushing I've gotten as much dust out of his coat as I can. I saddle him up, grab the bitless bridle, and we head for the round pen. I am so pleased with how Pippin works. We play the friendly game, then I ask him to move around and he goes through his paces. He performs a delightful extended trot and changes back and forth between that and a quieter 'easy' trot. 

My Mrs. Owner seems to have grown weary of my strutting around her. I showed her my fanciest trot, even adding some bounces up and down and flagging my tail at one point. She asks me to stop and comes up and tells me what a good boy I am. I feel all gooshy when she does that. I put my head down and she rubs that spot on my forehead. It feels yummy. Speaking of yummy, I wish she'd give me a treat, since I was so good and all. My Mrs. Owner puts on the new bridle without the metal yucky thing. Then she climbs up on my back. That still feels so very strange to have someone up there.

After mounting I ask Pippin to stand a bit. In thinking back to earlier this year I realize what great strides he has made. He used to avoid my mounting by circling away from me, and then when I'd get up, he'd try to move off immediately.  We set off on a brisk walk, with his head high in the air. Within a round or two he has brought his head down and is relaxing a bit. I flap my right hand, then my left. I play with the long, western reins. Pippin only startles and hops one time. We practice stopping. We practice backing. I ask Pippin for a lateral move to the left and I am startled by his reaction. He doesn't do his 'boot scootin' boogie' but he does perform a strange kind of hop, or a kick, or some sort of unusual bounce. I chastise him. I tell him a firm, 'No' and make my 'that was ugly, don't do it' guttural sound. 

My Mrs. Owner growled at me. I didn't do a gosh, darn thing, and the thanks I get is that nasty sound. At least, I don't think I did anything wrong. I mean, I walked, I stopped, I walked some more. I turned a circle or two. I moved away from her leg and went sideways a bit, while still walking forward. I stepped on something and had a bit of trouble going forward, but as soon as I put weight on my other foot, everything was OK, except for that, "Pippin is bad" noise. I'm confused.

I ask Pippin to walk on. We continue to do a series of foundation exercises suggested by the trainer. I remind Pippin of my presence by waving my arm now and then and patting him here and there. I move the long reins and let them dangle near his legs. He settles into our work nicely. We begin a turn and he does the hunchy, funny movement again. It's almost like he's kicking at the long reins. I again let him know that I am not pleased with his actions. We continue with our exercises and Pippin seems to settle into the work. I am so happy with him. He has come so far. 

I continue to take my Mrs. Owner where she asks. We do circles to the left and to the right. We stop. We back. We do turns on the forehand. A few times my Mrs. Owner wiggles around and pats me on my butt. Hah! She doesn't surprise me with those moves anymore. Ha ha ha! You don't scare me! I try really hard to do what my Mrs. Owner asks me to do. I like it when she pats my neck and tells me I'm a good boy. Finally, my Mrs. Owner asks me to stop and she gets off. I hear her make a funny breath sound. Kinda like what happens if a person pulls my cinch up too fast. My Mrs. Owner gives me a hug. She tells me she is sorry. She tells me it's all her fault. She hugs me some more. I'm not sure I understand it, but I'm not one to turn down any sort of loving and attention! I turn to see if she has some treats, since obviously she thinks I've been really, really, really good!

Oh, I can't believe it. I feel like such an idiot. Poor Pippin. I am so, so sorry. Pippin wasn't 'bouncing'.....he was stepping on the latigo. At some point while riding, maybe while I was mounting, the end of the latigo slipped out of the leather keeper. Obviously I had not run it through far enough. The strange thing that I was feeling was Pippin stepping on the end of the latigo, which would cause the saddle to lurch a bit, and from up above felt like a funny hop or kick or whatever. I hate that my first reaction was to blame my horse! And what a fabulous horse for not reacting to the strange sensation of the saddle being jerked around. Pippin deserves some of those treats he is always coveting!

A wonderful thing about Pippin;
Pippin's a wonderful thing.
His top is made out of rubber,
His bottom's made out of spring
He's bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy,
fun, fun, fun, fun, fun,
The most wonderful thing
about Pippin is:
He's the silly one!

This is my adaptation of the Tigger "Bounce" song with apologies to the creator of the original.
Here's the original version. 
I think it would be just as cute with a Haffie bouncing around! 
Tigger and Pippin seem to have remarkably similar personalities!


  1. I totally know what you mean about the hop he did there when you growled at him. Mike, a halflinger I broke this summer did the exact same thing when you startled him and he didn't exactly understand 100% what you were asking him.

  2. What a good boy Pippin was for not coming unglued when he stepped on the Latigo and the saddle moved.

    Don't blame yourself too much it happens and he learned from it. Now at least you know he what he will do if it happens again, or something like it happens.

  3. Jeni, you are right. As I think back about the experience I really need to give my guy credit for ignoring the strange feeling and just continuing on. He has come such a long way! I love him and what he has become!!


What thoughts do you have?

We Lost our Gypsy Girl

 Gypsy passed away peacefully with both of us Dreamers by her side, stroking her and telling her what a great girl she is. We had noticed th...