Monday, February 25, 2013

Just Me and The Queen

We finally got a nice day when I haven't been sick or busy and I had a hankering to go on a trail ride.  I knew I'd have to venture out on my own since it's not the horse trainer's day to be here and since my husband and friends are at work.  I figured if I ran into trouble, I could just dismount and walk back.  I'd rather have the options to ride or walk, and when I take the horses for walks without their tack, I can't ride.

I chose Lostine, because the trainer has Bombay and Gabbrielle's saddle set up for her leg length and Gabbrielle's girth.  Lostine has her own saddle and it was ready to go.  I led Lostine up the driveway while slowly tightening the cinch.  She helped me bring in the trash can without getting all uptight about it, so I knew her head was on straight.

Riding out, I usually stop before crossing the street, but I didn't hear any vehicles coming, so we just cruised on out there.  Much to my horror, my neighbor's day care van was racing up the street.  This lady and everyone in her family drives so fast and they are the biggest threat to someone getting hurt in this neighborhood.  I squeezed Lostine up to a brisk walk to try to get her out of the street without alarming her or hurting her feet on the asphalt by asking for anything faster.  I got her through the gate right when the van raced behind us, and Lostine took off at a startled trot.

I was able to slow her down, but she was quite nervous after that and moved at a fast clip on the verge of trotting throughout the trail ride.  I was thinking it was good no one was walking with me because they wouldn't have been able to keep up.  At one point she decided she wanted to turn back to home, but I corrected her and she listened to me.

I wanted to take a different trail home, hoping the unfamiliarity of it would prevent her from trying to race back the way we came.  I stopped her to take a picture and she kept trying to walk off, so we had to do the flexing exercise.  When I gave her her head and asked her to just stand while I take a picture, she spotted something that scared her, spun back toward the other trail and tried to run off with me.  I tried the one-rein stop, but she was resisting having her head pulled around.  I could only get a partial bend out of her, so we went in circles before she stopped fighting the rein pressure and let me complete the one-rein stop.

Her sudden jolt in the opposite direction slammed the inside of my thigh on the saddle horn.  Now I know how I've been getting all of those mysterious bruises.  I flexed her head and neck again, but she was still very concerned about whatever spooked her.  She wanted to run home.  The fact that she fought me on the one-rein stop worried me, because without that I would have no control.  The horse trainer says that if a horse is 100% responsive in the arena, you'll be lucky to get 70% out on the trail.  Lostine is only about 20% in the arena.  So, I dismounted and walked her AWAY from the house.

I delayed getting home as much as possible so that she wouldn't think that the way to get home is to get me off her back.  I had to do a lot of lead rope bumping to get her to stop pulling, because she was still nervous and forgetting her manners.  When we got home, I did not remove her tack and release her right away.  I lunged her and backed her repeatedly.  She kept trying to evade the exercises and I had to get stronger and stronger with my cues.  She eventually lowered her head in defeat, and then I untacked and released her.  I want her to prefer to be on a nice quiet trail ride with me on her back rather than at home with me on the ground.

The new cinch seemed to do a really good job of gripping and not sliding.  Granted, I only had a short ride, but when I dismounted, the cinch was fairly loose and the saddle didn't slip.  I'll try it out a few more times before giving a review of it.  The real test will be how it works with sweat.


gowestferalwoman said...

Okay. Put it this way; I would not want to wrestle you for the last can of peas in the grocery aisle because you are becoming a master at being a herd mare - CONGRATS!!! And I mean that sincerely. You are asking your horses for respect no matter what because you know you deserve their respect, and they are learning that in huge leaps and bounds...and responding the way they should in the end.

You be a tough cookie!

Cindy D. said...

I hate people who do not have the common sense to slow down when going past a horse and rider.
They have obviously never seen a horse go through the top of a vehicle before.

I have the same cinch that you have, and I love mine for that same reason, it holds even when it isn't really tight.

Sounds like you made the best of a bad situation.

achieve1dream said...

Stupid neighbor! We should strap her on the back of a horse and spook it so she knows what it feels like... grr!

I think you handled the situation well! I wish she hadn't been unsettled so you could have enjoyed the ride more, but you are making steps in the right direction!

Once Upon an Equine said...

Crazy drivers! I don't know why people race through neighborhoods, especially knowing equestrians are out and about. I'm sorry she set Lostine's nerves on edge at the beginning of your ride. But you did good handling her. And that's a nice picture. I lived in Mesa for 4 years and one of my favorite things about Arizona is that deep blue sky. Beautiful! (Which cinch do you have from Weaver?)

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

It's the AirFlex. I wrote about it and showed a picture of it in this post:

fernvalley01 said...

Great that you got out for a ride, too bad you wound up walking ,but you did not let her get around you ,well done

Anonymous said...

Why don't you just buy a horse you can enjoy? I've been reading your blog for years and you never seem to have an enjoyable ride.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Anonymous -- Good question. It's because I love my horses and three is my limit.

strivingforsavvy said...

Sounds like you are becoming much more capable with your horses and their shenanigans . Good for you and keep up the good work!

Once Upon an Equine said...

Thanks for the link. I think I have that cinch. I'm running over to your post right now.

Once Upon an Equine said...

I'm glad to know you like your new cinch. I've got that one and need to give it a 2nd chance. I've been riding Misty in the Weaver neoprene SmartCinch with a TackyToo neoprene pad. I wanted to get away from all that neoprene, so last summer I tried switching to felt-lined and fleece-lined cinches, but got a ton of saddle roll with both. Misty has low withers and a very round barrel; the saddle rolls easily. I bought the Weaver AirFlex cinch in the roper style, hoping the roper style might work well with her round barrel. But I tried it for the first time along with a new saddle pad that was fleece-lined. The whole saddle slid to her side when I mounted. So I went back to neoprene pad and neoprene girth because it works alright. But I will try the AirFlex again with the neoprene pad. The AirFlex looks like a cool cinch and I have high hopes for it.