Friday, July 24, 2009

Bombproof-99% of the Time by Janet Huntington

I love Laura's tips on finding a bombproof horse. She had some sound ideas and a good definition of what the term bombproof means.

She was also careful to point out all horses can spook, jump, maim or mutilate. OK, I added the last few words but you get my drift.

My daughter's good mare Annie was everything you could look for in a bombproof horse.

She had carried both of us through the mountains on more than one three day trip at our ranch.
I had ridden her for several years and knew every tick, every tock and trusted the steady reliability that shone in her eyes 100 percent.

She was the kind of horse I could ride several miles from home, alone, to fix fence. I could get down, drop my reins, unload my gear and go to work. She would graze, or doze in the sun, but she never left.

She was never rattled, only became angry if you tried to keep her in a stall or run and I had only seen her spook once. It was the year of the Haymen fire and she could smell it traveling towards her. She ran to me and stayed close. That was it.

When my daughter was two she was sitting on Annie's back. I looked the other way for a split second and Annie shook like a wet dog. My twig of a daughter flew through the air and landed in a very prickly bush.

I ran and picked her up, half laughing, half panicked. Annie came over and nuzzled my sobbing daughter all over. She didn't take her muzzle off the kidlette until she quit crying.

Annie was a school horse for me for many years. She truly lit up when she was with children. She walked as if she was carrying a carton of eggs with the newbies and would lope a barrel pattern when they were ready.

I had complete faith in her when my daughter took her over. Annie was the ultimate definition of bombproof.

When the kidlette was 8 or 9 we trailered to the Garden of the Gods park to go on a trail ride.
We all unloaded out horses in front of the Rock Ledge Ranch and were tacking up.

Suddenly Annie lost her mind. She was snorting, blowing and jumping back and forth. The kidlette jumped out of the way, her saddle went flying and her pad slid under Annie's leaping feet.

I walked over to see what the ruckus was about. I'll admit, I said, "What did you do?" to my daughter. I knew my darling Annie couldn't be at the bottom of this.

Annie was really going nuts.

I followed her line of sight and realized she was freaking at the sight of the ranch caretaker, Andy, with his team of Belgians and their wagon.

Annie was horrified.

"Just ignore her, she'll put it together in a second," I said.

I was wrong.

As the wagon and team came closer Annie threw herself back, snapped her lead rope and took off. Towards the wagon.

She circled Andy and his team at a high trot, with her tail straight in the air.

I had to stop and admire for a second, she was probably 24 or so, and she looked absolutely beautiful.

I snapped out of it when Andy yelled at me. Annie was thinking of charging the team, she had her ears pinned and was darting in at them.

We ran in and began shouting and waving our arms at her. She just ducked us and kept running at the team. The Belgians were starting to get snorty.

"Go back to your trailer and I'll head back to the barn, maybe she'll go back to your horses," Andy called.

He was right. As soon as he was out of range Annie came trotting back, snorting and looking quite proud of herself.

We never did figure out why she hated wagons so much, she did the same thing a few years later at an AQHA show when the driving class began to warm up.

I was using a stouter lead rope by then and we were able to hang on to her. All I know was my gentle, reliable, bomb proof horse seemed to have a little German Shepherd attack dog in her.

And then there was that problem she had with ponies.....


Maryannwrites said...

Loved the story. Especially that you had to stop and admire Annie for a moment when she was acting up. I do the same thing with my horse. I think we're nuts. :-)

autumnblaze said...

A-Hahahahaha! Oh Annie!

Sounds like she was trying to protect you guys from the wagons!

You know, they're the most lovely when they're being silly, aren't they? Blowing, arched up neck, tail up, back rounded ... acting like total fools, but lovely. :)

Laura Crum said...

Ok, I have to admit, even Henry has had a snorty moment or two. For some reason he doesn't like "drags". Go figure. As an old team roping horse, he's been logged, and had drag dummies roped off him. But when he sees a drag moving along, the head and tail go up and you get these snorts...just like you're talking about. I know he has this little "issue", so am careful to get my kid off if I see that we're liable to be around a drag. However, Henry has never tried to "attack" anything. Spook and back away is the worst of it. So, na na bombproof horse is bombproofier than yours. (I'd add a smiley face to this, but you know I have a thing about them.)

Gayle Carline said...

Very Funny Story!

Our old lesson horse, Buddy, never did anything as wacky as Annie, but he had his quirks. Came to my trainer as kind of a rescue, no papers, no history, no clue. Completely bombproof, loved kids, but one day she had a kiddo on him, giving a lesson, and they were setting up barrels in the next arena... when he started galloping toward them is when she figured out he used to be a barrel horse.

He lived to be around 30 (we think), and at 29, he'd still get hotter than a firecracker if he saw anything that looked like a barrel in the arena.


i know nothing said...

Small ponies and minis = THE WORST!

Shanster said...

That is so wild! Hmph - I really wish they could talk sometimes. Great story!