Aachille's First Week At The Breakers

Discussion in 'Training Horses' started by Northern Peregrine, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. Northern Peregrine

    Northern Peregrine Well-known Member

    I do think he is the same :) ( For those who don't know, Ruby is Aachi's older full sister) He doesn't always have a great work ethic either and will sometimes try to get out of things by throwing his considerable weight around ..but its usually pretty short lived and then he's like " fine.. whatever" and settles in. When he is in a good frame of mind to work he can be super. He's never tried any rearing type behaviour with me before though and I've never had a horse that is inclined to do that... but I guess that's part of never having had a youngster before either. So probably should expect the unexpected at times. Will see how he goes on Sunday anyway.
    And on the positive side, his hocks must be feeling pretty good for him to want to be standing up on them :)
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2013
  2. Northern Peregrine

    Northern Peregrine Well-known Member

    Our First Show

    I wasn't very hopeful about the Wanneroo Hack Show 'cos, basically, he was a fair bit of a sh*t earlier in the week to the point of me wondering whether I should even take him today or not. My big plan was to get on (without falling off) and hopefully do a ride around the grounds then.. all going well,..maybe do one class and then slink home. Aachi had other ideas though.
    I went on a Swan Valley Wine Tour yesterday and was a mite seedy this morning, so didn't even try the earlier classes of best presented ( plaits were crap anyway) and rider (lol) but we actually WON our first class ( out of seven horses) the over-16 hand hack...so I was obliged to carry on riding from that point. We also got second in pleasure hack and third in over 15 hand med/ heavyweight hack.
    Went in the championship ring and ( can't believe I'm even writing this) almost won that.. but he got too tired. The judge called me and one other horse in for a champion showdown thingie but his work out suddenly lagged a bit. The judge told me after that if he had been going a bit faster he would have gone Champion. She said some really nice things about him too which was lovely. I had been on him for about four hours by then though so can't be too disappointed about any of that. He was pretty good about waiting ringside too. It was "only" walk-/ trot but I'm as happy as if we'd been at the Olympics :)

    Can't rest on any laurels though 'cos Arsey Aachi could show up again at any moment. *#)

    Photo spam to follow ( some are bit hazy because husband decided to sit and take a very limited amount of photos from about 200 metres away ..and he's never heard of zooming in)

    Last edited: Nov 18, 2013
  3. Northern Peregrine

    Northern Peregrine Well-known Member


    We are second from left
  4. Northern Peregrine

    Northern Peregrine Well-known Member

  5. mirawee

    mirawee Gold Member

    Great that you are getting him out and about again :D

    I hope the Arsey Archie takes a while to return ;)
  6. MilkyBarKid

    MilkyBarKid New Member

    He has lovely movement :) All Ribbons were well deserved. You both did great yesterday :)*
  7. Northern Peregrine

    Northern Peregrine Well-known Member

    Oh, The Highs And The Horrible Lows

    Well I've just had a major high with the hack show this week but the low has come pretty suddenly after. :(

    It didn't take Accident Aachi long to be back in the wars and this time it was a real doozy..I'm still shaking several hours later.
    He hadn't been worked since the show, so I thought we'd do a bit of lunging with running reins, which we do a few times a week on average, so nothing new there. Have John O'Leary running reins and can always set them exactly, so he was on the loose-ish setting that we always start off on. He was happy, calm and in a good mood, even though the wind was howling, but as I walked him off on the lunge he very suddenly reared completely vertically and ran backwards at the same time. He ran into a fence post and flipped backwards out of the arena over a chain that I use as a "gate".
    In the process of him going over ( which seemed to occur in very slow motion to me, although I'm sure it was actually in real time) the running reins wrapped around the gate post dragging the bit half out of his mouth and pinning him between the posts...one of the wooden posts bent over but didn't break. To make it far worse, the gate chain was wrapped under and around him, completely trapping his front leg, which was bent up firmly against his chest . He was half upside-down on the ground with everything just twisted all around him.. completely trapped by the chain, reins, gate post and his own weight.
    He had his eyes closed and there was blood coming from his mouth. I couldn't leave him and, although I tried, it was clear that I wasn't going to be able to free him by myself. At that moment, I honestly thought I was going to lose him. All I could think of right then, was that it was going to end here, like this.. and I felt helpless :(
    I'm home alone at the moment and it's isolated down the back with bush all around but I just caught a glimpse of a neighbour in the distance and I screamed my lungs out and luckily she heard. Another neighbour ..somehow..also heard and came running. I can never ever thank them enough ( thank you, thank you Sue and Amanda :) )
    Aachi was trapped for a good fifteen minutes while we struggled to free him. Those fifteen minutes felt like hours and the whole time I really thought he was dying or would be so badly injured that there would be no hope. To his credit he didn't panic and trusted us enough to keep perfectly still while we cut the reins free and tried to cut the chain..which, between the three of us, we eventually managed to do ( I had to leave him with the neighbours and run to the stables to find cutters) Unfortunately Sue copped an accidental hoof to the thigh..which left a big nasty bruise.. as he struggled to get back upright.
    Vet came straight out and it seems he has got off quite lightly. He has a slightly swollen front leg and numerous cuts and abrasions from the chain on his leg and chest. He doesn't appear lame though. The blood from his mouth was from a cut to the gum as the bit was pulled sideways. He doesn't appear to have any head injuries and the other legs seem fine. He'll be off work for a week or two..naturally.
    Looking on the positive side..he'll probably think twice before rearing again. I couldn't have "punished" him for it anywhere near to how he has "punished" himself.Obviously I 'm also glad that I wasn't riding him ( although I really believe he wouldn't have done anything like that if I had actually been on him) because, without a doubt, I would have been killed.
    Thinking about it, I'm also grateful that when he was two years old he went to Fred Watkins for a week's groundwork training, which included hobble training. Controversial though it sometimes is, I honestly think the hobble training helped save him today as he remained calm under that kind of pressure.
    Also on the positive side, this incident might finally spur my husband on to do a proper arena...even if we have to borrow the money to get it done. As it is, it's basically a 60 x 20 paddock, with dressage markers, that is exactly the same as when we moved in nearly four years ago. I've always felt a bit uneasy about the old fencing although have never had an incident until today. I certainly won't be using a chain as a gate again anyway.
    I can't help but feel guilty but, at the end of the day, it was just one of those things. I think I am more traumatised than him because my brain keeps replaying it over and over..still in slow motion..and I feel a deep need to visit the bottle shop, whereas Aachi is standing contentedly in his stable munching his hay...happy in the knowledge that he has escaped work once again.

    The main thing..the only thing that matters.. is that my beloved accident-prone Aachilles lives on, to be a dork for another day :)
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  8. Paint8

    Paint8 Well-known Member

    I love hearing about your boys progress and I am so happy to hear you are both ok :) sounds like a very scary experience!
  9. equislave

    equislave Well-known Member

    Oh dear. I read your two posts one after the other and now have tears in my eyes. That accident sounds horrendous, I felt for you every step of the way. It is amazing how things can happen so suddenly and so badly and then the horses get off with far less of an injury than me think. Good luck with your healing and his, you won't be forgetting that one in a hurry.
  10. Playin With Fire

    Playin With Fire Well-known Member

    I love reading your progress!! Photos are awesome!
  11. Northern Peregrine

    Northern Peregrine Well-known Member

    Thanks guys. I'd much rather be posting "Aachille's Is An Idiot" than "RIP Aachilles"..which it could have so very easily have been today. :( I'm still tearful..mostly with relief.. over it.
    I know he's appreciative of what we did for him because he was weirdly smoochy when I went to do the feeds tonight...he usually just concentrates on his food and bugger everything else.
    The vet ( Anushka from Swan Valley who has been consistently treating him for his various ailments/accidents for quite a while now) really doesn't think he has any sort of neurological problem...like me, she is of the opinion that stuff just happens to him. He is not dangerous or a confirmed rearer or anything remotely like it. Thinking about it, I believe the lunge rein may have caught up on the bit and pulled him up or, more likely,
    I might have misjudged the initial running rein setting and, as he is extremely sensitive in the mouth, when he started walking forward it suddenly caught him up short somehow. I just don't know but one thing I'm quite sure of is that that if he hadn't had the running reins on it would never have happened. I truly don't think it was badness because he honestly doesn't have a mean bone in his body..and his trainers can testify to that. However I will take him to Rick's for his return to work ride in a few weeks time and make sure all is okay. I'm quite sure by the time he is about 12 years old ( and I'll be 61 years old by then !! ) I'll have the perfect horse for me...if my nerves can survive him that long ..
    Although I can never repay them fully for helping save Aachi's life, I owe the neighbours at least a bottle of wine each or something...especially the one with the newly aquired limp. It's funny but I've been here almost four years and never really spoken to them until today. I think we might be friends now though :)
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  12. K85

    K85 New Member

    How distressing NP I can’t imagine how awful that would have been. I am so glad both you and Aechille are ok, I hope you got a good night’s sleep to recover from the stress.
  13. Northern Peregrine

    Northern Peregrine Well-known Member

    I couldn't sleep last night for thinking about it .. can still see him lying there like a dead, trussed up chook ..and I was up before 5 am. I've never experienced post traumatic stress but this must be a little bit what it feels like. I checked on him first thing and he is fine .. no leg swellings and the cuts are superficial although his back is a bit sore, so there's another job for Ivan H up the road. He's eating like a horse ( lol) so his mouth must be feeling okay.
    As I thought about it last night, and its perhaps a fine distinction, but it's one that makes me feel better but he didn't actually rear over backwards. He went up and came down and , as we were really close to the fence anyway stepped back away from the pressure ( the running reins, I assume) and that backwards stepping momentum into the chain tipped him over. If we had been in the centre of the arena he would never have fallen at all. We just happened to be in the worst possible spot we could be in at that time.
    I've learnt a valuable lesson that I'll never forget. I'll be keeping to the centre in future and be super careful with any restrictive gear on him. I do use running reins because they are much less restrictive than side reins but it's clear that it pays not to be too complacent with anything... especially on a young horse!
    Have spent half the night questioning whether I really am too old for all this ( have just found out I'm going to be a first time Grandma next year too :) ) but I know I'll keep on going.

    I'm going to try to put it behind me now, as obviously can't change anything by worrying and, in the end, we were very lucky. Hopefully my next Aachi update will be much more pleasant :)
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
  14. dobin

    dobin New Member

    What a great read NP, I hope you both have a speedy recovery. I'm about to embark on my journey with a 3 year old filly and im feeling very apprehensive . I keep telling myself if I can get through the next couple of years I will hopfully end up with a great partnership with my last riding horse. I just hope I have the courage and stamina to get to that place.:)
    Thanks for sharing all the highs and lows.
  15. Northern Peregrine

    Northern Peregrine Well-known Member

    I really wish you all the best with your filly :)
    I knew it would be hard but it's much harder than I ever dreamed. Aachi is supposed to be my last horse too. He's a big grown up looking horse with quite a childish brain . He's extremely trainable but lacks a lot of maturity. Warmbloods, I've been told, don't mature mentally ( or physically) until at least 7..and sometimes not even then. My 19 year old WB can sometimes be a huge twit too..in fact he's often less sensible than Aachi! I do think if I can get him past that point though, then we'll be fine.I know I'll never sell him , whatever happens ( who would buy him anyway after reading all this!)
    Several people have messaged me expressing concerns for my well being..and his ..and I thank them for this. I promise I will take every measure to ensure that we are safe.
    One of the big issues for me, that I've mentioned before on here, is my concern at mostly being on my own with him...and even the other horses ( there are four in all ) ..and this was highlighted big time yesterday in the crisis. I shudder to think what would have happened if those neighbours hadn't been home.
    It would be a big expense but I'm thinking about maybe agisting him, possibly even more training agistment again for a time, so I won't be in that position again..at least for a while
    It's pointless but I can't help but I wish that I had just continued to bask in the glow of his show ribbons this week and never ever got him out yesterday but.. *siiigh*
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
  16. Coda Cowgirl

    Coda Cowgirl Well-known Member

    If you ever need a hand i'm only just up the road...i don't work afternoons and apart from picking up kids from school i'm often home...even if you just wanted to text me and say 'hopping on my horse now if you don't hear back from me in 30 mins come looking and call the vet!" I'm also cool if you just want an extra person around...i can drink cups of tea just as well from yours while you work your horse as from home :)
  17. Northern Peregrine

    Northern Peregrine Well-known Member

    That sounds like it could be a good plan .. although I work afternoons but I have some weekdays off :) My husband is home every third week and obviously will be over Xmas but its really the in between times that are a problem.
    He is going to rip out all the old 'arena' fencing when he gets home next time and we are going to make it much safer before its ever used again. Aachi will be going to his trainers the week after next.. I want to make sure he is 100 percent safe before I'm back on board..
  18. mirawee

    mirawee Gold Member

    Aachi really does like putting you through highs and lows doesn't he! CC's offer sounds like a great one :)*
  19. Northern Peregrine

    Northern Peregrine Well-known Member

    I don't intend to harp on past this point about this horrible incident but I do feel the need to issue a public apology to Aachilles, especially as I have called him an "idiot" and a couple of other things.

    He's a good horse and this was NOT, in any way, his fault.

    I finally picked up my fairly mangled running reins and other gear from the dust this morning and counted the settings. I will admit I was in a rush that morning ( had somewhere to go after) and although I HAD loosened them off ( I had referred to them as "loose-ish on the usual start-off setting" in a previous post) I was clearly deluded, as they were actually set several holes too far for him to safely start off his lunging work session on.
    They would have been super- loose for my similar sized, 19 year old, medium/advanced horse Perry ( I can't take too much credit for him actually.. someone very professional trained him , competed him at Official and then I just shelled out the bucks to buy him at 13 years old, after all the hard yards had been done) but it was not a good initial setting for a five year old with a sensitive mouth, who is just learning about contact. Never had a lunging problem with Aachi before with those reins and I just got careless. Then, when it went wrong, I was unable to react quickly enough. So ...

    Sorry mate...I am the idiot :eek:

    Just further to this cautionary tale.
    I will buy new reins as they are a great tool used correctly, so was just looking around on the John O'Leary website this morning ( not saying he's The Big Guru or anything.. but he might be ) and , although it's probably stating the bleeding obvious for a lot of people , I found this blurb. Not too sure about the leaping behind your horse bit though :blink:... but anyway..


    "When introducing artificial aids of any description, there is a high risk of injury or death to the horse. Each year in Australia, a horse somewhere, dies due to installation of incorrectly fitted equipment on horses. The rule is therefore, that we must start with such equipment being loose and gradually tightening the adjustments when and only if you see the horse completely understanding what you want and that the horse is giving to the pressure applied. Both of these points are interconnected and highly important. You must be sure that the horse has got the message what is required, such as bobbing it's head and breaking at the poll, before ever adjusting reins up tighter.

    Prior to rearing because of tight equipment, a horse will slow, come to a halt and start to step back. These are the signs that the handler must recognize and do so at the speed of light, for the safety and well being of your horse depends upon your re-action. To protect your horse under such circumstances, you must leap to a position where you are behind your horse and quite simply, cane, whack or what ever other description you want use, the horse's rump. It must be sent forward and any force is reasonable under these circumstances. The horse that goes forward does not rear and is therefore safe from injury. If this has happened once, they rarely do it again, only if the owner is a 'super goose' and adjusts up too soon again"

    Last edited: Nov 23, 2013
  20. PF

    PF Active Member

    Hey NP, don't be too hard on yourself....Aachi can be a goose, and a dill and an absolute doofus - I've seen them all! He can also be smoochy, cute and adorable. He is an accident prone teenager - you will get there in the end. Kudos to you for your stamina with him.

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