Cara, how'd the Chris Cox clinic go? (your PM box is full)

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by patandchickens, Oct 21, 2009.

  1. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Title says it all [​IMG] I hope that if your mare was bad, it was an opportunity to get some good help with her bad-ness; or that if she was good, you enjoyed showing her off [​IMG]

    Pat
     
  2. Cara

    Cara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2007
    NM
    LOL I've been waiting on my stepmother in law (is that a real relative?) to get the photos on a CD for me.

    The drive up there was terrible. There was blowing snow on the highway from Douglas WY to Sheridan to the point where we couldn't see a thing. At one point it cleared and we found we were headed for the median. Anyway, we all got there alive but I don't know how!

    Lucy took the trailer ride pretty well, it took us 22hrs total with an overnight stop off. She wasn't too pleased when we arrived and she had to spend two days in a nasty tiny stall. It was so bad the door was hanging diagonally and we had to hammer the hasp shut and pry it open.

    Warming her up before our segment of the clinic she was just dreadful. She'd never been in an indoor arena let alone seen an audience, but she wasn't all that spooky. She was just wound up from being in a trailer or box stall for the past week and eating alfalfa non stop! She wouldn't stop, she'd just toss her head and move faster, she wouldn't turn, she wouldn't back up. I was so scared my hands were shaking and the only thing I could do to stop freaking out completely was sing along to the music, and I was scared to death they'd suddenly turn my microphone on and i'd be doing karaoke.

    When Chris came in and the crowd applauded I thought I was going to die (and apparently so did my family!). She didn't know what the noise was and started dancing around like a maniac. We almost ran into a round pen when thankfully Chris Cox appeared next to me! I've never been so relieved to see anyone in my life. We talked a while about what my/her problems were and he seemed pretty amused about how many issues we had. He didn't think she was the best choice for a confidence builder, she was overreacting to everything including a fly bothering her head while we were talking. It made me feel better that he could see she was a difficult horse and it wasn't all in my head.

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    Thankfully he decided to work with her and I first (there were two other ladies) so I got off her! I turned her loose in the round pen. He had me more than a little worried when this happened.. a lot:

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    She wasn't the best behaved horse in the world, he was having a hard time keeping her attention. I did feel good that my horse even tests Chris Cox!

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    He got on her with nothing on her head, and she did well.

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    Then it was my turn [​IMG]

    The funny thing is, I trusted that man completely. I was scared he'd chew me out, but he didn't at all. He knew I was freaking out and God knows how but he calmed me down. He told me only two things were going to get me out of my saddle. My response 'me and her?' His 'starvation or a good looking guy'. It does have a huge cantle and swells [​IMG]

    For some reason if he tells me to do something i'll do it. I know he can read a horse and I know he won't get me hurt. I didn't worry about her because I knew he'd keep me safe.

    Apparently I had something really important to tell him, I have no idea what.

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    So I hopped on her, and thankfully he helped fix my microphone that had been giving me fits since the beginning! I had the shakes and just couldn't do it.

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    So with that straightened out, he had me lope her. Just like that. I'd only loped her once before and it was two months before while doing my demo video (and in a bridle!).

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    I survived! Lucy was just fine, and Chris made my year by telling me I can ride well. I just need to stop my nerves making me tense.

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    Funnily enough, he didn't even have to adjust my stirrups. When I got off her I realised we're almost the same height! LOL

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    He didn't have time to address our bit issue, but suggested that I start her like a colt teaching her to give to the bit.

    Riding with him was just incredible. I'd always thought he was more of a horse person than a people person, but it's not the case. He knew how to calm me down but push my boundaries and it felt great. It was amazing to ride with someone that has such a gift, and I never doubted him.

    We had some horse buyers at the ranch on Saturday looking at Lucy and a couple of others, but I just couldn't bear to sell her. So that afternoon I got started on the ground working with her. Funnily enough she acted exactly like my filly did the first time she saw a bit. At first she had no idea what I wanted, but as soon as she figured it out she'd give to it every time. Chris gave me a handy tip about dropping the entire rein as soon as she gave even the slightest bit, and it worked! I could touch the rein with one finger and she'd give. An hour later I was riding her. I'd had no intention of getting on her but she was doing very well.

    When I rode her she was perfect. I had to call my husband to tell him to come and see, and he was amazed. I rode her on Sunday and she was perfect again. I rode her twice on Monday and she never put a foot wrong. She's light, she's quiet and left is easier than right now, I must have spent too long working on it!Even the 'sticky corner of doom' no longer makes her mad. We had one spot in the pen where I knew better than to ask her to do anything because it was the scene of many crimes in the past. Now she couldn't care less. I took her out on the trail and she was great. I even sat on her with no tack at all and she was fine.

    The funny thing is all of her bad habits seem to have disappeared by fixing that one problem. She used to be hard to catch and would turn her butt to me in the pen, now she comes to meet me. She follows me around. She leads better. She backs great. She stops with just my seat whereas before she would try and rear and keep moving. I have a pretty good bruise from sitting back too far on Monday and her screeching to a halt! I crashed into the saddle horn and bruised my tummy. Yesterday we had thunderstorms so I just worked with her on the ground and she was just perfect.

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    I'm sure she'll have bad days, but i've had more enjoyment out of her this week than I have in the whole year we've had her. She seems much happier and more relaxed. I've had an offer for more than we paid for her, but I just can't take it. I'm scared that she'll revert as soon as I turn it down!

    I feel bad because she just did not understand. We'd assumed that a 4yr old horse would know to give to pressure, but she didn't. She has been trying so hard to please me this week and she seems proud of herself. I expect her to be good and she is; before i'd expect a fight and always got one. I'd only had one good day since I bought her, now i've had four in a row. Fingers crossed!

    My filly Lorie is coming back from the neighbouring Hashknife Ranch sometime next month, and i'd been really worried about getting on her. We've visited her and she is doing wonderfully, but I was concerned that my fear would hold her back. She hasn't bucked once and was riding better than Lucy was after just 19 days. Now i'm still cautious, but I don't think it's impossible. She has a very different temperament than Lucy did/does?, she's a lot more willing. My dream is to one day show Lorie in cutting, so we'll see.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2009
  3. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    Cara...so glad Lucy is doing better for you. I grew up with horses, but my husband's not a horse person so haven't had any for a lot of years. I hope you two have a lot of happy years together!! [​IMG]

    Neat pictures!
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2009
  4. Stina

    Stina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 6, 2009
    Allentown, PA
    Excellent story! Hopefully she continues on the path to being a good horse!

    I've had the privelege to watch chris in person once...it was amazing! He was working with a young q-horse stallion and a woman who clearly didn't know how to handle him properly.......she kept smacking him in the nose every time he made a noise.......so of course he kept making noise... At any rate Chris was amazing!...that horse was perfectly well behaved (at least with him) by the time he stopped working with him....he was riding him bareback!
     
  5. Rusty Hills Farm

    Rusty Hills Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2008
    Up at the barn
    Hmmm. Sounds like "her" problems were more about you learning how to relax and trust than they were about anything else. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. We shoot ourselves in the foot, so to speak. Stay relaxed and she will continue to do great for you. She started to trust you once you started trusting yourself.

    Glad this all worked out.

    Rusty
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    That's terrific, Cara! [​IMG]

    It sounds like she's thinking, "Ha, FINALLY I get it through that woman's head what's wrong and how to fix it, took her long enough -- now THIS is MUCH more fun!" (I am totally not criticizing at all, just putting it from Lucy's perspective [​IMG])

    Thanks for the report and pix,

    Pat
     
  7. Cara

    Cara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2007
    NM
    I'm sure a lot of it was my fault, no offence taken at all. We got off on the wrong foot and needed someone to give us a fresh start. I was afraid of her before we even bought her. She bucked the first time I rode her and from then on I didn't trust her. She's quite a pushy character and figured that she'd be the leader if I wasn't. I bored her because I didn't want to do much with her, I was too afraid. Not being able to control their head is a pretty big deal and quite limiting [​IMG]

    I guess she's sensitive, if she feels like she's pleasing you she'll try anything. If she thinks you're mad, she's mad. It's easier for me to stay in the right frame of mind now that I can see it works. She wants to do more for me because she feels like I can now, and so do I. I just hope things will stay this way.
     

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