Friday, October 28, 2011

Now What?

Note:  I started this post well over a week ago, and there have been developments and complications since then. I decided I just need to post what I have, then, hopefully this weekend, I can bring it further up to date.

I got bad news on Monday (the 10th), and now I find myself facing a dilemma.
Maddie’s little sister Beth (Brioso) has always been a challenge for me.  I’ve said many times that she is “smart, quick, and sassy!”  Lately, I’ve added “and she’s more horse than I care to ride, these days.”  The glitch I had with Maddie earlier this summer, I’ve more or less worked through, and though I still don’t fully “trust “ Maddie, I feel it’s mostly just “green horse moments” that I have to watch for.  But Beth has always had an issue with respect, even as a foal—She’s been bunches better the last couple of years, but will still threaten a kick if one gets after her for, say, invading a human’s space; she hasn’t actually kicked at me in a long time, just wants to see if I can be buffaloed.
I also haven’t ever been really bonded with Beth, not like Maddie and Kate.  I’m not really sure why that is—maybe because, by the time Beth (and Lindy) were foaled in 2006, I was getting to my limit of how much I could do with each horse (I was up to 9 at the time), on top of full-time work.  I have actually gotten to like her more in the last year or so—is that because she’s being nicer?—or she’s being nicer because I’m showing more caring to her?
At any rate, a year and a half ago, knowing she was going to need consistent work, I sent Beth to a local trainer who was recommended by a member of the KVTR.  Although he got the first couple of rides on her, it wasn’t all that I hoped it would be—because he, too, works a full time job, he was not able to be as consistent with her as he had promised.  Plus, looking back now, I’m not sure he wasn’t a bit intimidated by her.  He did a lot of round pen ground work, and got maybe 10 rides on her—also in the pen.  He probably only had her in a trot the last day or two.

But it was enough that I knew she wouldn't totally lose it under saddle, and I figured I could take over after that initial 30 days.  As soon as school was out that year, I got another few weeks of work on her, starting in my arena (my round pen was flooded), and then out into my pastures a few times.  I also rode her "in public" at that summer's "Horse Daze" private treaty sale, sponsored by our local rescue group.  I was encouraged that she was doing fairly well, with no buck, and only the occasional balk.  Although I didn’t feel confident enough to really get after her, I was able to work through the “stuck” moments. 
Then, I admit, I dropped the ball.  I was having too much fun with Kate and Maddie.  Beth went back out in the pasture by the end of July.  I probably would have picked up with her again this year, if not for my confidence shaking experience with Maddie in June.
Beth is not a horse that I ever planned to keep.  She needs steady work, and, being reining bred, would probably do well in any challenging speed event for the right person.
That person isn’t me.  I’m no longer a “go-fast-cat”-- haven’t been in many years.  So Beth has always been for sale.  But she comes in a plain brown wrapper (no Paint markings), and, although she has a pretty nice shoulder and hip, and a very feminine neck and face, her front legs aren’t as straight and nice as I would like.  Her breeding is nothing spectacular, and though she’s registered, I would never recommend her as a broodmare prospect.
And there’s that attitude.  Oh all the horses I’ve raised, she’s the one that I can honestly say will probably never be a kid’s horse.  Even with some additional training and lots more mileage.
So I finally sucked it up and sent her to another young trainer, who came highly recommended by blogger friend, Aarene, of Haiku Farm.  Ryan had helped Aarene work through some issues with her temperamental opinionated Standardbred mare, Fiddle.  He was the fellow who came up and worked with Maddie in August, just so I could see if she was going to behave better with the new felt girth on my Tucker saddle (she did, and I rode her myself the next day).
So, Ryan got a good three weeks going on Beth:  Started out working through the attitude, but had progressed to loping in his arena, and riding around the vicinity of his place down near Yakima.  He didn't feel she was "ready" yet, but she was doing better.  My plan was to bring her home at 30 days, and take her back to him in the late winter to ready her for any possible spring sale.
Early last Monday morning they had a nice ride, and Ryan had tied Beth to his trailer, where he always had her wait, while he went to get his next horse.
As he was walking back, all heck broke loose!  We can't say for sure what triggered it, as she has never pulled back, either here at home, or for him.  He saw it unfold from a ways away, but was truly not able to stop it once it started.  The best we can figure, perhaps a cold, mad wasp had zapped her.
Beth pulled back in a blind panic. Then rushed forward, slamming her face into the trailer.
Then again: pull back, slam forward.
And one more time!
When she was done, Ryan assessed the damage:  multiple scrapes on her face and one shoulder (his original description to me was "hamburger," tho it ended up not looking quite so bad).  And a nasty gash under her jaw, that he felt needed to be stitched up.  He kept me updated by phone and email all day, as he hauled her in to his vet.  Not only did Beth need stitches, she had broken a chunk off the bottom of her jaw bone the size of my little finger!
Vet removed the bone chip, and said that it wasn't all that serious an issue (there's a LOT of bone in that particular location)--the biggest danger was infection.  Talking to Ryan that evening after the dust had settled, I offered to come get her the next day (I had been planning to go down on Tuesday to watch them work together), but allowed as how it would be lots easier for me to wait until the weekend.  Ryan agreed to keep her there until Sunday.  This had the added advantage that he could keep a much closer eye on her during the day, and also do all the doctoring and the penicillin shots (orals weren't an option, partly because she wasn't eating much).

 Next post: Bringing Beth home.


  1. Ugh, no fun. Sorry to hear this happened. :(

  2. Skip to the punchline! I haven't heard much from Ryan lately, so I'm depending on you....

  3. My good friends always says horses aren't looking for a way to kill themselves but a way to hurt themselves - and it has to be expensive. So glad it looked worse than it was.

  4. OMG! What a horrible disaster for all of yall! Fingers crossed for the next update.

  5. How horrible! Plans seem to always change. Dilemmas indeed!


  6. Poor Beth and poor you. I feel sorry for both of you. I hope she's going to be alright. She does seem like an opinionated horse that might need consistent work. It's hard when we don't have that kind of time to put into our horses. I find the same thing here and wind up usually only riding on the weekends. Again hope everything works out for everyone.