Then He Busted Out the Light


I never realized Patriot was short until a few evenings ago when we visited him at the trainer’s. I had just been petting a Tennessee Walker that is boarding there, and well, a Tennessee Walker might make any horse look short, but Patriot looked particularly shrimpy.

I pointed out that he was looking awfully shrimpy, which did nothing to improve Patriot’s evil eyeball. Mike got out his horse measuring stick and proclaimed Patriot to be just over 14 hands.

He IS shrimpy!

Which is not a bad thing. But anyway. Since Patriot has been at the trainer’s, he has been moody even more than usual because Patriot doesn’t like to do anything.

He threw himself down in the cross ties and broke this snap.

Then he busted out the light bulb in the washing stall. (Yes, he reared up and hit a light IN THE CEILING.)

He’s been performing quite a bit of random bucking and rearing at Soggy Bottom Farm. Sometimes because he doesn’t want to do something, sometimes because he doesn’t like something, or sometimes just because it’s Monday. Or Tuesday. Or Friday.

Mike thinks, in fact, that’s he not really quite broke.



With Zip, he said it was like turning a new page every day to discover what more she already knew and about which she simply needed to be reminded. Patriot is like a blank slate. He’s either never been taught much or he’s the dumbest horse that ever lived. The latter is not impossible as after he’d been there a week, he appeared to forget even what little he’d learned in a week and Mike had to start all over at the beginning again.

By the way, I got a new bit for Zip’s bridle. Mike had put the bit on for me, but when we tried it on Zip, we realized the bit fit differently than her other bit and we needed to move the buckle up on the bridle–only there were no more holes. We were talking to Mike on the phone and he said, “Get a hole punch.”

So I gave Morgan a hole punch. Like, you know, the kind from the office supply aisle. Morgan could hardly wait to tell Mike that I gave her a paper hole punch for her bridle. Mike thought this was HILARIOUS and explained that I needed, of course, a leather hole punch.

I’m glad that I can entertain people.

Then he used his leather hole punch to put more holes in the bridle so we can move the buckle up and ride Zip again.

Then he took Patriot out of the barn and ran him around.

Patriot hates running around.

Patriot hates working.

He doesn’t mind being led with a four-wheeler, though.

Here, Patriot is practicing walking over obstacles. Has a horse ever looked more uncoordinated?

In the round pen, Mike ran him around and around to wear him out to where he couldn’t exhibit so much of his hatred then ran him around and around making him wear the saddle, too, and coached Morgan on her groundwork.

Mike’s been riding Patriot. Sort of. Patriot doesn’t go anywhere because Patriot doesn’t like to go anywhere. Going somewhere is so much work, and Patriot doesn’t like work, have I mentioned that? Effort is not his strong suit. Mike’s been sitting on him and flexing him back and forth because as long as his neck is bent, he can’t buck.

Morgan even got on his back–not going anywhere, just flexing him.

Here’s a little video of Patriot doing what he loves best–working.

Did you hear that last bit? Mike thinks Patriot is not actually a lost cause.

Which doesn’t sound like good news for Patriot because not being a lost cause is going to involve a lot more…..



  1. Remudamom says:

    At least he’ll lope for you in the RP, and he got his turns going.

  2. Remudamom says:

    I like shorter horses, btw. My mare is 14.2 and that’s just right for me. Dh’s horse is so tall I need a stepladder. Or maybe a crane.

  3. Diane says:

    I feel bad for Patroit. Poor guy is a little wild thing and has never learned to be tame and now he is forced to behave. lol. Here hoping all the hard work pays off!! It will be interesting to see his progress in the next few weeks. Good thing is Morgan is learning how to train horses. That in it self is so awesome. Even with a few tips here and there that she is getting. Its good stuff to know.

  4. elewis2 says:

    I think you have Patriot all wrong, sounds like a Tom Sawyer trick he just wants others to do the work for him and I do believe it is working!
    Smart Horse LOL

  5. quietstorm says:

    I have no horse knowledge, but my first thought was maybe he’s just being difficult because he misses Zip? They have such a bond & they were separated in the process of you adopting them, back together, then separated again for Zip’s training, only to be reunited on Zip’s return, then he was sent for training….I think he’s just saying “I dont care about any of this… I just want to be with Zip…” Kinda like Jack gets with/about Poky?

  6. Jane L says:

    This is just what Patriot needs! He is too young to retire, so he needs to learn to work. He – like many people – may just be lazy and a wee bit moody;)

  7. Murphala says:

    A curmudgeonly horse. But I was laughing aloud at the descriptions. Sometimes, I know just how he feels, though. “Leave me alone, don’t make me work, or I’ll break my snap!” Or maybe for me, I’ll just snap.

    Beautiful horse, and just the right size.

  8. bonita says:

    my 2¢ is the same as before: he’s being a brat. I bet you’ll win him over with work, discipline, and love. Thanks goodness he’s shorter. Can you imagine that attitude with at 16+ horse?

  9. Barbee says:

    Maybe he needs Zip to show him how it’s done. Another thought, he may be just playing dumb to, you know, get out of work. But, that isn’t working, is it. Good that he has Mike’s firmness.

  10. Leck Kill Farm says:

    Ok,I will be the first to ask this – can you return Patriot to the rescue?

    Might sound harsh but have you prepared for the possibility you might be keeping a very large (and expensive) “dog” instead of a horse to ride and enjoy?

    My dad and uncle enjoyed working with “problem” horses and turned many around so I am not unsympathic to their (the horses) needs but if you are looking for a horse you can ride, trust and enjoy are you prepared that Patriot might not be that horse and maybe he should just live out his life in pasture?

  11. MMHoney says:

    Let the rider beware. Those ears are sending you a message. I think it is coming through loud and clear.

  12. kbryan says:

    He is a handsome boy for sure and looks to be pretty strong willed. He may not be the horse for you in terms of the time and investment you will need to put in to get him trained. And if the person that takes him over is not a strong rider, he could easily relapse, especially if he doesn’t really like to do anything. I think he would need to be ridden regularly as well. Does your trainer have a horse that you could “swap” for him? Could he have a good life if he went back to the rescue and got a more settled horse? You’re are giving a horse a home, so you shouldn’t feel bad if you decide to return him – everyone involved might be a lot happier. I’d like to think that if he really bonded with someone and was ridden regularly and had a job, that he’d be a really good horse to have around. Hard to say. . . Get your trainer’s honest opinion as far as if he feels he is the right horse for you, and just as important, if you are the right owner for him. Good luck, and keep us in the loop! Kay

    P.S. – How are Chloe and CoCo doing?

  13. princessvanessa says:

    MMHoney–I posted almost the same comment a few weeks ago. I had noticed that Patriot usually had his ears back anytime he was under saddle or being worked; a sure sign that the horse is NOT happy with what is going on. I’m with the others. Let Mike Trader work with him for a while and then ask if he thinks Morgan (and you) will be able to keep Patriot in check or if he will just drift back to his old habits…which is bucking off his rider in hopes of intimidating her and getting his own, lazy way. Who wouldn’t want to be brushed, curried and fed without doing a darn thing?

  14. yvonnem says:

    Kinda have to agree with some of the above posts, I think I would return him if possible. You have the wonderful Zip after all. But, I also know you love him, so…I just hope whatever you do works out for the best. (I did notice in previous pics of Zip and Patriot that he was shorter than her.)

  15. JerseyMom says:

    I own a bratty horse. He was given to me last May and I brought him home about this time last year. In Gabe’s case, the more you ride him, or work with him, the better he is. Once the trainer thinks he’s ready and sends Patriot back to you I encourage you to work with him EVERY DAY. My Gabe was a lesson horse…so he knows what to do, but he doesn’t always want to. When he objects to going forward then we go back…and back…and back.. Like Patriot, Gabe doesn’t want to work so once he knows he will have to go backward if he doesn’t behave he changes his attitude. And we lunge pretty much any time we want to ride. Takes a bit of the starch out of him. And Gabe bites…so we watch him. On the positive side he doesn’t kick, he knows how to do barrels, poles, etc….and he looks way cool because he’s a Paso and gaited and then there is the flowing mane and tail that comes with the breed. He also is pretty reasonable in a certain sense. Once Gabe knows you won’t let him get away with what he is trying, he complies and is fine, at least for a while. Those who say to send Patriot back to the rescue — I guess that’s would be an option for some. I wouldn’t….but my children are adopted and that colors my world. I wouldn’t send them back to China or Russia either……they are my kids and part of my family. They will be that whether or not I like their behaviour…..

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      I’m planning to keep Patriot. We’ll work with him on the ground to the best of our ability, and I am getting some professional training into him to give him a good start. I’m not planning to ride him–I don’t think that would be a good idea, and I don’t see allowing Morgan to ride him. He does need a strong rider. Over time, he may calm down and that may change. If I didn’t have an over-abundance of pasture, my thoughts on keeping him might be different, but as I can keep him on pasture most of the year, I’m taking a charitable stance on keeping him. We do like him, actually.

  16. Cheryl LeMay says:

    I know next to nothing about horses but I’m thinking maybe he’s a little fearful. Some of those pictures show him showing the whites of his eyes. I always thought that was a sign of fear. Bucking and rearing are also fear responses to dislodge a predator off their back. Maybe he isn’t comfortable being at the trainer. Somone compared him and Zip to Jack and Pokie. Maybe that’s not far off. Would the trainer come to your place and work with him? Maybe he’ll do better in a familiar environment. He is a rescue horse that you know little about except that he nearly starved to death. Who knows what else he’s been through? I think he needs lots of TLC and patience. I think he’s been to Hell and back. I wouldn’t be so quick to judge him nor so harshly.

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Also, for the record and to be fair to the rescue, they WOULD take him back and in fact have offered to take him back. I’ve chosen to keep him. As the trainer said, he’s not a lost cause and time and training may change him. He may never be a riding horse. I do have other animals on my farm that don’t do anything, LOL. (Jack and Poky are two prime examples.)

  17. joykenn says:

    Not my business, but maybe keeping Patriot when you don’t intend to ride him or give him any work might not be the best life for Patriot. Maybe another home where a strong rider could give him some purpose would be better for the horse. At least consider it. Still early days yet with his training.

  18. Darlene says:

    I’m so happy that you plan to keep Patriot. I just saw a reference to the movie “Buck”. I think it would be an excellent movie to watch and learn (I can’t wait to see it). With his love of Zip, love of his new family, and spending the time needed everyday on his training… goodness, he already follows you around, he’ll turn into a great little horse. Perhaps you have Patriot to train Morgan to be a professional horse trainer. Isn’t that what your farm is all about? Fulfilling your hearts desire.

  19. Remudamom says:

    You never know. I’ve got a little mare that puts her ears back frequently when asked to do something but she’s solid as a rock. Saturday she gave rides to beginners at a walk, trot and a canter. She’s my most dependable mount.

  20. bonita says:

    Even mounts at the Olympics sometimes refuse to do what they are asked. . .
    just say’n (!)

  21. Liz Pike says:

    I’ve not read all of the horse posts, Suzanne, but has Patriot been examined by an equine chiro? In my clients’ horses I’ve seen them work miracles, especially when there’s a consistent amount of bucking, usually means there’s a spine issue. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s like you’ve got a totally different horse.

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