"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Friday, March 11, 2011

6-Shooters; New Toy Balloons; and Teen-Age Farm Boys

With the weather getting nicer, Matthew will soon be able to spend more and more time with his horse, Skeeter. Skeeter is an eight year old Appaloosa, but we've always said he reminds us of an old fashioned, teen-age, farm boy.  A couple of weeks ago, we received a nice break from the snow and rain and enjoyed some clear, sunny days.  Matt took the opportunity to get out and work with Skeeter.  He wants him to be ready for Mounted Shooting this season.  Only problem is, Skeeter needs work in a lot of things; not just the things neccessary to be a good horse for mounted shooting.  But Matthew is very patient, and I don't have a doubt in my mind that if we get the breaks we need in weather and also with schedules, Matthew will be successful in his desire to have Skeeter ready. 

In case there are readers that are unfamiliar with the sport of Mounted Shooting, I will try to give a brief explanation.  The horses run a track in a series of patterns striving for the fastest time.  As the horse runs, the rider is to shoot the pattern of colored balloons with either a 6 shooter, a rifle, or in some events the shooter uses both.  Needless to say the horse must not fear the sound or fire from the guns; nor can the horse be afraid of the motion, or sound of the balloon breaking.

When Matthew trained Lady, he first began by training her to become familiar with the sight of the balloon, the sound of the gun's hammer being cocked and the sound of the balloon breaking. Matt wisely saved the blast from the black powder until last. Lady took to all of it like she had been doing it her whole life; and even more, like she was born for the race. I know deep in my heart it is solely because Lady would do anything for Matthew. She trusted him in a way, I have never seen before. Even our neighbor whose entire life has been all about horses, commented on the bond she saw between Matt and Lady. It was awesome.

But anyway, because of the success Matt had with Lady, Matt is beginning to train Skeeter in the same manner. He started with showing the balloon to Skeeter and letting him sniff it. Matt tied it to the fence and let Skeeter see how it would blow in the wind. I don't remember this being so comical with Lady. She just looked and accepted, but Skeeter is a different story. Skeeter is inquisitive. He had to sniff, check, and sniff again. He first showed curiosity, and then next, he displayed what seemed to be joy at having a new toy. He eventually would not leave the spot where the balloon was tied. Matthew walked away and Skeeter-Bug stayed right next to that balloon like he had a new friend. When Matt came momentarily into the house, to tell me about it, (he didn't know I was watching from the window) I warned him that he had better not leave Skeeter alone, because if that balloon accidentally popped while Skeeter was admiring it, it might get Skeeter off to a bad start in becoming accustomed to the noise by unnecessarily scaring him.

Next Matthew thought he would try getting Skeeter familiar with his ear plugs. Yes, Skeeter has ear plugs. With the guns being shot so close to the horses’ ears, these plugs are absolutely necessary. They are soft and furry like brushed yarn, and they are about the size of a golf ball. They have strings attached to them so that the rider might tie them to the bridle. This allows the plugs to be removed from the horse’s ear and dangle on the bridle so the rider can easily and quickly put them back into the horse’s ears whenever necessary.

Skeeter accepted the plugs into his ears fairly easily. It was another story, however, when Matthew pulled them from Skeeters ears in order to allow him get used to the dangling location when not in use. You can see in the series of photos below, the steps it took to get our Bug used to what those little balls dangling from his bridle were doing there. Once again, this goofy horse had us howling in laughter.

Later will come learning the track and eventually the improvement of speed. But for now, it is just one simple step at a time. With Skeeter - big, brawny teen-age boy that he seems to be - I think we will find humor every step of the way.
A Pair to Draw To ;-)

I took the opportunity to shoot some photos while Matt and Skeeter worked. Don't let the beautiful sunshine fool you! I was not able to stay out too long before my hands were soon feeling like ice cubes. But inside, I couldn't help but be warmed by a goofy, inquisitive horse and my dedicated son.


  1. It's almost scary how much Skeeter looks like Bob - their markings are almost identical!

    I'm sure Skeeter will make an excellent mounted shooting horse, and I can hardly wait to see Matthew riding him:)


  2. ha ha...They DO look alike, don't they! :-)
    But Bob is better behaved!

    So fun observing the different personalities!
    Skeeter keeps us laughing for sure.

    Thanks for commenting!!