Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bob Harley update


Bob Harley is growing up. Fast. His body has taken on the look of a mature horse with a head that still fits into a yearling halter.  He is 15+ hands, maybe 1100 lbs, conformationally correct, nice big black feet, a chest and hip that are pretty, pretty, pretty. His brain however, is light years from maturity.  He meets me at the stall door and can't wait to get his head into the halter. He seems to love being fussed over, clipped, bathed, brushed and saddled. He stands fairly still and while he doesn't doze off like an older more seasoned horse might do he is respectful. If he isn't the one getting the attention he throws quite a little fit. While being the naughty onlooker he will pin his ears, throw his head around, weave back and forth, go in and out of his stall to his paddock and generally act out like a spoiled rotten child.

He is quirky. He is impish. He is busy. He is sensitive. He has an incredible amount of desire to please. He tries and tries and tries again. For the most part he only gets in a snit occasionally and when he does, you can usually take him back to a place he is confident and he comes right back to the trying and pleasing side of his personality. There are times when I am riding him and I almost feel like he is saying to me..." Hey mom - Look at what I can do". Usually just about that time he trips or something shiny catches his eye and I come back to the reality that he is just a baby. A four year old baby in a very horse sized body.

It has taken me a while to figure him out. There have been times when I was ready to ship him down the road with a a bunch of disclaimers and buyer beware warnings.  I have really struggled with what to do with him. He isn't like my other horses.  I am in over my head with his training. I don't have the time to provide the consistency that he so desperately needs. I have made two mistakes with trainers already and he has weathered those storms. Recently, I sent him off to another trainer and am hoping the 3rd time is a charm and that it is a good fit for him. I haven't really stopped thinking about him since I dropped him off. I am pretty sure that I know what call I am going to get. The call that says "come get this nut job and buy yourself a better horse". The plan is that he is being evaluated for 90 days. At the end of 90 days I will be given the opinion of said trainer as to whether or not he has the potential for a working cowhorse and / or ranch versatility prospect. Basically whether or not he is worth dumping a lot of money into.

The thing is - for whatever reason - I see something in this horse. He has such a drive to please. Such a willing attitude to try and excellent retention of what he learns. He is going through some pretty extreme growth spurts and still shows so much athletic ability. All that said,  I don't think that any trainer is going to give him the type of attention and spend the time figuring him out to allow him to blossom. All of this swims around my head and I find myself daydreaming about what he is going through. I swear it is like having a special needs child and putting them on the regular school bus for the first time. You just want them to be like all the rest, but you know they are just a tad different and no matter how much try and desire they have, the world isn't going to bend and mold to accommodate them.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. Kel--Even if he isn't ideal as a competitor in your chosen sport, maybe he is still the horse for you if he speaks to you. You seem to get along with him real well, from what I can tell. I know you don't have a lot of time, but maybe you are the one to ride him? I didn't know much when I trained Gunner, but we did OK.

  2. I took him to Les about 3 weeks ago and we spoke today. Bob is doing good and Les likes him. He isn't riding him for long periods of time but he is riding him several times a day for short periods. I think that is a good plan for Bob. He can't take a lot of pressure at once but he does well with it in bits and pieces. It made me relax a little to hear that Les was trying to work with his personality instead of against it. If it doesn't work out I am going to bring him home and keep plugging away at it. It will just take me a long time. Which is all I have.

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