Thursday, February 7, 2013

Spyder's Past

I kept posting about progress, and I'm catching up quickly since I'm doing a general overview so I figured I'd switch gears a bit. If you read "About Spyder", the story tells some of his past. I spoke there about how I got in touch with his owners/breeders and ended up getting their contact information. It all started with his coggins.

I had the coggins from when he came from Canada to the Harrisburg sale. From there, I went online to look up the owner at the time. In my search, I found a Flickr account with a picture of a lot of horses, and a picture of a sign from "Grayland Farm." I created an account to get in touch with the person that took the pictures because I swear some were of Spyder. It turns out, they were!

That person ended up getting back to me and putting me in touch with the owner who had already called SRF being that I contacted their relative and I had before spoken to the owner/breeder on the phone (see other post). I ended up with the e-mail of the wife of the owner/breeder. This is where I got most of his history that you can read about on "About Spyder". When I would have trouble, I would turn to them since they knew him very well. I did have a few moments, like when he would pace instead of trot and when he would act crazy (a few times in the round pen he had a 'moment'), when I would e-mail his breeders/owners for help or advice. They have been very supportive of his new home.

I thought that his craziness that he had twice might be linked to being gelded late, but they let me know he was gelded at 10 months so that wasn't it. I believe it to be a bit of spring excitement, and I'm glad those fits never happened again. When it came to pacing, they let me know it was bred into him 100 years back. They said he was more willing to trot than most pacers so trotting should be easy which finally came after our setback. I asked about shoes helping him to trot, and it turns out he'd had shoes (and she suggested weighted ones in the front). I didn't have to go that route being that he's fine barefoot and gets the trotting thing now, but I'm glad that he knows what the shoeing thing is all about.
She also let me know that he was lazy. He knew that he could slow down when he got tired (mentioning he was very smart, too), and that's probably part of the reason they moved on from him. I also couldn't figure out why he HATES the kissing sound when being asked to go so I asked them about it. They call it "chirping" when asking them to go with the kissing sound. I'm guessing since he didn't like his old job much, the sound would aggravate him. I have been working on voice commands to stay clear of the sound he hates, but we do use a cluck for trot and a kiss for canter so he'll need to learn that it means something different, or I'll have to work through the trouble of thinking of something more creative to make him happy. Voice commands work very well.

The lazy horse.
I learned that people must have passed him up at the sale because he had a huge scar on his leg. How did he get this? Well, he was an escape artist the breeder said, and he was also known as "the devil." I'll have to look back in e-mails and get some of the more interesting blurbs of information, but one of those went something like, "If I could describe Spider is two words, it would be 'Happy Devil'. Who was this devil horse they were speaking of? Here's a video that makes me laugh every time I watch it! I can't imagine what he used to do to be named 'the devil'.

Grayland Spider, now "Spyder", was a devil being that he would escape, hurt himself, and bite people (pictures on his page)! They sent me a picture of him sneaking up on someone to bite her, and that part makes sense because he has always been mouthy. We've been working on that because it is very rude and something that I dealt with for a bit blaming it on being young, but with him growing up, there is no excuse. He's much better with the nipping now. It was never a latch on, grab skin, or bleed, but just a quick nip with his lips. He has to taste EVERYTHING that comes within reach. The sad part is that he knew he wasn't supposed to do it, but did anyway! It's like he can't help himself. He will do it and pull his head up or run away from you if it's in the field because he knew he will get in trouble. I'm glad we've worked on that!
Learning to Drive
Lovely injury and bandage - how he got his scar

I found out a great deal about his mom who they still own, as well. She was hurt early on in racing so they bred her because of her potential. She is gray now, but her name is Red because she used to be that color. Spyder has quite the number of siblings who are still racing all named "Grayland Something" if they were bred at their farm. His dad is Western Paradise who is still out for stud in Canada, and has made a lot of money in his career.

Spyder's Dad

Most recent picture of Spyder's Mom

Spyder was quite the story to the family that bred him, trained him, raced him, and sold him. They said that they will always remember him for his personality. He's got the most out of any horse I have ever owned! It's great when he has his happy attitude (which is most of the time), but he is a very opinionated horse. I think if I had to pick two words to decribe him, it would be "goofy baby". I think that's a lot better than "happy devil". I am proud of how he's grown and matured as he has calmed down quite a bit, but I can now see why they say it is definitely more difficult to own a horse that is the leader of the herd. He likes to play and push all of the others in his paddock around.

Playing in the round pen