SA Jack of Hearts, aka Gamble came to us 7 weeks ago with a reputation for being strong and not a horse that just anyone could ride. We discovered that while he is a sweetheart on the ground, he has some serious trust issues. I’m not sure exactly what happened in the past, but he consistently avoids allowing someone to mount. He isn’t vindicative and doesn’t want to hurt you, but rather it feels like he is scared. Maybe scared of what will happen or of being disciplined. Regardless, it was quickly clear that Gamble needs a lot of ground work and trust. This afternoon I finally sat on his back.
Amanda rode JJ around the arena while I worked with Gamble. Once I got on, it didn’t feel like I was sitting on a stick of dynamite; it felt like I was sitting on a whole bundle of dynamite. We just worked on walking and listening without overloading him. About 10 minutes was enough to call it successful for the day. I’ll definitely be wearing my Point Two air vest as we continue to work together.
I know my seat looks awful and I’ll be making some tack adjustments but that wasn’t the priority for today. Despite his tension, I really don’t get the feeling he wants to hurt anyone, just that he is scared and not sure what to expect. This is definitely a horse where I need to be in the right frame of mind every time I sit in the saddle.
In the last two weeks we have worked with JJ and Gamble each day. It seems we rocked their world a little bit, moving them over 1100 miles and changing their situation. They were turned out in a herd 24/7 and not handled a whole lot. We have spent time with them every day and done some lunging every few days. JJ is showing some definite education, but is definitely herd bound and relies on living in a herd. Gamble is sensitive and his MO is blow backwards when unsure. He will certainly need a connection with his rider.
This afternoon Rob and I brought JJ and Gamble up to the barn and tacked them up. I spent about 30 minutes on ground work with JJ and then mounted, spending about 30 minutes mounted walk/trot. I’m still figuring out her buttons, but with time I believe she will become the horse we want.
I had told Rob Gamble needed a relationship, but being the guy he is he didn’t really believe me. He spent an hour this afternoon lungeing and working on mounting block training. Gamble is very sensitive and needs a rider who will take the time to gain his trust. I think they will get there, but we all stayed safe tonight and Rob never got in the saddle.
In the coming weeks we will work towards developing relationships and figuring things out. I have a hip replacement coming up in December and I will do what I can before then. Amanda thinks she will be the rider for JJ and maybe that is true. Stay tuned.
4 days of driving totalling 38 hrs in the truck and 2245 miles. We are home safe and sound. Gamble and JJ both traveled great. They drank when they got off the trailer and are eating hay. We have been giving them a soupy mash throughout the trip. They don’t seem to know what Lamanchas are, but that will probably only be a temporary scary thing. We will let them settle in and start riding them soon.
Gamble and JJ enjoying some mashJJ (left) and Gamble (right)Gamble and JJ looking at FionaFiona running the fence line
We did check their heights and Gamble is 16.0hh while JJ is 15.1hh. Welcome home ponies.
We didn’t take many pictures today because we were all about the miles. Over 700 miles covered in 12.5 hours. We generally went 2.5-3 hours at a stretch and then stopped for 30 minutes to let the horses take break. At each stop, they got offered some wet mash and water. JJ liked the sweet water (2 gal of water with a handful of rice bran added). JJ and Gamble both did great all day.
The horses are enjoying a layover at TMR Ranch in Woodland, PA. When we arrived, they had stalls ready to go with hay, water, and bedding. The farm is less than 1.5 miles off I-80 with plenty of parking for your trailer and hotels less than 10 minutes away. If you are crossing PA and need a layover, check them out on horsemotels.com.
This morning started before sunrise as we left Ohio and headed into Indiana. As the sun came up, we saw deer everywhere. By the way, it’s REALLY flat in Indiana so you can see a long way. Illinois wins the worst road maintenance award of the 7 states we travelled through. We crossed the Mississippi and arrived at our destination of Dubuque, Iowa mid-afternoon. We checked in to the hotel and took a break before going shopping.
Elkhart, IN has a buck on the water towerCrossing the MississippiCrossing the Mississippi
We found some things we liked and decided to buy.
SA Jack of Hearts (Gamble)SA Jeeka’s Jessica (JJ)
Joining our herd are SA Jack of Hearts (barn name Gamble) and SA Jeeka’s Jessica (barn name JJ). Gamble and JJ are both originally from Sun Arab Stables in Kentucky where we bought SA Fiona from Daunna Sellers; all three share the same Shagya sire, Bayram. Gamble and JJ are out of the same dam, a Thoroughbred named Oak Island Jeeka, so they are both Anglo-Shagyas. Here are the stats: Gamble is 10yo gelding, 16.1hh (maybe 16.2 – Anna is standing uphill) and JJ is a 14yo mare, 15.1-2hh. JJ has foaled previously and both have 2 Limited Distance endurance rides under the belt, although it’s been a few years.
We went out to get some sushi to celebrate. Early tomorrow morning we will start the drive home.