Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year, New Horse

Don't get too excited.  I didn't get a new horse exactly.  I just took Bombay for a walk and he acted like a new horse who someone else had trained, and he was a perfect gentleman.  It could have been because he was kept up all night with fireworks and loud parties and was tired, or it could have been because he developed a slight lameness, or it could even have been that my husband came along, but Bombay walked on a loose lead for a little over a mile with us.  We took him on some narrow trails and he was really good about keeping an eye on us so that he wouldn't step on us.

He'd occasionally gawk at something, and then check himself by looking back at me to make sure he was doing what I wanted and in a good position.  He almost made it the entire trip without spooking, but then he saw a burnt out log and jumped.  Of course, it had to be one he walks past every day.  The best part was that I didn't have to correct him with the end of the lead rope or the riding crop at all.  He didn't pull me along, but stayed with his nose even with my fanny pack of treats, and I made sure he was rewarded handsomely.

He actually seemed to enjoy the walk, sighing heavily several times.  He even stopped to sniff manure along the trail to see who else had been there, but fell back in line as soon as he realized that I was still walking.  It reminded me of the day I led Lostine up into the Eastern Sierra to the bench where I mounted her to ride, and realized that walking with her was like walking with a friend.   She just stayed by my side, but respected my space.  She wasn't jumping in my lap, stepping on my toes, or charging ahead.  It took a lot of visits to that place before she reached that point.  Unfortunately, the comfort level she had walking in the Eastern Sierra with me didn't transfer to the desert in Arizona.  She's been as unruly as Bombay has been on her walks.

Somehow I was expecting a gradual improvement with Bombay, but he seemed to turn around overnight.  I'm being realistic in knowing that horses are unpredictable and just because we had a great walk today doesn't mean he'll be the same or even better tomorrow.  But at least now I know it is possible and there's hope for him yet.  Once I'm confident that he's comfortable walking out there with me away from his herd on a regular basis, then I will start riding him out by myself.


fernvalley01 said...

Sounds like a nice walk. Good boy Bombay

Paint Girl said...

Yeah for Bombay!! They always suprise us, don't they? I go through a lot with Brandy, of the same things you go through with yours. She will spook at stumps on one trail ride then the next day won't spook at even one stump but at butterflies. Makes you wonder.
Hopefully this will be a sign of good things to come for you and your horses in the New Year!!

Cindy D. said...

YAY!!!!! Good boy Bombay!
Isn't it funny how they run from hot to cold to hot again?
Congrats on your milestone, that had to be a great confidence booster for you and him both. Very excited for you. :)

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Good Bombay! Baby steps!


achieve1dream said...

Go Bombay!!! I'm keeping my fingers crossed it's a continual improvement. :D You know by feeding him the treats you're building a positive association with walks and going out with you. That's a good thing and probably a big reason he did so well, so keep on rewarding his awesome behavior and he'll keep getting better and better I bet. :) And don't worry about the others. They will settle in too eventually. Chrome is a super laid back horse but even he was super jumpy and spooky when I moved him to our new home. The difference is that he's still in the same type of environment. Yours are in a totally different desert environment with all sorts of different plants and animals. It's natural that it would take a while for them to settle in. :) Keep up the awesome work!!!