Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Game Plan

On my morning walk I found the place where Bombay had his hissy fit...

I even found scuff marks in the dirt where he started bucking...

Here's an example of the gates we have to ride our horses through when crossing roads...

When you consider that my horses spooked at every sign on the sides of trails I rode back in Nevada, it's no wonder they struggle with these gates.

I've been seeing roadrunners around.  It's difficult to get a picture, because they come and go so fast.  This picture is poor quality because I had to take it through the tinted window...

Very cool birds.  Here's the moon rising above the Superstitions...

And the sunset behind my favorite Ocotillo...

I met another neighbor on my walk and she gave me a lot of neighborhood gossip.  She said there used to be a lot more horse owners in our neighborhood, but they all had to find new homes for them once the economy tanked.  She said we used to have horseback riders everywhere and now there is only a small fraction left.  Of course, she had to put the fear of death into me by telling me all the horror stories of people who broke their collar bones and pelvises when being thrown from horses.  Then she admitted that her husband rode motorcycles until someone backed out of driveway in front of him.  They took it down a notch to bicycles after that, but even then she got into a bad wreck and broke her leg in three places.  Now there's nothing left she can do but walk for exercise and fun.

She told me about the local bobcat that ate all of one neighbor's chickens.  Apparently, there are javelina (wild pigs) down at her end of the street.  I've only seen a dead one on the side of the road in the next city over, but haven't seen any in my yard or out in the desert yet.

I walked all three horses out front just to separate them from the herd for a while, and though they were fine heading out, turning back was another story.  The nervous prancing and pulling on the lead rope began immediately.  Bombay seemed even worse than when I was in the saddle and we turned back.  So, I'm thinking about bringing treats into the picture.  Treat them all the way out as long at they are relaxed, but as soon as they get crazy, the treats go away.  I'm hoping that the treats will serve as a distraction and maybe the horses won't even notice that we have turned back toward home.

10 comments:

Reddunappy said...

I like those gates better that the one we have to go through when we ride the river dike. It is a box of creosote timbers, like 18"x18", with spaces under that feet could get caught in.
At least that one looks safe!

Paint Girl said...

Love the roadrunner! I want one! :)
Beautiful sunset!! I would love to see that every night!

fernvalley01 said...

Sounds like the neighbor lady has had some poor luck!

Cindy D. said...

Ok, I'm gonna throw this out, and you can take it for what it is worth. Different horses sometimes need different types of training, I do not know what will work for you, but this is what I did.

I had a TW Gelding name Gambler. He was huge, and really really spoiled, when I got him. I expect all my horse to walk atleast 2 feet behind me on a loose lead. When I stop, they have to stop. Much like heeling a dog.
Gambler was all over the place and nearly yanked my arm out of the socket more than once and very often came close to trampling me. He was just awful! My trainer came over one day and said, "Don't put up with it, use your horse language, show him where you expect him to be as if you were the herd leader."
Now this took using my training stick, and let me tell you, I am not one for hitting my horses, neither is my trainer, but when it comes to my safety, I use what ever it takes to get my point across.Lets face it, he out weighed me by 1500 lbs at least! I held the lead in my left hand and the stick in my right. Everytime he tried to run past me, he ran into that stick (with a little added force from me. I did not chase him around, I talked to him calmly (told him to back off) and kept walking, but if he ran forward, another little whack. Remember, he ran into my stick, I didn't wail on him, yell at him or anything. I made it clear that he was in my space. It took several laps around the pasture for him to lead right but he finally did. Then we did the same thing around the block. It showed him in no uncertain terms that I was the boss and he was to respect my space and follow my lead at all times. Also at the end of each lesson I used the stick rub him down with just like it was my hand, to show him that it really was just an extension of my hand. It made it about the bahavior and not the stick. When I sent him to his new home he led like an angel, even if it was taking him away from his mare. One thing I will say is once he knew he needed to watch me it took his mind off of the mare, and he was silly in love over that mare.

Like I said, take it for what it is worth. I am not a trainer, I just muddle through, like the rest of us.

Good luck, I'm anxious to hear what works for you. :)

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Great photos of your area. I love the roadrunner. We have them around here, too, and saw one right after we moved in about 5 years ago, but it's rare to see them in the mountains. They are mostly down in the Rio Grande Valley where the winters are mild.

Your new strategy sounds like a good idea. I use treats quite often in training my mare. I've even used them for spooky trail moments when I'm on her back as a distraction. Some horses are very food motivated and I don't see any problem with using treats for training as long as the horse is always polite about taking them.

~Lisa

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

fernvalley01 - I remembered your comment today about the dumb luck as I watched this woman's husband drag race his motorcycle up and down our street for an hour, going probably 60 mph in 35 mph zone. No wonder he "got hurt bad" when someone backed out of their driveway. It was probably his fault.

The woman was telling me about another neighbor who didn't "learn her lesson" when she got back on a horse that bucked her off, and it bucked her off again. Well, her husband obviously didn't learn his lesson either because he was drag racing his motorcycle without a helmet.

I contemplated calling the police and encouraging them to give him a ticket. All it takes is one person to ruin the peace and quiet of an entire neighborhood.

And the irony in all of this is that the woman has the same name and is the same age as my nosy neighbor at my old house, and they both take walks up the street and turn around in front of my house several times a day. My karma is stalking me. Ahhhhhh!

Caitlin said...

Those gates are interesting and unlike anything we have out here. Do the horses go over them there in the low part? I can definitely see that being a scary thing.

Now... this rider who got back on a horse that bucked her off... maybe it's just the way I grew up but that's what I was told you were supposed to do. I understand that horses are sometimes dangerous but I hope that something that anyone who has one realizes.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Caitlin - I agree. I was kind of taken aback by this lady's attitude regarding someone who gets back on a horse that bucks them off. The lowest part of these gates is wrapped in rubber padding so that if the horses clip them with their hooves while stepping over, there is minimal or no damage to the hooves and the gate. The rubber on the gate closest to my home got torn up somehow, and the city came out and replaced it. The actual fence is just wire, so horses with poor eyesight don't see the wire and try to go around the gates sometimes.

Strawberry Lane said...

Love the Roadrunner!! And the sunset photo is just beautiful! Now, about your neighbor. She needs to concentrate on her husband and his motorcycle. You have the patience of the saints. I'd probably pass on any further drama stories from her. But that's only my two cents and not worth a penny more.

achieve1dream said...

Um.. that neighbor sounds like a piece of work. I hope she's far enough away that you can avoid her. :)

That roadrunner picture is awesome! Not poor quality at all lol. They are very hard to take pictures of. Mine always turn out horrible.

Try using your clicker for the walks away from the pasture. Once you refresh in their minds what the click means you can click for any sign of relaxation, floppy ears, soft eyes, cocked hoof, etc. I've never tried it with separation anxiety before, but it should help because it's so precise and once they get good at clicker training they will try their hearts out to figure out what you want. Good luck!