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The Boys Meet The Silver Walker of Doom

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  • The Boys Meet The Silver Walker of Doom

    Both my big boys** have been down to our local therapeutic horsemanship facility and have seen walkers & wheelchairs - occupied & un - "Ho hum, yeah, whatever..."

    I have a friend with CP (student/volunteer at the facility) who is starting an equine science degree, so she came over this morning for some extra horsie time.

    O. M. G.

    When the boys saw/heard her coming across the dirt driveway with her walker, you would have thought she was riding a snarling mountain lion.

    Spook. Snort. Bolt. Spin. Buck. Snort. Stare. Spook. Snort. Buck.

    All 3 of them.

    This went on & on & on - despite the fact that we had interrupted breakfast. We were standing outside the chain link fence near their hay, and NO WAY were they coming near us.

    I eventually went in and haltered The Naughty Pony, and made him come say hello. He was pretty sure this was a Bad Idea, but he came along. Once the other 2 saw that he wasn't being eaten, they came a *little* closer, but only about half way across the arena.

    I put TNP back and went to get Mr. Blondie, who was not too sure about coming out of the arena with me. But he came up & sniffed the walker (and nibbled on the handle, just in case it was edible), and tolerated small movements of the walker. Then I had Alicia walk away from us, and we followed. That was okay.

    Then we walked down the driveway beside her, and that was okay, too.

    So Alicia took the lead rope for the trip back to the house, and I was so proud.

    He got a little out of sync a couple times (too far ahead or too far behind), but he listened to her corrections and just walked along like he had been doing it all his life.

    She brought him into the arena, took off his halter, and he walked sedately over to finish breakfast.

    I loff my boys, even when they're silly.

    ** The Boys:
    Prozac Pony, 18 year old Appy.
    Mr. Blondie, 13 year old QH
    The Naughty Pony, 10-11 year old Pony of Unknown Origin
    Approved helmet: Every time; every ride.
    "When a sport gets to be predictable it ceases to be fun." - RAR's wise brother

  • #2
    Good For You! Grats on the boys behaving! They're all snort and blow at the new stuff, as long as there's not buck or bolt your on the right track.
    Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
    Originally Posted by alicen:
    What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.


    • #3
      Funny though - at our last barn, a young girl came with her father (friend of the BO's son) to see the horses. Not a single one blew up at her walker. Not one.

      They came to watch me ride, and I asked her dad (having seen "that look" in her eyes) if she could get on. We transferred my helmet to her head (good thing I'm a pinhead!), and he helped lift her on - another first, as Ted is not much for pony rides and generally the only way it happens is that I lift the kids on.

      Someone came into the arena, and without even looking, started free lunging her horse (I kid you not - she was in a temper!). And my boy just stood there.

      Would my boy make a great TH horse? No. But you know - they know, they understand, far more than you might suspect. Bet if your boys had gone to visit her barn, they would have said, "Oh, that's just the way they do things here."
      a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


      • Original Poster

        They've both been to the therapeutic riding facility before - I think they just accept that Camelot is the place where weird things happen.

        But at home... whole 'nuther story!
        Approved helmet: Every time; every ride.
        "When a sport gets to be predictable it ceases to be fun." - RAR's wise brother


        • #5
          a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


          • #6
            It's a NQR sitcheation!

            I think it's that thing where something is just outa place for them. They are used to their familiar surroundings and then something changes and OMG it's a big hairy deal! Like that new downed tree on the trail they've been on a million times! Or the wheelbarrow in a new place. or somebody moved the (fill in space)!!! It's just too much for their little brains!


            • #7
              Years ago when I first got my Arab, we boarded for a few weeks at the TR program where I teach. His first experience with people who didn't have typical body language was "snort and blow" -- it was as if he couldn't read them right and got all worried about it. A couple summers later, we were boarding elsewhere and one of the kids I taught came out with his family for a visit. He was in a motorized wheelchair, wrapped up in a bright colored afgahn because it was cool out. My horse wanted NOTHING to do with the whole contraption -- until -- the little sister pulled out a 5 lb bag of carrots. Five pounds of carrots later, he was eating them out of the boy's lap and snuffling around in the afgahn for more.


              • Original Poster

                One of the Camelot horses likes to play with the joystick on one of the students' wheelchairs - I don't know that he's ever managed to move Patrick around, but he loves to fiddle with the control.

                (His bridle is loose because he had just finished a session with another student, and stopped by for a munch on Patrick's joystick on his way back to his stall )
                Attached Files
                Approved helmet: Every time; every ride.
                "When a sport gets to be predictable it ceases to be fun." - RAR's wise brother


                • #9
                  I think horses always "know" when someone is around that needs a little extra TLC.

                  Now this isn't a therapy riding situation but.....Mr B, an OTTB who can be very spooky when he wants to be, was the biggest sweet heart to my friend when she walked in with her 7 month baby boy. Mr. B looked at the baby and the baby started laughing (he's around horses & ponies all the time but apparently has NEVER laughed like this). Then in the ring the baby was making lots of noise and instead of Mr. B backing away he kept taking his nose and sniffing the baby and then looking at me. I was like it's fine no worries so he gave the baby a little lick on his feet. Mr. B is a licker so I thought it was the sweetest thing.

                  Even though I would never be able to let him be used at a therapy program I sometimes think he would be great on the ground, with supervision of course. I know after I had my first nerve block in my back Mr. B the next morning was licking my shirt right on the spot.

                  It is the sweetest thing when the horses just "know" and then are so loving.
                  "The horse you get off f is not the same horse you got on. It is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible, the change is for the better" - unknown author


                  • #10
                    Pal Princess was very self absorbed 100% of the time. Walkers of doom or wheelchairs were fine but said human could not be put on her. She didn't like 'sick people' and would usually squeal and act like a fool.
                    Dale, mom's Peruvian was a retired Therapy horse and he would dance and prance for the walkers and wheelchairs. He was the calmest, quietest horse I have ever seen. He would lift the kids a couple of inches when they grabbed his head and then put them back down. He would do his best to save his rider if he felt them unbalance and would carefully place his lips around fingers to get the treats offered. Happiness for him was a chance to be with kids no matter the disability and yes he would lay down on command and let the kids crawl all over him.
                    Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
                    Originally Posted by alicen:
                    What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.


                    • #11
                      RAR - what an adorable picture!
                      a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                      • #12
                        My Arab saw his first wheelchair at a show. His ears pricked (he must have been around 4 yrs old) and I was prepared for an OMG moment with a spin and "Im out of here". Instead he walked up to the wheelchair, put his nose down and pushed the amputees leg stump (gently). Then looked at the guy's face.
                        I swear he looked like he was saying "What happened to you?"