My start in life was great. My owners imprinted me at birth. By the time I was four months old I was getting my feet trimmed, wormed and vaccinated with no problem. I enjoyed being around people and doing things with them. Then at three years old I was sent out to be started under saddle.
The person to saddle me the first time was nice, but, as they say, “young and dumb.” As I was gentle, they just threw the saddle on me and cinched it up tight without preparing me for the pressure. When I started to walk out the pressure from the cinch startled me and I began to buck, and eventually fell over backwards. I felt something in my withers but did not have any way to tell anyone about it. After ten days of cinching me up tight and having me buck, this young two legger told my owner that I was “too rank to ride.”
My owner took me to No Legs and explained the situation as she saw it. He started out slow, doing his ground work and thought I was a pretty responsive and willing horse. He even put a rope around my girth and had me leading by that rope. When he saddled me, he didn’t cinch it too tight, and I was comfortable enough to work without pain.
Then came the day for my first ride under him. We walked around the round corral a few times in each direction with no problem. Then we started trotting. I was a little uncomfortable, but not too bad.
Then a sack blew up against the side of the round corral and I started to shy away from it. That is when the pain hit, and I started to buck, and buck hard! After several wild trips around the pen I lost my balance and fell on my belly and laid there. After a couple of minutes of sitting on me and waiting for me to get up, No Legs stepped off of me. With his weight off of me, I stood up.
Now he put together the fact that my bucking started when the sack had blown up against the round corral. He had now way of knowing that it wasn’t the sack that made me start bucking, but the pain in my withers from flinching at the sack. All he could think was that I needed more sacking out.
He not only sacked me out in the round corral, but tied garbage bags and tin cans on my saddle and ponied me for hours in the desert off of Storms. Every once in awhile I would feel the pinch and go to bucking. It just didn’t make any sense to either No Legs or my two legger. After several weeks I wasn’t bucking quite as hard. In fact I learned to just stop when it hurt. That was a new problem to solve, but No Legs figured I was safe enough to ride.
Now while No Legs was trying to get me safe to ride, my two legger was researching trying to find a reason for my behavior. After all, I was a gentle horse who liked two leggers. There had to be a reason for what I was doing.
Then came the day of our defining wreck. We were heading across the desert at a trot when suddenly I stopped and picked my head up to look at some mustangs in the desert. No Legs just sat there still, expecting me to start bucking, but hoping I’d relax. Instead I threw myself down on my side. The first thing to hit was his shoulder, then his head. After sliding on top of him a couple of feet I got up and ran home.
Luckily one of the neighbors happened to see the wreck and drove over to give No Legs a ride home. When he caught me, he noticed my eyes were bulging out like that two legger Rodney Dangerfield. He had never seen that in a horse, and it was his first clue I had something physically wrong. I was making progress and learning, there just was no telling when the pain would strike, forcing me to buck or throw myself down.
About the time No Legs was completing the last week of his contract to ride me, my two legger discovered I probably had a pinched nerve in my withers from the first time I went over backwards. After taking me home, I was given two chiropractic/acupuncture treatments and my problem was solved. I was given to a young female two legger who loves to endurance ride. Three months after being given my treatments I finished the Tevis cup in the top twenty. If anyone would have been able to properly diagnose me at the start, both No Legs and myself would have had an easier time of things.
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