Sunday, August 24, 2008

Time to Write a Will

My son and I trailered Bombay to the Fairgrounds for the first time since K abandoned me. Bombay was very insecure without K's level-headed Paint around. I free lunged him and was surprised to see that he followed all of my commands and stayed in a circle the same distance he would if I had a lunge line attached to his halter.

Bombay kept looking off into the distance at other horses, hoping to see his friend.

When I put the tack on Bombay, I had the fright of my life. I had just put the bridle on and attached the martingale to his cinch. I was stringing the reins through the rings of the martingale when a big whirlwind came up and blew some trash behind Bombay. He pulled back, and then reared up, and I was pinned against the trailer. I was sure I was dead, but he came down just in front of me instead of on top of me. I had to hang onto the reins and the martingale at the same time while he continued spooking. I didn't want him stepping on them and breaking them, or worse yet spooking himself even more. When he settled down I finished the job, but every move I made caused his muscles to jerk. He was on the verge of another explosion, so I quickly led him to the arena and lunged him some more.

My son hiked up to the water tower and took some photographs while I continued my lunging.

When it came time to mount, I discovered that I had forgotten my step stool. Even with the stirrups lowered two notches from their original position, I could not get my left foot into the stirrup. We tried to position Bombay next to the fence so that I could climb up onto the railing, and then step into the stirrup, but we couldn't get him close enough.

My son then tried to give me a leg up, but without me having that first foot in the stirrup, we couldn't do it. I asked him to dig around in the trailer for anything that would elevate me. At first he said there was nothing, and then he came up with the idea of standing on a bucket. When he reached for the bucket, he spotted a stool buried under some towels. Yippee!

I finally got my ride after all. Bombay did very well with the exception of one gigantic spook to the side. When I say gigantic, I mean GIGANTIC! He jumped about ten feet to the side with no warning. I stuck to that saddle like glue, so I must have a decent seat. However, my neck and back now hurt like the dickens! I've been reading "The Rider's Pain-Free Back" by James Warson, MD with Ami Hendrickson, in which they write about the physics of various horse movements, including those spooks to the side. They can really wrench your spine. I'm thankful that I did the recommended stretching and strength exercises in that book last night and this morning. I'd probably be in a lot more pain if I hadn't. I've written a couple of reviews on the book at my "Healthy as a Horse" website.

After I got home I started thinking about that close call with the rearing. Anything can happen around horses, and you have to be prepared for the fact that they can take your life. Though I am in my 40's, I still haven't thought about writing a will. Perhaps it's time.


Callie said...

Good grief! How scary! Ya know, I salute you cuz I don't think I'd be brave enough nowadays to continue to handle such a boy, much less get on him! Keep up the good work!

Jenn said...

Horses can turn so scary so fast, but they are just acting like the prey animals they are. In my experience, the more they come to view you as their protector and "fearless leader," the less they react so strongly to scary situations.

A will is definitely a good idea...because being around horses can be so dangerous and unpredictable. You may also consider a "living will," as well, just in case. Because while the risk of death is there, so is the risk of permanent brain damage and your family should know your wishes should you ever become sustain injury that leaves you in a coma/permanently brain damaged. I'd rather make that decision for my family before it happens than require them to make any kind of "pull the plug" decisions later and leave them to wonder if they made the right decision.

kaylee said...

I know you love this horse
but I think you should consider
a horse you can handle,
this seem to be a horse that
need someone with more confidence
and skill.
He is lovely to look at
but needs some thing more.

kay lee

Twinville said...

Your son takes great photos. Bombay looks amazing out there. And the facilities look pretty nice, too.
When you say that K abandoned you, do you mean that you're not riding with her any longer? Do you two still speak?

Oh my goodness, girlfriend. I feel like I have great big knots in my tummy. I am so afraid for you.

I'm just getting this really bad feeling that something really awful is going to happen...and that all these out-of-control, jazzed-out moments around Bombay are just important warning signs. Do you what I mean?

I'm just feeling this tightening of the chest and knots in the tummy feeling, and it will absolutely devastate me if I visit your blog only to find that something horrific has befallen you because of Bombay's unpredictable behavior.

Can I just ask you a question, and please don't take it the wrong way. Why have you chosen Bombay as your project horse? Why not Lostine?

You don't talk much anymore about riding Lostine. Do you still ride her, too?
If not, why not?

Do you feel that Bombay and you are a good fit together?

I'm just so worried for you, my friend. Please, please, please, be careful!


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I guess I'll start by answering Lisa's questions. K called me a few weeks ago with this "Don't call me, I'll call you" tone in her voice, and she hasn't called. I think she got impatient waiting for Bombay and I to be ready for trail riding.

At home and in my trainer's arena, Bombay was always the well behaved horse. Lostine used to constantly buck. I decided a long time ago that Bombay would be my trail riding horse, because my trainer had taken him out and said he was fine and had a very level-head. However, I am now finding that when I take Lostine off the property, she is easier to handle than Bombay. She doesn't buck much anymore, but she is only 14.2 hands and I'm a big girl. I don't want to ride her too often. Lostine also has a history of colic when she gets nervous, and she gets nervous in the trailer.

Bombay and I are best buddies. All of my horses are family. Personality-wise, we get along well. My problems with Bombay only began when I started riding him off the property. Remember, that started only a month or so ago. I think he just needs more time than other horses. He is at the bottom of the pecking order, so he is lacking in confidence himself. Lostine is at the top of the order, so she doesn't worry as much about everything.

I have had several horse trainers tell me that Bombay would make a great school horse for beginners. Obviously, the stories I tell wouldn't suggest that. He has a bit of a split personality. None of my trainers have ever seen one of his meltdowns, so none of them have really been able to model the correct reaction for me or teach me some skill on how to deal with it. All they see is a fabulous horse.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Bombay is a beautiful horse that seems a bit unpredictable at present. If it was my horse I think I might just work him at home under the guidance of a professional until you both had more time saddle-wise. I think you and he would both gain the confidence and experience you need to go on trails and then I feel you would both be in a safer situation than you are now. When you start thinking about writing a will, it might be time to reassess your riding situation. Good Luck with your training.

sue said...

I think you would be wise to consider a will.... we "lost" Ed's mom last year, and believe me... a will made things so much easier at a bad time!!! two years ago, I was headed for some serious surgery.. the hospital wouldn't even admit me without a will!!!! I know we hate to think about these sorts of things, but it's mainly for the love ones we "leave behind".... please, put it on your "to do very soon" list... and I love reading your blog... it's honest and forth wright... I really enjoy it....

ranchette said...

Listen to what your gut tells you is right and keep going in that direction with your head up high. The transition to the "world outside" the arena is a difficult one for some horses, I've been there and there is no one right answer.

By the way though, don't worry about your " little" 14.2 mare. These Arabians were bred to carry grown men across the desert. She can handle you, easy peasy. ;-)

photogchic said...

Girl....oh my gosh! Get off that horse and do some desensiting and more groud work. I know you said you are impatient to get out on the trail, but I am so dang worried you are going to get hurt on this horse. I say this because you are my blogger bud and I care about you. I would hate to see this blog turn into a rehabilitation blog as you heal from a back injury. Write that will but maybe get some help in gaining respect on the ground before you get in that saddle. Again...just worried for you not trying to make you feel bad. Good luck:-)

Twinville said...

Oh no. That's so disappointing about K. I'm sorry.
But I'm sure you'll meet another horse riding buddy who is a better 'fit'.
I sometimes feel similar feelings when I'm riding with my neighbor friend, because she is the person I ride with most often. She's been riding since she was a little girl and has tons of experience...and well, I'm just starting out.

I appreciate all of her wisdom, time and support, but at the same time, I don't ever want to feel like I'm 'dragging' her down or being a burden. She works alot and doesn't have much time to ride, so I don't want to take that time away from her.

I hope you didn't think I meant for you to get rid of Bombay, because I didn't. I know what you mean about family. I feel that way about my own horse, even after just 7 months.

But I am worried for your safety and I do not want you to get hurt. I appreciate what Grey Horse said about 'reassessing your riding situation'.
Maybe you are taking things too fast for Bombay and that is one of the causes of his unpredictability and short fuse?

I don't know. But what I do know is that I do consider you a friend and I enjoy reading your blog every week and appreciate all of your wisdom, experience, honesty, and kindness.
So, please just take care, ok?


Saddle Mountain Rider said...

Wow! Those jumps to the side can be disastrous! You must have a good seat. Have you looked into the "lunge for respect" that Clinton Anderson teaches? My daughter and i have found those methods to be wonderful for our two young horses.

Beckz said...

Oh drama city!! Don't ride Nuzzling muzzles don't do it! Stay in your round pen- never leave.

So he got a fright and reared and no harm was done, he still listened to you during the lunging and apart from one spook was good to ride in a relatively strange arena without company. High five to you. Progress is being made. Your a rider, keep riding. Hey if you can sit an arab spook you can sit anything lol