Saturday, September 6, 2008


One of my nicknames for Lostine is Stiney, pronounced Steeeeeeeknee. I've been working on riding her off the property too. The first time I took her over to my neighbor's place, she just ran back and forth in the round pen screaming for her barn mates. I had planned on riding her, but my neighbor and I got talking and before I knew it, darkness descended and I had to get her back home.

So, this afternoon I took her back over there early enough that I didn't have to compete with the sun setting. I also took her into the back paddock where she couldn't see her barn mates. I walked her around the perimeter before mounting to make sure she wasn't disturbed by the llamas. Lostine used to live there, so she seemed at home. We greeted her daughters who were in nearby corrals, I located my neighbor's step stool, and up I went.

I had lunged her and ridden her at home first. We had a little accident when she tripped, fell on one knee, and I lost a rein. She recovered, I stuck to the saddle like glue thanks to my new On Course Shapely Full Seat Breeches, but I fumbled around a bit trying to get the rein back before it completely fell off her neck. She was jogging and I kept saying, "Whoa!", but she would not stop without both reins pulling back. That's quite a quandary when you only have one rein.

Once I got that sucker back into my hand, I halted her and then spent quite a bit of time training her to halt on the verbal command of "whoa" instead of relying on the pull of both reins. It was just a matter of saying the word and then pulling back repeatedly until she responded to the verbal command instead of waiting for the rein cue. Once I was confident that she would halt immediately when I said "whoa", I led her across the street and rode her there.

We walked, jogged, trotted, and loped all over the place. Then my neighbor's granddaughters brought their horses in and we all rode together. One mare was Lostine's very best friend when she lived there seven years ago. Amazingly, they recognized each other and greeted with a nicker. Horses really do develop deep bonds with other horses as well as humans.

My riding lesson was cancelled this week, but I do hope that my equitation instructor can work with me on Stiney a couple of times and help me correct the problems I have with her, which are completely different from Bombay's spooking issues. Stiney doesn't respect the bit, so it is difficult to slow her down. I can bring her down a whole gait, but I mean I cannot slow her down within a gait.

She did have one spook when the wind picked up and rattled some sagebrush behind her. She thought it was a snake or something jumping out of the brush at her, so she bolted and bucked at the same time. I was able to halt her right away thanks to the work we did in the round pen at home.

She's been to the Fairgrounds and did well there. I'm thinking she might be ready for a trail ride after my instructor can show me how to keep her at a slow pace. I've been eyeballing this equestrian trail just a couple of blocks from my house. The trail runs behind the backyards of a bunch of houses, and there are strange objects in the yards like old cars up on cinder blocks and barking dogs, but I'm curious as to how Lostine would handle it. I know Bombay wouldn't handle it, but Lostine might be fine. Unfortunately, even though it is only a few blocks away, I have to trailer her there because of all the idiot drivers who take that road at 55 MPH instead of the posted 35 MPH. Traffic is especially bad with all the tourists passing through. Just a few years ago no one had even heard of this small town in Nevada, and now it is suddenly a favorite vacation destination and where everyone and his brother wants to retire. Lucky me.


ranchette said...

I *just* had this one reined business happen to me with my big horse this week. Like being in a rowboat with only one oar.

IamRockinHorse said...

Read my most recent post. I would suggest to you to try the halfbreed bit. It is a snaffle with a rawhide noseband. Uncovered, the noseband can dent your horse's nose but if you wrap it in flannel or fleece, it is much easier on them. You must ride with light hands because it is strong, but they very quickly learn to bend and stop with very little effort on your part. I have used it on several of my horses with much satisfaction. It works best with a combination direct/neck rein for turns and short tugs for stops.

AnnL said...

When you "pull back" on the reins to slow her, do you give or do you just keep pulling? The release is the most important part of the 1/2-halt, which is essentially what you are doing if you just want to slow her down within the gait. If you just pull back, then you're giving her something to lean against and she weighs a heck of alot more than you do, so guess who's going to win that battle. :-) So, do a quick,light pull back, then release. Also, as you pull back, try to think of the pulling coming from the back of your arms as you sit deeper in the saddle, rather than just pulling straight back with your hands. Ultimately, you want it to be more from your weight in the saddle, but at first, you'll need to be stronger until you and she work it out. And, exxagerate the give at first, so that she has nothing to lean on, then take back again. This creates more "static" so it's harder for her to just tune you out. Once you guys are communicating better, the give just becomes a softening/relaxing of your hand and arm. But, that will take a while.

That's so neat that she remembered her old buddy. :-)


Saddle Mountain Rider said...

Be careful - very careful about selecting where you ride on this youngster. She is a beauty, though, and you are very brave.
How is Gabbrielle's hoof?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

SMR - Lostine is 20 years old, and she has passed all those desensitization tests. I just have not ridden any of my horses off the property or off my trainer's property since I've owned them (in her case 7 years). Thanks for asking about Gabbrielle's hoof. It's healing. The farrier has it bound up so well that it can't crack anymore. She was favoring it before the farrier did his magic, and now she's running around -- though she really shouldn't be.

Andrea said...

Sounds like you had a good ride. I like the "whoa" cue too. I do leg release stops and use my voice. I also do a lot of half halting. Each gate has two speeds. So, the half hault comes in handy. It's great to lengthen and shorten strides. If you do some ground pole work it will help.

Twinville said...

I like her name "Stiney". So cute.
She is such a beautiful gal.

But you are one brave lady being able to always move past the bucking and bolting moments.

You really are that 'cowgirl boot' eh? Full of confidance.


ps, I'm glad to hear that Gabbrielle's hoof is doing better, too.

Jamie said...

Love the breeches. I have the same problem, smaller (not small) waist than my large booty !! I always wear jeans, and I need to find something else - I get blisters always on my booty after a long ride. I have sworn that I would never wear breeches, I could just hear the J-Lo comments...LOL
But might have to check these out.