Sunday, June 7, 2009

Bombay and I are Buddies Again

I wanted to point out my hero in this picture. No, it's not me. It's not my horse Bombay. Any guesses? You have to click on the picture to blow it up. Now do you see my hero?

In the lower left-hand corner is my neighbor friend climbing a ladder to get to the top of her haystack. You probably wouldn't believe me when I tell you that she is in her 70's. I don't know her exact age, because she won't tell. She recently became a widow, and I've always thought of both her and her belated husband as my surrogate parents in addition to friends and neighbors. They have always taken care of me and helped me out when I needed it. I return the favor every chance I get.

Now she is on top of that huge block of hay. The funny thing is that I don't worry about her. She's stronger and in better physical shape than I am. She manages an Arabian breeding farm all by herself. She has inspired me to live my dream, and that is why she is my hero.

Bombay and I are buddies again, even though we had a bad equitation lesson a few days ago and he tried to buck me off. I suspect he wasn't trying to hurt me, but was just frustrated by all the yelling that my equitation instructor was doing, and the kicking I was doing, and the endless demands being made upon both of us. During the equitation lesson, it took Bombay 9 or 10 strides before he'd transition into the lope from the time I requested it. However, today he responded immediately on the first request.

My goal was to do a refresher with him, so that he won't feel so frustrated at our next lesson. He's a good boy and it's important that I communicate that to him in order to get his confidence up. He helped me get the gate open and closed on one try in each direction. I didn't even have to cue him on how to move his body. He just knew what my goal was, and he maneuvered in what direction was necessary for me to reach and swing the gate from the saddle.

Earlier I had been riding Lostine and she shied repeatedly each time I tried to ride her past the neighbor's garbage pile. She'd walk sideways and ignore my cues. So, I had to just do circles near the pile of junk, and then do figure 8's near it, and then park her facing it, then park her standing next to it. She stands next to that pile of junk every day, but for some reason it seemed scary with me on her back.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking I was nervous about the junk pile, and I influenced my horse to be nervous. Not at all. I had been practicing relaxation in the saddle my acting like I was relaxing on a couch while riding. I loosened my seat and thighs so that I actually slid forward and backward in the saddle at the lope. I wasn't the least bit concerned about that junk pile or anything else. Still Lostine shied. I worked with her and made her face that demon until she relaxed. Then I rode Bombay past the junk pile at several paces, and he didn't bat an eye. Maybe he's ready for the trail and Lostine isn't. It was the opposite last year.

I decided not to ride Gabbrielle, because she was in full heat and I didn't want to hurt her injured ear by pulling a bridle over it. She's still very sensitive about letting me get near that ear. Before the injury, she would put up with me "driving" her ears like they were stick shifts. Rrrrrrrrmmmm, rrrrrrmmmm, rrmmmmm.

I drove out to the Fairgrounds to see if I could get an arena to ride in, but they had a Gymkhana event going on. There were little toddlers sitting on horses while their mothers lead the horses at a trot around some barrels. It was seriously cute.

I was going to say that maybe next weekend I can ride at the Fairgrounds, but next weekend I'm going to the Western States Horse Expo in Sacramento! Yippee! Is anyone else planning on being there?


Fantastyk Voyager said...

I'm glad you had a good ride on Bombay. It sounds like everything just 'clicked' for you both. Lostine will be your buddy again soon.

I always find that whenever I ride my horses out past scary stuff, if I just ride past and let them know that if they don't fuss about it they can go on by, that they are better about not shying. If I make them approach and face the issue, sometimes they get more afraid because I've pointed out the 'demons'.

Breathe said...

Actually I don't think it was because you're nervous. I think it's because she's still not connecting your leadership on the ground into leadership in the saddle. I'm BARELY making progress in this area with Canyon, and it's been a year and a half. I'm not even sure how it's happening, but I can feel it is. Stop and sniff seems to be helping, along with TTouch.

and lots of scary stuff peppered with carrots. :)

But that's horse time. It's always so much longer than we want it to be.

Paint Girl said...

That is amazing that your neighbor is still climbing ladders on top of hay stacks! I would never have guessed she is in her 70's!
Yesterday, I spent almost 11 hours at an Arabian horse show. I have been to this show before, it is at a fairgrounds, and there is a car racetrack right next to the indoor arena that the show is held in. Plus, a small airport across the street, airplanes fly extremely low right above the horses heads.
Of course I thought of you. The racetrack is extremely loud, and of course, there is car racing on a Sat. night! But with the sound of the races and the low flying airplanes, none of the horses were bothered, except a 2 yr old who had never been to a horse show before. Just thought it was interesting, since they are putting in that motocross track by your arena.

Kate said...

Your neighbor does sound inspirational - maybe she compensates some for the bad neighbors! Bombay sounds like a real trouper - it's wonderful when you clearly intend something and they just read your mind and do it. Liked the pictures of the two of you!

Cheryl Ann said...

NO! Darn it! We'll be in Yosemite that weekend. Have a great time and please post about it, okie dokie? I so wanted to go.....

Andrea said...

Look at that lady go! I am 29 and won't climb ladders! I am glad you have someone close to you that is such an inspiration.

I am glad you and Bombay had an understanding. He is such a good boy. Just remember that horses have bad days too, just like us.

And Lostine, well, I think she might have just been having one of those days too. You did the right things. Horses are strange animals. One day they will be fine with that strange pile of junk and the next day it's a monster. :) Just keep doing what you are doing, your on the right track!

Callie said...

Glad to hear that Bombay & you are in sync again. You're right about that and it's good that you had a good right with him. He is a good boy. Nice to have a neighbor you can look up to. Hope Gabrielle's ear heals soon, poor baby!

manker said...

what Breathe said... well said too i might add.. :)

Katharine Swan said...

I think horses tend to be really sensitive to things being different, and therefore scary. You being on her back going by the trash pile does make it different, at the very least because she's not the one making the decision to stand by it.

fernvalley01 said...

Hooray for your good nieghbor! Glad you had a good ride on Bombay!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Wow on your neighbor. She is so high up there, too. I still won't climb past the 3-4th rung on a ladder. Too spooky and unsteady any higher. Your neighbor is an inspiration to me even! hehe!

Yay for you and Bombay! You know why he did good for you, and you hit it right on the head. He trusts you and is calm around you. The trainer and his methods were stressing him out and he wanted it to

Good for you working to regain his trust...and for working with Lostine. What 'Breathe'[ said sounds right on, that Lostine is an alpha mare and always has to be reminded that she is not the TOP alpha around there. :)

Have fun at the Western Horse Expo. Val and I were going to drive down to the Carrizozo Cowboy Days, but until this foal is born, we won't be going too far from hom :)


KD said...

Which saddle are you riding now? Everyone seems happy.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

KD - I ride Bombay in the Circle Y. That saddle fits both Bombay and Gabbrielle well. I can use the new Tucker saddle with Lostine or Bombay, but not Gabbrielle. I rode Lostine in the cordura American Saddlery saddle this weekend, which was surprisingly comfortable for both of us, but I can't stand the way that it slides down the horse's side as soon as I mount regardless of how much I tighten the cinch.

Colleen Sculleigh Osman said...

I love the blow up of the picture that revealed your stalwart neighbor on her ladder! My eyes almost launched out of my head. It was so admirable! And she's an old lady! Wow. She's my hero too.