Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mohawk Sunday

As the weather cools down in the fall, the horses' bridle paths grow out rather quickly. I am always in a quandary as to whether or not to keep them trimmed, because they need that hair for warmth, yet I also want to keep them clean, and if I'm still riding them, I need a nice, neat place on their poll to set the bridle. I usually decide on a half-trim in which I let half of the mane grow out while it is in its mohawk stage, while I trim a smaller section closer to the ears.

I also trim the horses' whiskers. They love having those clippers buzzing around their muzzles. It must feel good. Their tails are pretty dirty, but it's too cold to be bathing them, so I just run a comb through their tails with some Cowboy Magic.

As you know, I've been sick off and on for the past six weeks. I got stomach flu symptoms for a few days, then was fine, then had head cold symptoms for a few days, then was fine, then returned to stomach flu symptoms... Eventually, I started getting really bizarre symptoms and my latest struggle has been with vertigo. If I look up or down, or bend down and then stand up, everything starts spinning around me and I stumble like a drunk. I finally get to see my new doctor tomorrow for a physical. Hopefully, he can crack this case.

In the meantime I haven't done a whole lot of horseback riding. I wasn't totally confident that I could stay upright in the saddle. However, today I took my chances. It turned out that I didn't have any problems in the saddle, because I look straight ahead. Being jostled at the trot and posting did not trigger dizzy spells. Most of my problems happened on the ground when I was grooming. Bombay made me look up too high while trimming his bridle path, and I had to bend over to brush the horses' legs. I survived, though, and didn't fall down.

The ground is still quite wet from those thunderstorms we had a couple of weekends ago, so it is too slippery for the horses to be cantering on. I lunged them yesterday and both Lostine and Gabbrielle went down on their sides when they slipped at a fast trot. Gabbrielle has always been a difficult horse to slow down during lunging, but I had a chat with her and explained that she has to figure out how to jog slowly or she's going to get hurt with these ground conditions. I was talking to her, not expecting her to understand anything I said, but when I started her up around the pen again, she moved at the most beautiful, controlled jog! She's such a smart horse.

When I rode the horses, I only rode at a walk and jog. I mainly worked on neck reining on a loose rein. Bombay caught on right away, but Lostine was being stubborn. She kept trying to turn into the center of the round pen, then stop to tell me to get off. So, I had to add the riding crop to my leg and neck reining. I discovered that the secret to getting Lostine to cooperate is persistence. I just had to keep tapping her hip faster and faster until she turned, then release and relax until she tested me with her next evasive maneuver. After a bit of fighting, she finally let out a big sigh as if to say, "Okay, I'll do what you say now." Things went well from that point forward, and she received her due praise.

Oh, and horse treats, of course.


Stephanie said...

Good luck with your doctor visit! It sure is inconvienent when health issues get in the way of doing the things we love to do.

fernvalley01 said...

good luck at the dac, wondering if you have a sinus infection , that is usually what gives me dizzy days

Grey Horse Matters said...

Hope you're feeling better soon and the new doc can figure out your symptoms and come up with a plan.

Glad you did get to ride.

Katharine Swan said...

Oh, NM, I really hope the doctor can figure out what's wrong -- and get you well again!

I trim a small bridle path year round, but not as far back as is commonly done. I don't trim Panama's whiskers anymore, as I've read that they use them for telling when something is close to their muzzles, kind of like cats' whiskers. Doesn't bother me if he's whiskered -- I actually think it's really cute. ;o)

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I'm glad you were able to get in some riding, NM. I haven't trimmed Baby Doll's bridle path for about 6months. I like an untrimmed bridle path on most horses, except Arabians. The bridle path really does a great job at accentuating an Arabian's beautiful neck. I never trim Baby Doll's whiskers because we don't show and I think it's a good idea for her to be able to have them for finding her way around safely.

I hope the doctor can figure out what's going on with you and your health so you can get back to feeling normal and healthy again.


Fantastyk Voyager said...

I certainly hope you are feeling better soon. It's hard to enjoy riding when you don't feel good.

I thought your mohawk post was going to be about your son. My son recently got one. ;)

Lulu said...

My filly is sporting a mohawk right now too. During the last show season I didn't like how long her bride path had become, so now I am growing 2 inches of it out to match the rest of her mane.

I keep bridle paths trimmed all year round, I just try not to shave the hair as short in the winter.