Monday, April 20, 2015

Killian and the Camel

Last week I was going to go sorting for the first time in quite some time.  I was super excited, and woke up that morning full of life and energy.  I went out to feed my horses and Sassy and Melody had managed to tear down 2 panels, and Melody was standing there with a torn up leg.

It wasn't serious, and I was pretty pissed and swore I was going to sort on her anyway.  4 pm rolled around and she was starting to stock up and I had to admit that there was just no way that she was up for it.

Sooooo I pulled out the big red horse instead.

Rather than use his saddle I went for my Crates Cutting Saddle, (because I have yet to sort in it) It is a wide gullet so I felt it would be good enough for him.  I mounted up and headed down the road and around the corner to our sorting location.

At the end of my road I ran into my farrier and his kids all on their horses, they were headed over to a different neighbors to go roping.  All his kids rope, both boys and his 5 year old daughter.  Its pretty awesome.   We exchanged a few pleasantries and I headed on my way.

Killian got a little ancy, and wanted to go back with them.  I kicked him forward and he gave me a couple little crow hops.


I scolded him severely, got off and checked his saddle, saw that the rear cinch was a little tight and managed to get it secure on the veeeeery last hole to loosen it up.   Clearly this saddle is not for him after all.  But no matter, we moved on.

When we got to where we were going, where the camel also lives (the one I expected Trax to lose his mind over but didn't) I felt that given the crow hops, it would be best to play it safe and approach on foot.

We walked up the drive, and made it about 100 ft from the camel and Killian's head went straight up and he started sounding the alarm.  You know, that huge exhale whistle that a horse will do when there is danger.  I laughed at him, told him "Easy big boy" and took another step towards the big scary beast.

I then saw a side of Killian I did not know existed.  He bolted and ran for the far corner of the property.  By doing so he ripped the reins out of my hand, and they were flying behind him like hair extensions on his mane.

When I got to him he was still whistling with every breath, he was literally shaking, and his eyes were as big and white as I have ever seen them.

I got him caught easily enough and we spent the next 10 minutes trying to get him to just walk forward.  I tried side passing, backing up, but as soon as he got near that camel he blew up again.  He never did stop with the whistling.

Mike, the camel came to the fence to touch noses and be friends, Killian tried to rip my arm off in his attempt to get away from him.

Finally Lori brought her horse over to Killian, put her between Killian and Mike, and we did our best to get Killian to the arena.  It finally worked and then I spent another 20 min just moving him in circles (lunging on a split rein- which totally sucks).  He would calm down for a a second and then start with the alarm again.  His eyes never stopped bulging from his head.

I said to Lori, "I don't think sorting on him is going to work tonight."

"I wouldn't get on that horse, look at his eyes, he is not thinking of anyone but himself right now."

Looking back I think to myself, if I was a real cowgirl, I'd have gotten on him and worked him out of it.

Guess I'm giving up the cowgirl status then because there was no way in H-E double toothpicks, that I was going to ride him right then.

So then came the daunting task of trying to lead him back out past poor Mike, who wouldn't hurt a flea and just wants to be friends.

In the process of that he almost ran me over a couple of times.  This is Killian.  He has the most respectful ground manners of all my horses.  So when he darn near knocked me down, we went to war.  I smacked him with the reins across the chest.  I started pushing him sideways and I got really big and scary with him, until he started to notice that I was there.

I led him back out the front gate, asked him to stand still and he ran circles around me.  So I pushed him sideways half way down the road.  I admit to cussing and call him all kinds of nasty names, and while I never wailed on him or anything like that, I darn sure was not nice.

Finally he calmed down enough to walk behind me...still whistling, and huffing a puffing, but at least not running me over.  Once we turned the corner I asked him to stand still so I could get on.  Instead he chose to run circles around me, so I chose to push him sideways some more.

Lather, rinse and repeat multiple times until we got to my road.  He finally stood still and I got on.  Then I kicked him up to a trot and we went down past our house to the other end of the street and back up again.  We turned in the driveway and I know he thought we were done....but he was wrong.
Now that I was on him, he was going to work, and so I took him to the arena and rode the hair off him.

Poor guy (pfffft!!!) was exhausted by time we were done.  We loped circles, we did roll backs, we did sliding stops, and we did it again and again and again until his head was dropped and he said, "I give."

I walked him out, till he was breathing normal and then he got a hose down and treat.  He got the treat just to let him know that we were still friends. He got his butt worked just to let him know that even though we are friends, I am still the one in charge.

I don't think I have ridden him since then until yesterday.  We went on a desert trail ride with my new boarder.  He was a total gem for the entire trip, until........

He saw a baby ground squirrel on the power pole.

Apparently, ground squirrels look much like camels.

Luckily this time all he did was shy sideways (I was told it was poetry in motion) and then snort a few times.

Goofy old horse!


  1. What a saga! Good for you for taking control! Lots more camel visits in future?

  2. That does not sound like fun! Wow. I wonder what mine would think of a camel. I wish my neighbors had one!

    And I'm glad you didn't cowgirl up and get on. Sometimes it's better to be smart than brave.

  3. That does not sound like fun! Wow. I wonder what mine would think of a camel. I wish my neighbors had one!

    And I'm glad you didn't cowgirl up and get on. Sometimes it's better to be smart than brave.

  4. I'm pretty sure Delia would think camels are horse eating monsters too! Good job you got off before you got to the camel. Will you take him down there and work on that or just stay away from the camel?

  5. Ya know, I don't know if I will revisit the camel with him or not. I know I probably should, but if I never I do, I don't think it will be the end of the world either. I think the reason I'm not too concerned about it is because of his age. He is old enough I doubt he will ever live with anyone else but me. But even if he does, the chances of him going someplace where there is a camel is pretty slim. On the other hand, it is my job as owner to make him ok with as many things as I can expose him too, just in case.

    If and when I do take him down again, I will do things much differently. First and foremost I will have a halter and long line with me. Secondly I will not be going down there with the expectations of riding. I will only go to expose him the camel. Whether or not I would take another horse along....I don't know. On the one hand it might help. ON the other hand, my other two dingbats might feed off his energy. Especially since everyone here considers him to be herd leader.

    I guess it is just one of those things that I will deal with, when I come too it. For now, I've got bigger agenda's on my plate to deal with.

  6. My otherwise very quiet and well schooled mare was terrifed of llama and alpacas, and one day my sis and I rode to alocal pub. I went in for drinks, she waited out with th eorses and imagine my suprise to ocme back and fine her wrestling two terrified horses... because someone had moved camel next door. It was a good 50 metres away at least, but no way could our girls relax. We had to finish our drinks and ride home. :) I think it's the long necks. They're just too weeeeiiiird! I got her over her fear of kangaroos by paddocking her one summer where lots of them came by, but never found a place where I could get her near enough, yet far enough away from the long necks to get her over it. It's still a good plan if it is a big issue, especially one of safety. Can you paddock him next door to Mike for a while? Remember when they put young Black Beauty beside the railway line where he could learn not to be afraid of trains by watching the old timers take no notice? It's an old technique and it still works.