Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saddle Up Sunday

It's a clear 53 degrees outside, so I couldn't pass up a ride. I had a hard time keeping my energy up after a grueling week at work, so I decided to mainly just walk and jog around obstacles. Bombay helped me open the gate to the round pen. Once we walked out, the mares walked in, and Bombay did his pro sidepass to help close the gate behind them.

I leave my folding step stool and lead rope in the center of the round pen, and if one of the horses starts playing with them, I say NO and they stop. One of my lead ropes has a really nice leather strap at the end and I don't want it to be eaten. On this day Gabbrielle laid down right next to the metal step stool and began to roll into it. The horses knock down that stool all the time, so the clatter doesn't spook them anymore, but I am always worried that a horse will get its leg caught in it. I told Gabbrielle to get up, and she did. Who says horses don't speak English?

I rode Bombay around the paddock and the barn, circling logs and Jolly Balls, doing figure 8's, sidepassing and what not. The boarders next door drove up the street and none of my horses could care less. I recalled the day when they first drove up the street like a bat out of hell and caused my horses to stampede. Bombay got injured during the stampede and went temporarily lame for six weeks. Now the horses are finally used to all these vehicles frequenting the road behind the barn and driving through the neighbor's yard.

While I was riding, the boarders kept slamming truck and horse trailer doors loudly, and my horses didn't even blink an eye. They loaded up their horses into the horse trailer, and the one horse they left behind went berserk, galloping around and whinnying. My horses didn't even bother to turn their heads to look. There was a time when if anything at all went on next door with those other horses, my horses got excited and ran back and forth along the fence whinnying like that lone horse was doing. I remember feeling frustrated that the boarders always chose the same days to ride that I did, and their distracting activities made my goals very difficult to achieve.

You may recall when I was trying to trailer train Gabbrielle, and each time she took a step toward the trailer, the boarders honked their horn, startled her, and she jumped away. Of all my horses, she took the longest to train, because I had to undo a lot of the damage those boarders did. They didn't mean to startle her. They were actually honking at their own horses to get them out of the way while they were dragging the paddock, but being horse people, one would think they'd be a little more sensitive to the fact that horns do startle young horses and I was attempting to trailer train my filly just a few yards away.

I sat there on Bombay reaching over the railing with my riding crop scratching Lostine on the face, neck, back and between the ears with it. Gabbrielle got jealous and trotted over to get her strokes with the whip. I alternated between rubbing all three of them. My horses love my riding crop, because believe it or not, I do use it more to pet and reward them than to do anything else. I occasionally use it to fine tune movements by tapping the part of the body that I want to move away from it. On this day, everything was perfect and no corrections were necessary.

The boarders started up their engine and drove toward us hauling their horses in the trailer. I walked Bombay toward them as they drove toward us, and Bombay wasn't in the least bit concerned that this big truck making loud banging noises was headed right at him. As they drove out of the driveway and up the road, I turned Bombay to follow them. He was fine with that.

Then we rode over to the corner of the property where the agitated horse was galloping around calling out to his missing buddies. He ran up to us and I told him everything was okay, and they'd be back soon. Almost as if he understood, he relaxed and waited quietly. For once, Bombay was helping me soothe another horse's nerves, instead of me or another horse having to soothe his nerves.

You've come a long way, Baby.


Leah Fry said...

I'm so glad you had such a great time with him today. Sounds wonderful.

Please say a prayer for Jaz, who is not doing well.

fernvalley01 said...

What a good boy! Yay Bombay! sounds like a nice easy ride is just what you needed NM, Hope it has refuelled you some for next week!

Grey Horse Matters said...

It sounds like all your work has paid off. What a good herd you have. They surely could have misbehaved with all the commotion next door. Glad you and Bombay calmed that poor horse down too, very competent horsey therapists.
You'd think those people next door would be a little more sensitive to you and your horses, they sound like some real inconsiderate jerks.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I'm just so happy for you, NM. Sounded like one of the best days you've had with your horses for a long time......and you deserve that, my friend.


Paint Girl said...

Sounds like you had a very productive training day!! Yeah!
I am so glad that your horses are getting used to all the commotion going on around your place.
Where I work the horses are used to all the commotion in the barn, tractors, aisle sweepers, etc, but once we have to take them outside, everything is a big, scary monster to them! They don't get to go outside very often.

Mrs Mom said...


I am So glad you were able to get out and truly just RELAX on your horse. So happy for you both!!

Give that handsome fellow an extra rub from his fan club on in the east!

Cheryl Ann said...

I love your updates! That is wonderful progress!

Katharine Swan said...

I love those perfect days, where everything just seems to fall into place. I've noticed that on those days, my horse is more likely to understand me right away, and to do what I am asking on the first try. I think there is something about being calm that just sends clear, uncomplicated signals to them.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Mrs. Mom's post reminded me that I forgot to mention that all the flies outside have died off, so that probably had a lot to do with the horses being more calm and relaxed.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

I think your visit with Clinton Anderson has given you a 'can do' attitude and the horses know it. Kudus to you! It's great to be in sync with the world, isn't it? You should be singing "What a Feeling!"
I'm very proud of you and your great day!

Andrea said...

Oh Bombay is my favorite and he sounds like he has come a long way. And that long way was not alone, you have done so much with him. He is lucky to have such a great Mom!