Saturday, May 1, 2010


This latest issue of Horse & Rider magazine has an article that talks about there being a direct correlation between your level of fear and the amount of trust you have in your horse. I'm sure it goes both ways. If your horse trusts you, it won't fear you.

Every once in a while I have a nightmare that is worse than any other I've experienced. I suddenly come to the realization that I own all of these pets that I've forgotten about. In the nightmare I always go into an attic or some basement and find dozens of rabbits, guinea pigs, dogs, cats, rats, mice, hamsters, and whatnot, all filthy from spending months or years sleeping in their own feces, all starving and on the brink of death, all because I got too busy and forgot about them. I always wake up from this nightmare crying.

I suspect that the nightmare stems from me feeling frustrated over my fickle memory. Case in point, I just realized this morning that I haven't taken my truck in for an oil change in over seven months! I took it in this morning, but forgot the coupon to save me some money. Then when they asked me if I wanted my transfer case oil changed, I said no, forgetting that I've already said no on two previous occasions. Oh well, I guess I won't be taking the truck on my 800-mile trip in a couple of weeks. Then I went to the market, but left the canvas bags in the trunk and had to walk all the way to the back of the massive Wally World parking lot to get them. As soon as I got home, I had to start a new shopping list that contained everything I forgot. I don't trust myself because of my poor memory.

After running errands all day, I wanted to ride Gabbrielle before the wind got too obnoxious or the sun set. I walked toward the paddock with halter and lead rope in hand, and for the first time in this horse's life, Lostine met me at the gate and asked me to choose her. I was floored. Lostine always takes off running as soon as she sees me carrying a halter. I thought, "Surely this is a fluke. She knows I'm going to ride Gabbrielle, so she's pretending like she's volunteering to be ridden. I'll just bring the halter up to her head, and I'll bet she'll take off running."

No. Lostine stood like a lady who was pleased with herself as I fastened the halter around her head. It suddenly hit me that she finally trusts me to ride her softly and gently. I used to let my hands bounce around and my butt bounce around in the saddle, and she always trotted with her ears pinned back. However, after all those equitation lessons, I've learned to ride quietly with good posture and soft hands. Lostine has probably felt the difference and isn't afraid to be ridden anymore.

I had to reward Lostine for volunteering, so I led her over to the trailer and offered her some peppermints. I groomed her and figured I may as well tack her up and ride her since I was halfway there. I had a ball trotting all over the place, and BONUS! Her ears were pegged forward like she was having a good time too.

Lostine did a perfect sidepass to close the gate behind us. I think about all the effort I put into trying to get these horses to sidepass for no reason in the round pen and they don't get it, but as soon as I give them a practical task such as closing a gate, they sidepass naturally.

Bombay the Troublemaker got a hold of my favorite lead rope again. He was swinging the metal clip against the metal step stool making music. I hollered at him to drop it, because I didn't want him to ruin the rope, nor swing the clip up into his face and hurt himself. He ignored me, so Lostine and I had to open the gate and chase him. Just like a dog with a toy, Bombay took off with the lead rope in this mouth dragging the length of it beside him on the ground.

I was yelling in my bad dog voice, "Drop it! Drop it now!"

He did drop it a couple of times, but turned around to pick it up and took off again. It was quite funny. For once I wished someone was around to witness this comedy of me chasing another horse on horseback that has stolen my favorite lead rope. I ended up whacking Bombay on the rump with my riding crop; he dropped the lead rope and left it there. I dismounted and grabbed it before he could come back and cause more trouble.

As further reward for volunteering to take me for a ride and helping me get control of Bombay, I took Lostine for a walk around the neighborhood and let her weed our driveway. I discovered that a roll of paper towels had blown out of the horse trailer onto the RV lane, so I lead Lostine over to it and picked it up. I thought, "Oh no, this is probably going to make her spook." But then I thought, "No, I'm going to trust that she won't spook."

I picked up the roll and before I could get the loose part re-rolled, a wind picked up and flapped it into Lostine's face. She just looked at me like, "Oh brother. Get your paper towels under control, will ya?"

Oh yeah, and before I ride in the round pen, I always pick up loose rocks and throw them either into the gravel on the RV lane or into a rock pile in the paddock. The horses are so used to me throwing rocks that the noise doesn't startle them anymore. Anyway, I chucked this one rock and it landed right smack in the middle of the one pile of manure in the paddock. I jumped up, threw my hands in the air and yelled, "Two points!"

Right when I was leading Lostine out the gate to get the tack off her, my neighbor drove up and sat in her car watching me for several minutes. I wanted to yell out to her, "Too bad you didn't come home earlier. You missed quite a show. I caught a burglar and scored two points!"

Earlier when we were all piling into our car to run errands, I saw my son waving and saying hello to someone behind me. I turned around to find my nosy neighbor bent over in my pine trees peering between the branches just about 20-feet behind me letting her dog pee in my bushes while she watched us. I asked my son if she ever said hello back to him. He said she did but he had to say hello several times before he got a response. That was kind of weird, considering she was looking right at him the whole time he was waving and saying hello. Now you know why I rarely bother with neighborly greetings. I suspect she thought she was invisible while spying on us, and thought my son was really waving and saying hello to me.


fernvalley01 said...

Good girl Lostine! what fun , I was smiling the whole time. You need more rides like that girl! Glad you were able to enjoy your lovley mare

Katharine Swan said...

That's wonderful that Lostine asked to be chosen! And that she really enjoyed herself, too!

As for your neighbors... I am starting to think you ought to write a novel about a nosy couple and all the trouble they get into trying to spy on their neighbors... Like thinking they're invisible when they're not, and getting caught on camera behind the barn. ;o)

Breathe said...

What a great time with Lostine!! I can just picture you both running around after Bombay.

Glad you had such a terrific time.

Sydney said...

That is good Lostine trusts you!

allhorsestuff said...

Loved this!!! Two points..I think 10!
Smiling with you and so happy she chose you!

Leah Fry said...

Yeah, ya gotta reward it when they come asking to be chosen. I love that, too.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Maybe your neighbor thinks he Invisibility Cloak still works. You'll hve to tell she has to pay her IC bill each month to keep it turned on. Sheesh!


I wish I could have seen you chasing Bombay while riding Lostine. How funny and how awesome that she trusts you now.
It's taken a long time and a lot of work, but you and she have made such huge progress together. yay!

Your words about the rocks and manure pile made me think of how scared Apache is whenever I pick up a rock and throw it. She looks so worried, it makes me wonder if anyone has even thrown rocks at her. Poor girl.

I was also jus thinking that at least you were throwing a rok and not a horse apple, like we sometimes do around here (but only when it's not fresh! lol!).


Cheryl Ann said...

Interesting about Lostine! I must admit~~I suffer from "CRS"..."can't remember sh$%!" I can't even count the number of times I've forgotten my pysllium for the horses at home, or my camera, or this or that!!!