Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday in the Saddle

Gabbrielle is getting really good about stopping her body in the direction she was moving and only turning her head toward me...

She does it well in both directions...

She's also doing really well responding right away when I ask her to halt or change gaits...

I was able to ground drive her outside the round pen with two lines attached to her halter without any major issues. Eventually I'll return to ground driving her outside the round pen with two lines attached to a bit, but first I want to feel confident that she won't take off running and will come to a stop facing forward on my command.

I took Bombay over to my neighbor friend's house for a ride. She had one mare and one gelding out grazing in the area where I need to walk Bombay to get him out to the riding arena. As I was leading him across the grass, he balked at the site of a wheelbarrow filled with horse blankets.

Then the mare came over to flirt with him. I was hoping that since she walked past the wheelbarrow without concern, he would do the same. They sniffed noses for a little bit, and then the mare squealed, spun and kicked out at him. Fortunately, it was just a warning kick and she didn't intend to actually strike him.

I began walking him past the wheelbarrow when the gelding approached and blocked our path. By this time the mare was sniffing Bombay's rear and he was standing still as a statue looking very nervous. I could see he was about to explode, so I positioned myself behind a tree. I know, I'm totally chicken, but all three of these horses looked like they were about to start a brawl. The mere fact that they pinned Bombay between them next to that scary wheelbarrow made the situation that much more intense.

I threw the rope at the gelding to move him out of the way and then Bombay trotted past between me and the wheelbarrow. By this point my friend came out of her house and called out to see if I needed help. I told her I was good now that I got him past the other horses. We went into the round pen, but the two other horses ran up to the fence and started a nose-to-nose conference with Bombay again. That made it kind of hard to lunge him. I chased them off and began pushing Bombay in circles, though he wasn't listening well.

The other gelding took off at a gallop around the outside of the pen while Bombay chased him from the inside of the pen. They were acting like a couple of stallions vying for a herd of mares. Bombay bucked out to the side a couple of times as a challenge. Of course, all the while I'm thinking there's no way I'm going to ride that horse today. To add to the chaos, the mare kept trotting up to the fence to flirt with Bombay. I kept telling him to leave her, because she's just a tease.

Eventually, the other two horses settled into grazing and Bombay started paying attention to me. He was so hyper that I made him walk. My friend came out and asked if something was wrong with him. I said, "No. Why?" She said she thought I was walking him because he had hurt a leg. I explained that I'm trying to settle him down, because he's too excited about the other horses. She decided to put the gelding away where he wouldn't be a distraction.

As soon as she led him off, Bombay started galloping around bucking again, so it was definitely the gelding who was getting a rise out of him. The mare was only a minor distraction. I went out to the barn to get my friend's mounting block, and noticed that her colt was licking his front right fetlock. I saw that there was a stream of blood running down the back of his leg. She had me hold him while she put some medication on the wound.

This is the most wild horse she's ever owned. She admits that it is no fun working with him. She has to lunge him every day; otherwise all that pent up energy will get him into trouble. He has that wild look in his eye and is a bit schizoid. One minute he's loving on me and letting me stroke his face, and the next minute he's acting as if my hand is a butcher knife. He pulled back while I was holding the lead rope. I let go in increments, but he kept pulling despite having a stud chain on. He pulled back so hard that the rope ripped the skin right off my finger.

I did ride Bombay after that. It was a bit tense, because he kept calling out to the other horses and he wanted to jig instead of walk. However, once I got him collected, he was a good boy and went through his paces.

I saw something shiny glinting in the sun on the ground. I took a closer look at it on the next pass and saw that it was a silver concho. I dismounted, picked it up and gave it to my friend. She was happy that I found it. It belongs to a championship saddle that her son won many years ago. One of her horses had a wreck in that saddle when it slipped upside down and the horse got its hoof stuck in the stirrup. Let's just say that the saddle lost that battle. That's why you should tighten your cinch multiple times in increments, folks. Anyway, I called it a day and headed for home to help my son with another parallel parking lesson, and snapped off a few more photos of Bombay waiting for his treat.

Once the horses were tucked away in their stalls, I noticed that it was a full moon. That might explain why all those horses at my neighbor's place were acting so nutty... and why my dogs were acting live wolves when they saw my sandwich.


Tammy said...

Laughing at hiding behind a tree -- not at you, but because I have been there myself!

At least dispite all your obstacles, you got to ride! :)

Sydney said...

LOL the dogs are priceless. Dog totem pole there.

fernvalley01 said...

Love the picture of the wolves/dogs! Its been quite a weekend!

Paint Girl said...

Oh goodness, hiding behind a tree! But better to be safe, that's for sure!
Sounds like Gabbrielle is doing well with her training!!
I love that picture of your dogs, too cute!

Katharine Swan said...

I'm still laughing about the "wolves" in the last picture!

But seriously, I'm glad you got to ride today. I've had the same thought before -- "No way am I getting on him today" -- and I think it's wonderful that you got to after all!

Leah Fry said...

Never be embarrassed about having the good sense to stay out of the way of trouble.

√ Abraham Lincoln said...

Beautiful horse photos and love the two dogs.

Laura said...

Glad you got a bit of a ride in amongst the chaos! You always seem to perservere in situations where I would have ran and hid behind the barn and never come out or something! lol

Those poor doggies are obviously underfed and needed a sandwich of their own... :-)

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Awwwww, that last photo is so adorable. I bet it was so difficult to say no. Dobbie does the begging thing and sometimes I find it so annoying. I'll place my computer or a book in front of her face to try and block her as she tries to squeeze her face in so I'll give in.

I'm glad you got to ride Bombay and that Gabbrielle is coming along so nicely, too.

When my mare was pastured with those three geldings, one time when I wanted to feed her some grain and then just spend some time grooming her, I brought an umbrella and everytime they barged their way towards me, I got really big and flashed open and close the umbrella until they ran off. After a few minutes of me flashing the umbrella like a crazy woman, while Baby Doll stood calmly munching her grain and feeling quite protected I'm sure, the geldings finally mosied off.

What was most surprising was that after she was done with her grain, she stood still for me for 15 minutes, at liberty and untied in a pasture of about 200 acres while I groomed her, and the other horses grazed farther away.
It really made me feel good that she would do that for me.
And I felt rather brave fending off those pushy geldings, too. :)


Breathe said...

Yikes! I'm impressed you still rode after all that intensity. It certainly is good to work through it though.

The power of the herd is pretty amazing, isn't it?

Glad you had a tree handy! I might have climbed it myself!

Andrea said...

Girl, you make me laugh!! I love to read your blog! I have missed coming over here and seeing how you have been. And girl Gabbrielle is getting so BIG! She has filled out a lot. It's amazing what a later in the year can do for a four year old. My four year old gelding is filling out nicely too!

And Bombay, I love that boy, even if he thinks he needs to act all studly for a mare!! hahaha! I am glad you ended up riding him in the end. It was nice of your friend to put up her gelding. Thoughtful.

And your "wolf" dogs!! Love it! The corgi licking its chops!! LOL