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Update on Huey...

Serafina

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#1
So, I have had a real roller-coaster month with my boy Huey! He came from an auction a year and a half ago, and was NOT in good shape physically or mentally when he did (they were having to use a chain shank on him, at minimum) but my trainer (who was at the auction) saw through the hair and hooves and attitude and grime and cuts from being cast, etc etc etc and recognized Quality underneath all that and brought him home for the lesson program. He turned out to be WAY too sensitive to make a good schoolmaster, or at least, a good schoolmaster of many, but he's been great in teaching one (me) to ride.

It's actually pretty funny, because it's become very clear to everyone that he DOES think that he's teaching me to ride. He gets very shirty when I do something that he didn't teach me to do (like an extended trot, which he doesn't want to do because it's too much work). Anyway, he turns out to be fine with just *one* green rider at a time, and we've been having a ball. After my trainer brought him home she spent a lot of time on the web looking at reports of stolen horses because he was That Good under the grime that she was worried someone had fenced him to the auction. No results on that, and in the meantime, we haven't found anyone who recognized him. The auction house refused to cut loose with any information at all, other than the sale paperwork and the Coggins. The conclusion of my trainer and the vet is that he had, at some point, been doing GP-level show jumping, but that's about all we knew.

All that changed three weeks ago when the vet showed up to give him some acupuncture and arrived with a posse of Supporting Characters (vet students, vet tech students, a bunch of summer help). One of whom walked into the barn, talked to me for a few minutes about what I wanted done and why, and then turned to look at him and said "Oh, so THIS is where you wound up!" And I was all "Wait, you KNOW this horse?!?" I peppered her with questions to find out how likely it was that this was the horse she remembered, and when she asked if he still had that habit of throwing his head up in the air and moving his legs super fast instead of extending his gait, I thought maybe it was 60% probable we had a match. When she asked if he was still really bossy, I thought it was 70% probable. When she knew about how he makes his bottom lip flap when he works in the ring and it makes a big popping noise, my estimate went up to 95%. Then she contacted the equestrian program director of the place she thought she knew him from, and sent a picture, and then we knew.

My boy WAS a GP show jumper. The bone chip in his hock that made him lame last summer is what made him not sufficiently reliable at those heights, and got him retired into the other program, where they jumped him in hunter classes. The suspensory problem I had this spring is what got him retired from the second career as a hunter jumper.

I made sure that the program director knew that whoever they'd retired him to had NOT taken care of him and HAD sent him to the auction after a year. I don't care who that was, because he's mine now, but that program is pretty big and I reckon they need good reliable retirement homes, and whoever they sent him to was NOT one of those. They needed to know.

Anyway. I was able to get not just his show name, but his USEF name! And I got his records!

He is a Dutch Warmblood! And a really good one, too! His sire is Emilion, a World Cup show jumper. He is truly a Prince of horses. I mean, *I* always thought that, but now we have actual evidence. :smile:

And the people from his past were *astonished* to find that he's now teaching a green adult to ride. Apparently, he has always before been reserved for the Most Advanced riders. I also found out that he was used to bossing his other riders around like crazy. I do not put up with any bossing around from him. Once in a while he'll pull some trick out of his bag and run it up the flagpole, just in case it gets results, I guess. It doesn't, and he gets his manners back pretty fast. So I'm both the worst rider he's ever had, and the only one who is totally comfortable standing up to him. It probably explains a lot about our relationship. :crazy:

I am thinking of taking him to a small regional show as a reward for putting up with my crummy riding. Some of the girls from the barn took him to shows last summer before I bought him, and they tell me he LOVES all of that Show Stuff - getting braided, etc. and that when he steps into the ring, even at these dinky country shows, he preeeens for the judge and just generally loves it. I don't have any particular need to compete, but my feeling is, if he loves going to the show, we can go to the show...
 
#3
Serafina what a great story, and how wonderful that Huey has finally found you. Looks like you can both teach each other things as well as look forward to a terrific relationship. I'm so pleased that you communicated his poor care back to his former stable. Any chance of you posting some pics?
 

litterbug

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#4
Serafina, if that isn't a Cinderella story, I don't know what is! It's even more reason to be delighted that you two found each other. Sounds like a match made in heaven. I hope you do give Huey a chance to bask in the limelight, too.

BTW, what was his name? ('was' being the past tense, because he's forever Huey now!)
 

Serafina

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#5
One minute he was my Orphan, the next, he had a whole history. It was like Cinderella, yes, or like something out of Charles Dickens. It was wonderful, especially the way it just kind of happened when we weren't trying. :becky:

He is very much still Huey! Anyone can see, because it's embroidered on one of his saddle pads, his riding fly mask, etc . But I think when I show him, I'm going to use his USEF name (Cosmo) even though it will not, for the foreseeable future, be in rated shows. I want to honor his history. We won't be jumping because the vet strongly recommended against it given that chip and the old suspensory problem. It's hard to *keep* him from jumping though, because he loves it. I took him out on the trail Friday and asked him to walk over a log on the path, and darned if he didn't gather himself up and spring over instead, and wanted to run down the path looking for some more stuff to jump. Anyway, the irony is that there are actually LOADS of people here who would have recognized him and been able to tell us who he "is"...if he'd been going to jumping shows, instead of showing on the flats.
 

vickie

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#7
"Cosmic Huey"

I've often thought it would be fun to take your posts on Huey and rewrite the story from his perspective! I don't have time to do it justice, but I think it would make for an amusing tale.
 

Serafina

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
"Cosmic Huey"

I've often thought it would be fun to take your posts on Huey and rewrite the story from his perspective! I don't have time to do it justice, but I think it would make for an amusing tale.
Huey writes in my blog. :blah:

Here is the post he made after all the whoopla discussed above in this thread:
http://notyourfathersaccountingprof.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/it-is-all-being-very-silly-now/

Here is the post he made after I took him on a trail ride with another horse & rider, and the horses were acting like a pair of little boys in a tent in the backyard, telling each other frightening stories until they're both too scared to sleep and they have to stampede into the house.
http://notyourfathersaccountingprof.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/i-finally-got-to-go-over-a-jump/
 

vickie

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
Funny ... I was reading Huey's posts and thought, "the title of the story is Huey and the Two-Legged Mare". And then saw you referred to as the mare with two legs!
 

Serafina

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
:bounce:

He was turned out for a while with a Chincoteague mare, and let me tell you, she absolutely laid down the law on that boy. She'd make him move just to remind him that she could. He'd still be out with her except he got really confused when she went into season, but I took a few pages out of her book for sure.
 

litterbug

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
Hey, did I read that Huey is also a dancing kind of horse? Do you think you could teach him dressage? Of course he would have to think he was teaching you, but you could just let him think it was his idea.
 

vickie

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#14
Knowing Huey's background might seem trivial, but you may find that to be invaluable information as you work with him ... and especially in trying to change his specialty. If you know what rewards were important to him in jumping and give him similar rewards for dancing, it may help it 'click'. Of course, we know that first he has to want to dance ... it certainly can be a command-based response.
 

Serafina

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#15
Litterbug - we are learning dressage...together! :smile: Of course, that's proceeding about as quickly as one would guess, since when it comes to that, we've got green + green. We've got serpentines & 20 meter circles down, and leg yields at the walk & trot (better at the walk than the trot, but they're coming along), and turns on the forehand (which he already knew how to do but he doesn't think he can do in the clockwise direction...so we're having to get creative on that). In the process of getting creative, we've done haunches-in. We're working at getting him to go on the bit. He'll do it for short periods, but he doesn't stay there. But he does it more frequently as time goes by. We're working on developing a few more gaits - he's got a very good working trot, and one goal is to get a better and more consistent medium trot. In general, he carries way the heck too much of his action on his forehand, which is terrible for his suspensories (and not so great for his back). We've been doing some exercises to develop his stifle-area muscles better, to support the collection, but he's VERY lazy about those things - trotting over cavaletti, for example, is a real PITA...he would rather jump them, and if I don't let him jump them, he sticks in extra strides and lord knows what all.

I've had to go away for a week here and there this summer, and when I do, my trainer will use him as a lesson horse for some of her more advanced students, people who can get him on the bit at a canter, etc. It's a win-win-win, since the other women who get to ride him LOVE him, so it's a treat for them, and I do not have to worry about him not getting exercise, *and* he basically gets some free training.

Vickie - he *likes* to work! He has a great work ethic, and (nearly) every time I show up he comes right to meet me at the gate and gets ready to go. I want to take him to a show, which everyone tells me he will really enjoy. Otherwise, it's Will Work For Praise, Pats, Massages, A Really Good Scratch, Carrots, Hand-Grazing, Apples, and Uncle Jimmy's Hangin' Balls (the low sugar type). I wish there was a way we could do some jumping together, because he LOVES that. Maybe I can find a way to send him over jumps, maybe it wouldn't be so bad for his legs if he wasn't carrying the weight of a rider.
 

Serafina

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#17
Thanks VickiK! I have a lot of fun with it. Huey's Treat Dad pesters me if I let too much time go by without a post from him. "yeah, yeah," he says "what you have to say is all well and fine, but I want to hear from the horse."

He came out to take some pictures at the barn this morning. It was sticky as the dickens when we rode, so Huey got a shower afterward. When I'm done sluicing his body and legs off, I untie him from the post and just hold the lead line loosely and point the spray nozzle into the air. The first time I did this it was with the idea that I could get the water to fall on him like rain and get his head wet that way. Surprised me to the ground when he got excited and stuck his head right into the spray so that it hit him under the jaw. I guess it scratches an itch or something, but he loves it. Here are our pics. That's me in there with him. In the spray I'm standing on the edge of the barn floor, uphill from the horse. In the last one, you can get an idea for his size - I'm 5'10" and about 190. You can also get an idea for his truly majestic withers and equally majestic barrel. Finding a saddle that worked for the two of us was a real trip. The only one that really worked was naturally the most expensive one the saddle seller brought out to the barn. Only the best for my boy...

Here is his Shower Face. Usually he pulls his lips back and makes a funny face like he does when I scratch a really itchy spot on his body:
huey1.jpg

This is him saying "But I didn't WANT sunblock on my nose!"
huey2.jpg

Here he is at his Very Favorite Thing Ever: Eating Grass.

huey3.jpg
 

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