Saturday, July 11, 2009

He's a Big Boy Now

I had plans to go to an Arabian horse show today, but my husband talked me into going on a hike / trail ride with him instead, and I'm glad. This trail ride was close enough on the heels of our last trail ride that Bombay had the trail fresh in his memory, so it was a lot less spooky for him.

He allowed me to catch him. He held still so that I could get his boots on him, which is a big deal for me. I usually have to get someone to hold him, because otherwise he dances back and forth in an attempt to evade the boots when he knows he's going into the trailer. I lunged him in the round pen before putting him in the trailer. I didn't use Quietex or any calming paste or powders, because I didn't think it did any good last time. He was a lot quieter in the trailer this time after being lunged.

Just as I was leading him through the parking lot to the trail head, a couple of cars pulled into the lot. A man got out with two dogs. He took off up the trail with one of them while the other stalked Bombay and I. It was a one-eared Husky-type of dog and very sweet. I had sympathy for its injured ear since my filly Gabbrielle went through having part of her ear cut off after an accident recently.

The Husky trotted along behind Bombay and Bombay accepted its presence. At one point the man realized his other dog was missing and started calling to it, but the dog would not leave Bombay, so I walked both Bombay and the dog up the trail to the man. He said his dog loves horses. He tried to drop back with his dogs while Bombay and I went on ahead, but the Husky ignored his calls and continued to guard Bombay. I said, "I think we've just adopted him."

Next we tried stopping Bombay all together and letting the man go on ahead while he pulled his Husky along by its collar. Apparently, he had no leashes. My husband tried to give me a leg up, but this time I couldn't get my foot into the stirrup at all. I had the Tucker trail saddle on Bombay instead of the Circle Y, which has longer and bigger stirrups. I had to lower the stirrup, get a boost up, and then have my husband help raise the stirrup again.

While we were fiddling around with that, I realized there were a couple of hikers waiting for us to move. I told them it was okay to walk around us. The woman petted Bombay and said that he was beautiful. Mounting and adjusting the stirrup took enough time that the man with the dogs was able to get far enough ahead of us for his Husky to forget about his obsession with my horse.

My husband hiked along side me while a rode, but he didn't have to hold the lead rope this time. Bombay was jumpy and spooking in place here and there, but I decided to just ignore it and communicate my relaxation to him through my body. The funny thing was that I thought I was plenty relaxed, however when we stopped to take pictures my right leg started spasming while my foot was shaking uncontrollably. I realized that I had strained my oblique muscle on the side of my waist while mounting.

Bombay was able to walk up to the stream this time without having a heart attack. He also did a better job of passing signs. He was still wary and did give one big spook next to one, but recovered. He slipped on a rock, which forced him to pay more attention to where he was putting his feet. He traversed the rockiest part of the trail well after that. This was the part of the trail where he spooked so much that we had to turn around and go back last weekend. This weekend it didn't bother him at all. Go figure.

However, once we got further up into the trees and the trail got really narrow, he balked and tried to spin. I knew his intention was to turn and run, so I kept him facing forward. Unfortunately, he then began running BACKWARDS right into my husband, who slapped him on the butt to get him moving forward again. Now THAT'S why I won't trail ride alone just yet. He probably saved me from being on a runaway horse with that quick thinking.

We were so close to reaching the top of the loop, but felt that Bombay had been pushed way beyond his comfort zone at this point, so we turned back. There were times when my husband walked beside us and times where he walked behind us because the trail was too narrow. I was satisfied with the fact that Bombay went further than ever and without having to be led by someone on foot. He was finally listening to me, his rider, instead of listening to the scary voices in his head.

On the way down the trail we hit a traffic jam of hikers and horseback riders. The hikers stepped off the trail to let Bombay and I pass, while the horseback riders asked if they needed to pull over for us. I said, "We could probably pass at the same time."

Bombay balked and wasn't quite sure what to do with other horses walking so close in the opposite direction. I had to keep squeezing my legs and clucking to encourage him forward. The women on the horses kept saying what a beautiful speckled Arabian he is, while I admired their rich bays with black legs, manes, and tails. I think it's funny how everyone automatically knows that Bombay is an Arabian when they see him. He's very typey for the breed. Sometimes I look at a horse and I can say it has a certain breed in it, but I'm never quite sure if the horse is purebred. However, everyone says with confidence that Bombay is an Arabian and nothing but. I just wish he wouldn't roll in poo before I take him out, so that he would be even more admirable. ;)

One of the cool things about this trail is that we cross the California / Nevada border. I worry sometimes that a brand inspector might find me out there and ask for my papers.

The best and most amazing part of the trail ride was getting all the way there and all the way home without a single poopsident in the trailer. Bombay is usually so nervous about trailering that his intestines become projectile cannons. I'm so used to having to spray down the inside of the trailer afterward that I didn't know what to do with myself.

When we drove off for the trailer ride, we left the gate to our RV lane wide open. When we came back, a bale of our hay was missing. Sigh. I'd rather somebody just steal $14 out of my purse if they are that desperate. Sometimes I think people just steal because we give them the opportunity. Next time we will close and lock the gate behind us, since we obviously can't trust people.


Fantastyk Voyager said...

That's great news! I'm glad he's calming down on the trails. It should get easier and easier with less and less setbacks, hopefully.
A clean trailer? Way to go, Bombay! errr, not go! lol.

Paint Girl said...

I am so glad that Bombay did so much better this time! Horses are so funny, what scares them one time, might not scare them the next.
Brandy had been doing so well on trails lately, that our battle at the creek was pretty unexpected, than she did it again the other day. Not sure what gets into them sometimes.
That is a cute sign, California/Nevada. My trails aren't near a border but Tracey, who we've been riding with, rides up by the Canadian border and you have to be careful not to cross that border. That could be very interesting!
I love it when the horses don't poo inside the trailer. Yesterday mine didn't poop at all! There or back. I couldn't believe it! Brandy is like Bombay, the minute she gets in the trailer, poop. Before she gets out, poop. I was very surprised she waited til she got to the trail and home again!
Congrats on a great ride, and many more to come!

Kate said...

Except for the stolen hay, it sounds like a truly amazing day! Well done by all! The photos were wonderful, too.

Sydney said...

People stealing hay!! What the heck!?

Alex said...

I am thrilled for you! It's so nice when all of your hard work begins to pay off- what a lovely ride you must have had, and how proud "we" are of you and your boy! I love that shot from below with Bombay and the blue sky all frothy with clouds.

AnnL said...

Great about the trail ride but terrible you had to come back to find hay bale gone. Bummer. :-(

KD said...

Another good trail ride under your belt and under his saddle! For some reason, I thought you were in New Mexico..... Hay thieves - what's next?

Katharine Swan said...

Yay Bombay!!!!

Your husband is awesome. Mine would have dodged to get out of the way -- and then probably waved goodbye! LOL.

As for the hay -- well, maybe some poor starving horse will eat well for a couple extra days.

S. Lauren said...

That's wonderful news about your great trail ride. I'm happy for all of you on the great accomplishments. It must be bothersome that someone would steal hay from you, I hope whoever is doing that leaves you alone from now on.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

"his intestines become projectile cannons"
LOL! NM, you totally made me smile. Thanks for that. :D

Your photos look do Bombay. And you looked happy out there riding the trails together.
Do you think you'll ever be able to get your hubby to ride with you, too? John wants to ride, but he's not ready yet, except for in the arena and with lessons. I'm very worried about him getting hurt, too.

I'm glad that the ride went well, even with some of the spooks and nervousness. Way to go, Bombay!

That stinks about the hay and the theives. Crazy! Today, while driving home the opposite happened to us. Hubby and I stopped off at a place selling hay, and they offered to give us a huge 150lb 3-string bale of alfalfa...FREE! Just to 'test' it out. He gets it in from California and has Teffy grass, too. We might be a round bale in the near future to save money and to feed the woolies and Baby Doll.


fernvalley01 said...

Too bad about the hay , a rotten thing on an otherwise great day ! Yay for you and Bombay ! And By the way , your hubby is a STAR !!! what a sweetie, makes it a nice way for you both to enjoy your chosen form of recreation!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lisa - I encourage my husband to ride from time to time, but he's not that interested. He feels like he would need a really large mule or draft horse, because once when he mounted Bombay, Bombay lost his balance and grunted under his weight. He's ridden horses and mules at stables, but not interested enough to make it worth our while to purchase a larger animal. I also worry about my husband or kids getting hurt when they ride. It had take so many years of lessons for me to get to the point where I can move with the horse in whatever direction and at whatever speed it is going.

HorseOfCourse said...

What a wonderful ride, and what a great couple of guys you had company with!
I am sure Bombay just will get more relaxed and enjoy himself the more times you can take him out there. And how sweet your husband is to take the initiative.
Thanks for the lovely photos!

manker said...

great progress for you and equine both.. way 2 go

gp who had some breakthrus and ahas at this weekend's horse show.. Arent horses amazing teachers??

happy trails

Lulu said...

I wanted to comment yesterday, but didn't have time.

What an improvement! I am SOOO happy for you and Bombay! You are definitely 10 steps closer to trail riding without a chaperone!

Sorry about the hay bale...that really bites!