Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pushing Ahead

After giving the horses their breakfast, my husband and I debated on how to spend the day.  We decided to scrap our original plans in favor of working with the horses.  I had lunged both Bombay and Gabbrielle the day before.  Bombay hadn't changed one iota despite me not working with him on a lunge line or under saddle in over a year.  Gabbrielle hadn't changed either, unfortunately.  She was still a handful, trying to take advantage of not being in a round pen by racing off toward the other horses with me on the other end of the rope commanding WHOA!  She was so sneaky.  She'd trot at a nice consistent pace around the circle and then as soon as she was pointed at Bombay and Lostine, BAM!  She was off like a bat out of hell.

I lunged them despite the sand still being non-existent in some parts of the paddock and three-feet deep in other parts.  My original goal was to spread it all out before working the horses in there, but I pinched a nerve in my neck shoveling the sand and didn't want to have to delay getting the horses into shape any longer.  I put splint boots on, knowing that the deeper sections of sand would pull on their tendons, and I didn't push too hard.  I aimed to get a consistent, calm speed out of each horse.

Today I decided to ride Bombay and play it by ear.  As soon as I led him out the gate and tied him to the horse trailer to tack him up, Lostine went nuts galloping all over the place, whinnying and bucking angrily.  I think she thought I was going to load Bombay up into the horse trailer and take him away for good.  I said to her, "Lostine, don't you know you are supposed to have arthritis?  I might just bring you out of retirement if you keep running around like that."

That seemed to settle her down.  She likes her retirement.  I rode Bombay in the paddock and my husband was thoughtful enough to take some pictures.  No one has taken pictures of me riding in years.

I could feel Bombay struggling to get through the heavier mounds of sand.  My neighbor came out on her patio to watch.  We waved to each other and she said she was trying to get control of her dogs so they don't spook my horse.  I thought, "Holy cow!  I have the most considerate neighbor in the world!"

The two Huskies were racing back and forth along the fence line, pouncing on each other and rolling like a ball of fur.  They'd go, "Huff huff huff," with their breath but never barked.  The horses seem to enjoy watching the dogs as much as the dogs enjoy watching them.  My neighbor said, "They don't get out to exercise much, because they are in the kennel most of the week."

I said, "Oh, they don't bother the horses, so they can run around all they want.  Don't worry about us."

She got excited and ran in her house to tell her husband that everything was fine.  Her husband then drove a load of hay down his driveway next to my paddock, and Bombay was fine with that too.  He tends to jump when unexpected noises come up from behind him, so I just turned him to face the Hummer as it came down the drive.

So, Bombay passed the first test of doing a good job ignoring the neighbors' activities.  My neighbor says, "Dogs know who's good and who's bad."

It's the same with horses.  My horses were so nervous around the neighbors at my old house because they knew there was something screwy about those people.  I suffered more injuries caused by them spooking my horses, but I don't think that will be a problem here at my new home.

After riding the "beach", my husband wanted me to ride the trails.  With this being our first ride in over a year, I was out of practice and Bombay would be entering unfamiliar territory with the mares calling out behind him.  It wasn't the best scenario, but I knew my husband was right in that we just have to do it and deal with the consequences.  We have good health insurance now, so it wouldn't be the end of the world if I got thrown.

For safety, my husband hooked up the lead rope to Bombay's halter and led us off the property while the mares went berserk, galloping around and screaming like they were being tortured having a horse removed from their herd.  Bombay's head popped up and I could feel his nerves buzzing beneath me.  Some lost tourist wound up on our dead end road and whipped around in a turnout so fast that we were all taken by surprise and Bombay jumped to the side.

He knocked my boot out of the stirrup jumping through the gate to the public land by getting too close to the pole, so I'll have to work on aiming him through it dead center.  We walked up and down the trails until he relaxed.  Each time we started to head for home, he'd do the jig, bouncing up and down, jogging in place.  I wanted to discourage that behavior even though it is pretty to look at.  We needed to walk back to the barn, even if jigging in place was actually getting us there slower than a walk.  So, we stayed out there until he moved at a relaxed walk toward the barn.  He needs to save the dancing for the dance halls.

We got all the way back there without anymore spooks, and then a butterfly flew past him and he jumped straight up in the air.  Really, dude?  Even though he was nervous on this run, I think he'll start looking forward to getting out and about more often.


Dreaming said...

Holy Cow! It sounds like a perfect ride, despite a few jumps here and there. Your pictures are great - Bombay looks quite relaxed and the mountains in the background are incredible!

Mikey said...

What a great day! Looks like a wonderful ride. I'll be emailing you, perhaps we can ride out together from your place? I know I'd love to do those trails horseback (I've only hiked out there)

Anonymous said...

So happy that you have some nice neighbors, it sure makes life a lot better. Every time you get to ride there it will get easier.

appydoesdressage said...

Congrats on finally getting back in the saddle! Here's to more saddle time in the future for you, looking forward to even more saddle updates :)

Reddunappy said...

So glad you finally got to ride!!!

fernvalley01 said...

Bombay is so pretty under saddle! well done and glad your hubby took pics

Paint Girl said...

You had me really laughing at the jumping at a butterfly. I am so used to that with my Arab Brandy! Butterflies and moths are super scary!! Believe me, I know!
Happy to see you back riding again!! Now that it is cooling down, I am sure you will get a lot more rides in!

Cindy said...

You have to watch out for those horse eating butterflies! I hear they are quite dangerous.
What a great lesson he learned that day! Well done.

sydney K said...

Way to go! I bet it feels nice to be able to ride again. Those butterflies come equipt with fangs sometimes.

Crystal said...

Oh how wonderful you are getting a chance to go riding again!!!

Katharine Swan said...

Look at all these people whose horses fear butterflies. Wow! I thought that was just Panama. ;o)

Rising Rainbow said...

We don't see butterflies here often so I don't know what any of mine would do, but you never know. Sounds like you and Bombay did well for your first time out in a new place. Very cool!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Way to go! It's great to see you back in the saddle! I'm glad that Bombay was trying to be on his best behavior for you, too. Must have felt so weird and a little nerve-racking after not riding for so long. But you look very relaxed and happy. Yay!


achieve1dream said...

Yay for riding again!!! It sounds like Bombay did fantastic all things considered. :D