Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Super Sunday

On Sunday I took time out from work to trailer Bombay to the Fairgrounds again. Much to my surprise, I was able to get my daughter to come along, so that meant I could take two horses. I decided to load up Lostine with Bombay, and teach Gabbrielle how to handle herself alone at home since she is the most herd-bound.

Again by the time we arrived at the Fairgrounds, which couldn't be more than 2 or 3 miles from my house, the trailer was loaded with excrement. There was a lot of screaming, pawing, and stomping in the trailer. We have one stop light between my house and the Fairgrounds that I dread, because while we are stopped there, the horses rock the trailer back and forth. Other drivers look on with horrified expressions expecting the worst, but I haven't had a horse fall down or kick through a floorboard yet.

The horses were good about letting me get the tack on once we were at the Fairgrounds, but getting their boots on before putting them in the trailer is another story. They kept swinging from side to side to evade the boots, because they know I would never put them in the trailer without their boots on, and they didn't want to get in that trailer. I had to get my daughter to hold them for me.

I rode Lostine first because she seemed more relaxed than Bombay. However, once I mounted her I discovered otherwise. She was a wreck waiting to happen.

Lostine is a very fast horse, so I have to keep a tight rein on her and wiggle her head from side to side to keep her at a walk. If she had it her way, she would buck me off and head for the hills. Can you believe we still have snow in the mountains?

We spent a little time on bending and flexibility since she was so wound up.

Here I must have lost a stirrup. The broomstick trick worked in keeping my stirrups at the right angle until I stopped using it. Now I have to lean down to twist the stirrup onto the toe of my boot.

Once Lostine relaxed, I decided to give her a break and work Bombay. Even though Bombay is a more visibly nervous horse, I feel more comfortable riding him. I think it is because he's at the bottom of the pecking order and more willing to follow my direction, while Lostine being the alpha mare of the horses tends to want to do her own thing. I don't totally trust her, because she has that red-headed hot temper. Plus Bombay has such fluid strides. Even when he spooks I know I can ride it out.

My daughter kindly took pictures while I rode. She has no interest in riding, but she was willing to help. Just as I suspected, it turned out that I needed her on several occasions when the horse that was tied got loose.

The big drama of the day was when my daughter yelled, "LOOK OUT!" Before I could turn my head, Bombay and I were engulfed in a dust devil of epic proportions. I mean this was dirt, rocks, hay in your mouth, in your eyes, and in your nostrils. I actually got bruised on the wrist by a rock that hit me. The dust devil must have been fairly wide, because it lasted for about 10 seconds and was moving hard and fast. That is why I won't consider moving to Kansas. I'll take my earthquakes over tornadoes any day.

Bombay was at the trot when it hit us. I had no idea which direction it was moving in, so I thought it would be best to halt and wait for it to pass, especially since it completely blinded us and we couldn't see where we were going anyway. For a fleeting moment I feared that Bombay would buck and bolt as the wind grew stronger and stronger, pelting us with debris, but he stood his ground and waited it out with me. I was so proud of him. Now I know I can trust him to follow my directions in dangerous situations.

I gave him a big pat and said, "It's a good thing sandstorms are in the Arabian blood."

I kept an eye out for distant disturbances from that point on. We had a few more big gusts, but no more whirlwinds.

While getting Bombay back into the trailer, I experienced the same SNAFU that Katharine did with Panama recently. Right when he was stepping in, the wind blew the door shut and it slapped him in the butt. He immediately backed right out. I brought Bombay over to the door and shook my finger at it, saying, "Bad, bad door!"

He poked it with his nose to put it in its place, then my daughter tied it open with some baling twine before I attempted to get the horses back in. Fortunately, it didn't traumatize him too much. He was a little hesitant getting back in, eying that door, but he did cooperate.

When we arrived home, everyone was in one piece, even Gabbrielle despite galloping in circles and whinnying the entire time we were gone. Next time it will be her turn to experience being trailered to the Fairgrounds. I now feel confident that Bombay can handle having our equitation lessons there, and I can return my neighbor's property to her so that she can let her fillies out graze without worrying that it might disrupt my lessons or that someone might leave a gate open. She's been too generous and I don't want to wear out my welcome. Hopefully, after a while, the horses will enjoy their jaunts to the Fairgrounds, and then we can expand to the trails from there.


Fantastyk Voyager said...

I'm so happy that the day went well for you. What a powerful dust devil- throwing rocks! It's good that Bombay stood for you and trusts you. Lol- that desert blood!

That huge arena, did you run them? I'm assuming not since you didn't mention it and there are no pictures. I'll bet they would love it. Oh, the pictures you could get with tails flying and necks arched!

I love how you turned back and said "Bad, bad door" after the trailer door caught him. I'm glad he didn't get squirrely about it.

You are making great progress in their training! It won't be long before you hit the trails again.

Kate said...

What excellent rides - your horses are so beautiful, and how nice that your daughter was willing to go along and help!

fernvalley01 said...

Sounds like all went fairly well considering .Yay for you!
And going to the fairgrounds keeps the nosy nieghbor out of the picture too!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Val - I didn't cut them loose on this day, because I was short on time. My daughter and I lunged them, and then I rode. I did canter them under saddle, but didn't have many still shots. My daughter took an 8-minute film of me cantering, because I wanted to see if my rear was coming up out of the saddle. My instructor says I sit well at the canter, but I don't feel like I do.

Lulu said...

Awesome!!! This sounds like great progress! I love how you are leaving someone home alone too, it is so great for them to deal with being away from the herd!!

Katharine Swan said...

Oh! You have no idea how much better I feel hearing that someone else has had that same problem with the trailer door blowing shut. I wish I'd thought of scolding the door, though. That was really clever! I laughed, reading it!

Paint Girl said...

What a crazy thing, a dirt devil! Now that would have scared me to death, don't know how Brandy would handle something like that! Glad everyone made it through that one ok!
Sounds like the horses did well, considering dirt devils, flying trailer doors.
The fairgrounds look like a nice place to ride. Love the arenas!

Breathe said...

Sounds like a great day (minus the dust devil) and hopefully more trailering will help them adjust to the idea.

Also nice to hear about you riding without an audience (other than your daughter). That alone must be such a relief!

allhorsestuff said...

I enjoyed reading of your events!
I am glad that your daughter went with you and G was okay..you could tellhuh..that she cantered in circles!

Whoa...nev...man..glad you did not get dizzy..either of you!
-almost-as I type! I went to our local "Home Depot" and got all the supplies and now need to borrow a drill with bits and a hack saw!
I got pipe/screws/ hindges/ and rubber ends for the thing....my sissy's trailer has an awesome door stop and I use it every time...just in case the door would like to move..it can NOT!
I will send you the specs!

C-ingspots said...

Sounds like a fun and productive outing for both you and the horses. Bombay is a beautiful horse. I'm sure he is confident in his care of you. Believe in him.

manker said...

sounds likea productive outing with both of em... i'm surprised your daughter 's not into riding.. i think the "bug" would bite me almost by osmosis :)

had a victorious ride also with gazi and trainer patrick today.. Feels great when you make progress.. Good on ya

sit down and ride

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

allhorsestuff - I knew Gabbrielle whinnied and ran in circles the whole time we were gone, because my husband and son were home, and they told me about it. They said she really woke up the neighborhood with all her screaming. My husband made sure all the gates were closed tight in case she tried to jump one, there would be another gate for her to get past, then another...

My trailer has a door stop that is like a peg that fits into a rubber hole, but it is no match for the wind.

Leah Fry said...

I need to take mine out just for the sake of it. They are getting much more relaxed about it. We have trails at the lake, but I would have to walk them first in order to feel comfortable.

Bad, bad door — cracked me up!

Once Upon an Equine said...

Holy flying dirt devil, Batman. Wow, I've never experienced anything like that. Glad it didn't fluster either of you too much. Nice pictures and commentary. Your horses have a lot of character.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

You and Lostine looked great together. Bad dirt devil! Bad door! Good Bombay!
I agree with Val, too. I bet your horses would love a good gallop and prance At Liberty in the fairgrounds arena.
I love watching Val's horses gallop and play in her arena. We chase them and holler and they consider it a game and show off as we laugh and cheer them on. Such fun! Makes for awesome photos, too. hehehe!