Some Things Good for Calypso, Some Things Not So Good

My back issues drug on for what seemed timeless.  The pain had its own schedule regardless of what I wanted scheduled.  My daughter was working with Calypso.  She would lounge her in the arena, teaching her commands such as whoa, trot, etc.  Then came the saddle which Calypso wasn’t very pleased about.  She put up a bucking fit when she had it put on the first time.

My daughter had never trained a horse before, and Calypso had never been taught.  I know, I know, this was a poor combination, but there were no other options available.  I unwisely thought I could assist my daughter, outside the arena, with suggestions on what to do.  I have trained several horses, so I could see mistakes a mile away. I know that anyone, who is a parent of a teenager, I need not tell you, that teenagers know everything. If they obviously don’t, then they certainly don’t want to hear it from a parent.  My suggestions were either completely ignored, or argued with.  If a particular suggestion bothered  my daughter enough, she simply wouldn’t work with Calypso again for several days, or even weeks. Calypso was punished because of me.  I felt that, at least Calypso was receiving attention, and some training, from my daughter, so I decided to keep my big mouth shut, and stay inside when she worked with her.

On occasion, of course, I could see her out the window working with Calypso.  My daughter wanted to put too much trust into the horse before she was ready to be trusted at that level. One of the mistakes was when my daughter would lounge Calypso outside the arena.  She would take Calypso out to the open pasture to lounge, instead of inside the security of the arena.  Neither one was ready for such a venture (Calypso and my daughter).  The basics of lounging, and how to direct the horse, while lounging had not been thoroughly taught.  This brought on a habit of Calypso not knowing when she was to begin lounging, or, in which direction she was supposing to go, so she would bolt.  This taught her that if she bolted quickly enough, she could rip the lounge line out of my daughters hands.

Calypso bolting when lounging.

Despite some of her training errors Calypso and my daughter became very close.  Merely spending time brushing her out was endearing for them both; Calypso wanting human attention in any form, and me staying out-of-the-way for my daughter to enjoy the quiet solitude of the horse.

They became very close.

As you can see in the photo, there is no lead line on Calypso’s halter.  This was, again, my daughter trusting Calypso to stay with her while outside any corral, or fencing.  When Calypso felt like doing something else, she simply raised her head, out of my daughters reach and walked away.

During this time a horse was offered to us, my daughter was thrilled with him, so now we had two horses.  The new horse was trained, so he was a good ride whenever she wanted to go out on the trail.  My daughter spent equal time between Calypso, and the new horse.  Taking one out one day, for a ride, and the other the next day.

By the time my daughter became an adult, and moved out, she could ride Calypso, albeit some bucking when asked to lope.  She had introduced her to many concepts, saddles, and then some.  She had provided the attention Calypso so desperately wanted as well.  Calypso was about three by this time, if she was 1 1/2 when I purchased her.  Now my daughter moved out to live with her boyfriend.  She only comes by on occasions to say “Hello” to Calypso, and the other horse.  I’m back at square one, but with two horses!

My back, at this point, has gained more problems of narrowing, and new nerve pinching. Some days are good, some days are bad.  I learned a lot about my back pain over this time.  If I exert myself on one day, I will be laid up the next.  Taking this into consideration, I concluded I should be able to take Calypso out, groom her, lead her about and graze a little each day without too much concern of pain the next day.

During the hiatus of my daughter moving out, and me attempting to work with Calypso, despite my back, Calypso and the new horse had fallen in love. I can understand why.  He was always there for her, he spent his days and his nights with her, he guarded her when she laid out to sun bath (something she loves to do), he was everything she ever wanted from us humans, plus he could speak her language!  It was meant to be!

I knew they were connected, but I did not realize, or maybe I didn’t pay attention, to how deep this connection had grown between these two horses.  My daughter would take Calypso out every other day for at least a grooming and there wasn’t any problems.  So, about six months down the road, after my daughter had moved, I picked up the halter, and lead line, and took Calypso out to groom her.  I kept reminding myself, “Don’t hurt your back. Don’t hurt your back!”  I walked her up to the area where the grooming equipment was waiting.  This took her out of sight of the other horse.  He went into a fit!  He was nickering at the top of his lungs for her, running back and forth along the fence, snorting and kicking his legs, then nickering again!  This put Calypso into a state of panic.  Her eyes went wide open, she raised her head up as high as she could to see what the danger was, and I thought, “Oh No!”  I immediately started back to the paddock.  Calypso pulling on the lead, bobbing her head up and down like she would do with my daughter to make her lose hold of the halter, but I had a lead line on her, she couldn’t get out of my hand.  Then it happened. Calypso reared up to full height, but I still had a good grip on the lead rope.  When she came down, she bolted, I still had the lead line.  When she got to the end of the lead line with her bolting, she swung around and spun around me.  I couldn’t possibly move as quickly as she did, and she snapped me around the second part of her spinning around me.  My youngest daughter saw what happened and ran for the gate to help me get Calypso back inside, and me to safety.  She took the lead line as she could see I was crumbling into a heap of pain, and barely got Calypso back into the paddock and locked it.  Calypso went running around the paddock nickering and nickering, while the other horse, Calypso’s confidant, her solace, came running to the gate to rub noses with her.

I was laid up for a week.  The pain was so bad I could barely crawl to the tub for a hot bath to help relieve the pain.

That night, and the days following, I thought, ” Have I lost Calypso?” “Is there any hope?” “How can I possibly work with her now?”  The two things I had been so concerned about when my daughter was training her (bolting on the lounge line and pulling her head up quickly to break free from hands holding her halter) had been employed by Calypso, on me, and they worked, to a degree.  I could hang on because I had the lead line, but I had to put her away immediately, so she got away with her antics.

She had been her usual loving, nosy, affectionate self, until the other horse couldn’t see her and started in.  Then she lost her mind.  What was I going to do?  This was fixable, but by a disabled person? Me? I wasn’t willing to give up.  The memory of my pony wouldn’t let me do that.  I had to come up with something.

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