Saturday, December 6, 2008

Expanding the Driving Range

I spent some time driving Gabbrielle in her surcingle and bit today. She's never had problems accepting the bit until the past few times I drove her. She's begun the habit of raising her head up high so that I can't get the bridle on her. She knows that when I place my hand between her ears, she is supposed to lower her head, and she does, but she won't keep it lowered while I bring the bridle up to her face. As soon as she sees that bridle, up pops her head.

The bit I had been using was a basic O-ring snaffle. It was tight around the corners of her mouth, so I looked around for something bigger. I couldn't find another O-ring that I wasn't using with a different bridle, so I attached a D-ring with a thick brass jointed mouthpiece. This was the very first snaffle bit that Bombay used when he was four-years-old. After the struggle to get the bridle and bit on, she seemed perfectly content with the new bit. She salivated a lot and chewed it a while, but then maintained a quiet mouth.

I ground drove her in the round pen, and then opened the gate to move around the rest of the property. It was challenging for me to get just the right grip on the lines and apply just the right pressure to steer her between obstacles. We walked around tree stumps, the barn, food toughs, and other horses. I was really pleased with how well Gabbrielle performed. Even when some yahoo blasted his horn at us as he drove past, she didn't let it rattle her.

I also rode Bombay over at my neighbor's back paddock. He was doing a good job ignoring the llamas until a handful of them decided to start rolling in the grass. He gave a little startle and popped his head up out of frame, but didn't do one of his big sideways spooks that I've been training him not to do.

One of my neighbor's neighbors started driving a tractor up the hillside toward us, which put Bombay on alert. As we would come around the side of the yard where the tractor was located, Bombay tensed up and shot his ears in the direction of the tractor. Then when we got to the far side of the yard, he relaxed. At one point he was on the tractor's side and he came to an abrupt stop, popped his head way up and stared at the tractor. I could hear him pooping.

I said, "That tractor scared the poop out of you!"

He launched forward in one great leap upon hearing my voice. I really think he forgot that I was on his back. Either that or he thought my equitation instructor had arrived and was going to yell at him for stopping to poop. That's a major no-no in the show horse world. However, if I'm just out for a leisurely ride I don't insist that my horses keep moving while they do their business. I know I should be consistent in my expectations regardless of circumstances, but if someone told me that I had to run while I pooped, I'd probably develop a massive case of constipation. To be honest, I'm glad that my horses stop to poop. Sometimes that's the only way I can catch them when I approach with a halter in hand.


Fantastyk Voyager said...

I'm glad you had a good day with the horses. I prefer my horses to continue walking while pooping although I don't appreciate them getting their legs dirty.
It was finally warm enough and no wind that I rode Annie today. We had a great ride with Lisa and her Baby Doll.

Shirley said...

That's funny about catching them when they poop!
The copper mouthpiece on your snaffle is really good for creating saliva and a moist mouth. If your other snaffle has a stainless steel mouth, you may want to not use it any more if your horses don't like it. I always use sweet iron or copper. Also, copper is good to use on mares in heat; it's supposed to reduce the symptoms of estrus.

Jenn said...

Sounds like the loose-ring snaffle may have been just snug enough to pinch her lips. I'd object to the bridle too if I knew it meant my lips would be pinched! Some horses do well in the loose-ring, others don't. I started Gabe in a loose ring and all he did was play, play, play with it. I moved to the D-ring and he is a MUCH happier camper.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

You had me giggling with all the 'poop talk'.
Baby Doll poops when she's nervous about something, too. She also likes to stop and poop, and I'm like you. It doesn't bother me to stop and let her get it over with.
My riding pal, Val teases me about letting her do that, though. hehe

When Baby Doll and I were riding with Val and her horse, Annie, the other day, my horse and I had been riding for several hours. Baby Doll rarely ever pees while I'm on her back, usually waiting until we get back to the barn to pee instead.

But she was acting sort of 'antsy' as we were crossing over the ridge and once we got over there, she stopped and peeded. Poor girl, she felt so much better after that and was much more relaxed.

Well, when you gotta go, you gotta go! hehe

Oh and I thought it was funny when you said that Bombay seemed to forget you were on his back while out in the arena, too.

This reminded me of my ride with Baby Doll on Saturday when I let her graze and I just sat and relaxed on her back.

There was someone using a buzz saw over the next hill and it worried her. She shot her head up and snorted, until I said, "It's ok, girl" And she instantly relaxed, as if she realized that I was still there.
I told her, "Baby Doll, I've got your back, sweetie....literally!" (I crack myself up)

New Mexico

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Oops. I guess I have mentioned poop three posts in a row. That was not intentional, but when you own horses you tend to be surrounded by it.

Lisa, I don't know if "peeded" was a typo or if you wrote it on purpose, but I'm adopting that word into my personal dictionary. LOL.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

lol! Typo for sure....but it's got a good ring, too it, doesn't it? hehe

Sounds more like an action word. lol!

New Mexico