Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lock the Girls Up...

...and make them cry. Unlock the girls and set them free. That's a game I like to play with Bombay when I ride him around our property. Since he's at the bottom of the pecking order and often jilted by the mares, I like to help him feel empowered by asking him to help me open the gate to the round pen, herd the girls inside, and then shut the gate and lock them in. Then Bombay and I run off together laughing while the girls realize that they've been duped once again. Once he and I have had the run of the property without those pesky girls bothering us, he helps me open the gate to set them free.

I've been reading about Kate's lessons learned while auditing a clinic taught by Mark Rashid. If you haven't read her series of posts yet, you can find them over at A Year With Horses. In reporting what she learned at Mark's clinic, Kate wrote, "If you think about the different gaits as not faster/slower, but as having different rhythms, this tends to make it easier to get the transitions. That's how you avoid things like getting a faster trot instead of a nice balanced trot to canter transition."

I went outside with the intention to ride, but even with our "Lock the Girls Up" game, I found that Bombay and I were both bored. Then I remembered this idea of thinking in rhythms and gave it a try. I even went so far as saying the beat out loud. I found that Bombay's transitions were not only more responsive, but more consistent. As we walked, I said, "One two three four. One two three four."

As we trotted, I said, "One two. One two. One two." If I sped up my verbal beat, he sped up his feet.

Then I tried another experiment. I sang while we rode, and I didn't give any cues. I just sang and sat. Interestingly, Bombay moved in rhythm with the music. If I sang a fast tune, he went fast. As I slowed the tune down, he slowed down. When I finished singing, he stopped.

What a dude.

I spent most of the day taking the kids on a shopping spree in South Lake Tahoe. I'm trying to spend as much time as possible with the kids before they have to go back to school. My daughter will be leaving for her sophomore year of college before her 19th birthday, so I wanted her to pick out a few early birthday presents for herself. My son will be a junior in high school and he destroys shoes faster than I can buy them. We went to the Adidas Outlet and stocked up. My daughter and I have hard-to-fit feet, but Adidas usually come through for us.

I also love Adidas track pants and found some in black with pink stripes, then got a pink sleeveless ladies golf shirt to match. We found a cute boutique with the most amazing women's jeans, but I didn't bother to try them on when I saw the price tag. Let's just say they ranged from $100 to $200. I know that's nothing for people of high society, but I'm just a farm girl from Nevada. We also found another boutique that had much more reasonable prices and lots of cute clothes for teen girls. That's where my daughter hit the jackpot.

If you are ever in South Lake Tahoe, I recommend that you eat at a little burger place next to the Super 8 Motel called Big Daddy's Burgers. They make the best burger I have tasted in my entire life. I was so engrossed in eating my delicious cheeseburger that I didn't even get distracted by the college boys who dragged in a life-sized plus-size blow up doll in a bikini and fondled her at a table nearby.


Breathe said...

What songs do you sing? I like red river valley, summertime, and city of new orleans.

I need a good cantering song. maybe that would help.


they make plus size blow up dolls? I'm not sure why I find that so hilarious, but glad the frat boys remain ridiculously true to stereotype.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Breathe - You know, I don't even remember specifically what I was singing. I'm pretty mindless at times. Usually, I sing whatever I last heard on the radio or whatever someone last played on the piano or on guitar in my house. Yes, this was a very rotund blow up doll with a polka-dot bikini. It barely fit in the guy's lap at the table.

fernvalley01 said...

Interesting study ,I will have to try it . I am with you about the $100 jeans it ain't gonna happen!

Leah Fry said...

Poco like singing too. Maybe I should try more ballads.

Katharine Swan said...

I pay $10-$15 for a pair of jeans at Ross. No way am I going to pay more for something that's going to end up with horse sh!t staining the hems. :o)

Your vocalizing the rhythm -- you know, I often cluck in time with the rhythm I want in order to get Panama to slow his trot. I cluck on every other beat -- when I'm rising in the saddle while posting. It seems to work!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Well no wonder the neighbors are always coming outside to watch you! They want to hear you sing. lol!

I used to sing on Baby Doll's back when I rode her out on the trails by myself. She seemed to like it...and like you said, moved in rhythm, and it helped give me confidance. Don't laugh, but I found myself singing 'Jingle Bells' quite a bit. The part of the one-horse open sleigh seemed to be my mare's and my fave part. hehe!

I'm not even sure what to say about the blow-up doll and frat boys. I can only imagine what my sons would say if they had been sitting there with their burgers. gah! They're only 12....and I am SOOO not ready for a conversation that involves blow-up size or otherwise.

(Did she have one of those round, hollow mouths, too?.....Oh never mind. I don't really want to know. gah!)



Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lisa - Yeah, that was actually the first time I sang while riding on my property. The neighbors made sure to crack their windows so they could listen in. When I was riding Lostine last night, she kept perking up and looking in the direction of the corner of my neighbor's house, so I knew I was being watched from a hiding spot. The woman did come out with her dog, and she pretended like she didn't see me there on my horse trotting around. She scurried behind my barn so she could watch me from there, but my husband and son took her by surprise by already being behind the barn. She then scurried back into her house without even taking her dog for a walk or letting it do its business on my property.

There was a table filled with young children next to us when the boys walked in with their doll. Fortunately, the doll really wasn't that graphic. The mother could probably just pass it off as a flotation device.

S. Lauren said...

That's interesting to see while trying to eat a burger lol. I'm glad to hear the burger tasted good at least, some people these days really amaze me lol.

Promise said...

I have used singing and counting in the same way. It is great in a new place, particularly if you use it at home consistently (for yourself and the horse, lol) -- because it reminds you to stay in the same rhythm.

I also found it helpful while jumping. I had this one fence my trainer would set up years ago, it was a HUGE white gate. And, I had fallen off and broken my arm after a line ending with that fence. The only way I was able to get past my mental block after that, and get Promise over it, was to sing. If I forgot to sing, I forgot to block my fear of the fence, and she would refuse it every time.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

A flotation device, eh? Um, then let's take 'er to the community pool. lol!

Maybe you could bring one of them home yourself....and place it behind your barn to shock the nosy neighbor.
Sure might be entertaining for you, I think. hehe! *evil grin*