Monday, September 1, 2008

The Amazing Adventures of Bombay

I've been looking forward to this 3-day Labor Day weekend for quite a while. I had great plans to do all the things I never have time to do because of my demanding desk job. What a disappointment it was to wake up at 3:00 in the morning on Saturday feeling ill. I was sick all day Saturday and Sunday, but forced myself to go out and ride Lostine on Sunday despite being under the weather.

Monday was glorious. I felt 100% better, and the weather was incredible: Warm with a light, cool breeze, and sunshine everywhere. The fire got put out in a hurry, so there was very little smoke in the sky. I haltered and tacked up poor, neglected Gabbrielle, and worked on ground driving. I was happy to see that she hadn't forgotten everything I taught her last spring. When removing her tack, I unfastened her cinch, and walked around to the other side of her to toss the cinch up over the saddle and hook the stirrup over the horn. However, before I could get there, she launched into this gigantic body shake. The saddle started sliding off, and I couldn't reach it, so I opted to jump out of the way. After the incident with Bombay pulling back and rearing when a whirlwind blew some trash behind him, I wasn't about to be within hoof range when that saddle hit the ground. Amazingly, the saddle made a big thump on the ground beside Gabbrielle, and she just calmly looked at it and then looked at me as if to say, "What are YOU so jumpy about?" I love that horse.

But this post is really about the amazing adventures of Bombay. I saddled him up in the western tack and walked him across the street to my neighbor's place. Instead of spooking at every leaf on the ground, he walked confidently and calmly beside me, looking around with curiosity. I thought to myself, "THIS is what I've been working toward. I can now relax and walk my horse on a loose lead off the property."

I took him to the big dirt arena in the back by the llama farm. I'll have to get a picture of that llama farm someday. It's really a beautiful scene. I cut Bombay loose and he galloped all over the place bucking with happiness. I was worried he was going to wipe out, so I halted him and tightened his reins, re-tying them to the horn like my equitation instructor taught me. Bombay then free-lunged in a more controlled manner. I then mounted and was pleased to see that he followed all of my cues without a single spook. There are some chairs between the round pen and the dirt arena that always scare him. Even though they were upside-down, he didn't bat an eye at them.

Then my neighbor's granddaughter arrived with her champion western pleasure gelding. This gelding has won so many shows that he's getting a cross next to his name on his pedigree. Bombay puffed up to twice his normal size (okay, that's a little exaggeration, but bear with me), and then he hunched his back up like he was ready to buck and bolt. I looked around to see that the girl's Golden Retriever was racing around in the arena along with us. Fortunately, the girl's father sensed that there was a problem and he called the dog over to him. Bombay is fine with dogs, but this one was so big and moved so fast that he needed some time to get used to it.

The girl's father picked up a chair right when I was riding past, and Bombay jumped to the side, so I smacked him with the riding crop. Soon he settled in to the fact that he was going to have to share the arena with another horse, a strange dog, and a man in a chair. I tried to stay out of the other rider's way, because she is always training for shows while I am simply trying to get my horse to be more confident in strange places while I practice my equitation skills. I purposefully walked Bombay when she loped her horse, so that she would lope past us and I would have to hold Bombay at the walk. He did really well. She was passing with only about two feet of clearance between us.

She told me that I am looking much better than the last time we rode together. I think that was two or three weeks ago. I'm glad to know that others can see my progress.

I now understand why everyone keeps saying that Bombay would be most suited for country English. When he walked, he walked faster than her western pleasure horse jogged. When Bombay jogged, he jogged faster than her western pleasure horse loped. Of course, I need more training to get his speeds under control, but relatively speaking, Bombay is a fairly fast horse. I could see him doing barrel racing.

When I dismounted and walked him through the gate, I was actually able to hold him, wrap the chain around the gate, and carry a stool all at the same time. In the past, I had to get other people to carry the stool and shut the gate, because I was too busy wrestling my nervous horse. We walked right up to that Golden Retriever and said hello, and then as a grand finale, we calmly walked through a row of sprinklers on our way home. The best is yet to come, and I think that Bombay is really starting to enjoy these outings.


Twinville said...

Awesome photo!
And what a great day, especially after feeling sick most of the weekend. I'm glad you and Bombay (and Gabbrielle, too) had such a wonderful day together.

I'm also relieved to hear that the fires were put out rather quickly. :)


Laura said...

Glad to hear that you had such a good experience with Bombay. All of your hard work is starting to pay off!


Lulu said...


Jenn said...

Oh, it sounds like you had a fabulous session! All that ground work seems to be paying off in spades in the saddle. All that scary stuff going on and he didn't lose it, excellent!

One of my favorite sayings, and one I firmly believe in is: "You can't teach a horse not to be fearful, you can, however, expect him to contain his fear." The more Bombay sees you as his protector and leader, the more he will be able to contain his fear and look to you for reassurance.

Mrs Mom said...

Hi NM- Sorry for the delay in answering your question- we are busy battening down the hatches here, in case Hurricane Hanna decided to sneeze on us.

A sugardine solution is great for a few things, but treatment like you are using it for-- not so much. The sugar is actually giving the organisms something to feed on. I would just try to keep it clean, maybe use your knife to clear away any extra tissue, to allow air in there. If you want to do the penicillin treatment, PenG is normally available at Tractor Suppy stores, feed stores, or for order online through Jeffers Vet. If you want to do that, soak a couple gauze pads or cotton balls in it, clean the hoof very well, squish the gauze in the stinky area, apply a dry gauze over top, and duct tape in place. Leave for 24 hours. She should be fine and dandy after that.

Have fun! Sounds like you and Bombay are both well on the way to having many fantastic adventrues out in the big world!!! Way to go!!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Glad to hear things are working out for you and Bombay and you had a nice time for a change. Gabbrielle,seems like a nice horse too. She reminds me of Dusty(the palomino mare). Whenever you think she will spook at something she just kind of looks at you like your a jerk and she is way superior to you. Which she probably is, this is why I like the mares so much, most of the ones I have come in contact with over the years just seem so unflappable.

Shirley said...

Well done! Don't you just love it when everything clicks and your many hours of hard work pay off!

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Waaa-Hoooo. (Jumping up and down for joy!!) Your getnr done!!

Mrs Mom said...

I forgot- I love that shot of Bombay above! What an expressive face he has!!

Callie said...

Awesome! Glad to hear you had such a great day with him! Awesome, awesome progress!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Though I wasn't wild about using the riding crop to correct spooks at first, I just made up my mind that it would be better for my horse to be more afraid of me than to be afraid of anything else.

Mrs. Mom - Much thanks. Hurricanes are a pain in the butt. I can't say I've been in one myself -- living in Nevada, but I do get hurricane level gusts of wind -- just usually without the water.