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My horse runs faster than I ride… a lot faster!

A few months ago, my horse Cowboy started to get gate sour. This horse loves to run in competition. On trail, he’ll run if I ask, but you can tell it’s not ‘flat out.’

Around the barn, I really have to ask LOUDLY to get him to run. But go to a show and he would walk quietly to the gate, then glance over his shoulder and tell me to, “Sit Down, Shut Up, Hang On!” Or at least he used to.

Suddenly I found myself having to push him through the gate. Then he started acting up near the gate and ‘double-down’ took on a whole new meaning just to get him into the arena. Then the rodeo started! Often a good 8 seconds of bucking and rearing before I could get him settled and moving forward. Then “getting settled” wasn’t even part of the deal, just getting through the gate and starting to run was all I could hope for. What really confused me was that once we got focused and started to run, he ran like the wind. We were turning in better times than ever before.

I knew there was something wrong, but I had not a clue as to what it was! So I started searching and asking. I gotta tell you… I shoulda asked my horse before I asked anyone else! First we checked all the tack. No problem there. Then a friend suggested that Cowboy’s back was ‘out’ and I should see the chiropractor. So we call the chiropractor and he tells me that Cowboy looks fine and that nothing is out of alignment! Needless to say, over the next few months we continued our struggle and I got more suggestions than I could count or afford. Everyone had an opinion ranging from calling an animal communicator to adding a six-pack of beer to his supplements to taping crystals to his butt! I’m embarrassed to tell you some of the things that were suggested.

To add to the confusion, as I continued to work Cowboy both in the arena and on some pretty hilly trail, people were commenting on how good Cowboy looked and how big his butt was getting and how happy he seemed! And once again, I never had any problem in the arena or on trail. Even in the warm-up arena at a competition, Cowboy was his nice quiet, wonderful self! But walk toward the gate and all hell started breaking lose.

Then one day I’m riding Cowboy around the barn and my friend Bev stops me and suggests that Cowboy’s hocks look sore. So I had the vet take a look. And all of a sudden the brick hit me upside my head! OF COURSE IT WAS HIS HOCKS YOU IDIOT!

Suddenly it all made sense. Walking and jogging around the barn or on trail wasn’t a big problem. But running flat out and hunching down to make those turns at speed was hurting like the devil. All this time Cowboy was trying to tell me that when he ran it HURT. So he fought me at the gate and once he started running he ran as fast as he could so that the pain would be over sooner!

So we injected his hocks and the next thing I know, I’ve got a whole new horse. OK, so it took a couple of weeks to work him back up and get rid of all the soreness and the fear of pain, but boy do I have a different horse!

Now my problem is exactly the opposite! Cowboy starts to get excited as we near the gate and wants to start running full out as soon as we enter the arena. I found myself reining him in because he was running a heck of a lot faster than I was riding!

Now Cowboy is running really, really fast and I’m struggling to catch up. This puts me “way behind my horse.” Cowboy’s running like the wind and I’m riding like a wind-sock. It’s all I can do to stay with him and not get in his way. Boy do I have a lot of work to do!

I owe Cowboy a big “Thank You” for putting up with me and still giving his all! And next time we have a problem I’ll try asking Cowboy before I ask anyone else!