Friday, April 12, 2013

Mr. Spooky Gets a Taste of Real Danger

The horse trainer wanted me to ride the horses out on the trails alone and report back to her on how they did for me, since they've been doing well for her lately. It had been a while since I rode Bombay out there, so I gave him a try. He was sticky-slow on the way out and I had to use a lot of leg to keep him going, but that's way better than having to use a lot of rein to slow him down like before.

There was a coyote on the trail ahead of us. It stood there watching us for several minutes while we approached, so perhaps that's why Bombay was hesitant. You can sort of see the coyote in this picture on the trail near the horizon.

I had taken a close up, but it came out blurry, so it's not worth posting.  We took the trail with the random pet graves alongside of it.  Some are marked with stick or wooden crosses, others are just piles of stones.

Bombay relaxed and walked at a normal gait once we got out a ways.  He was good about stopping the second I said whoa, and standing still for me to take pictures.

Another grave...

Eventually, he figured out the sound of me turning off the camera, and he started walking without a cue, so I had to stop that behavior.  I like that my horses are so smart and catch on to patterns right away, but sometimes that works against me and results in bad habits.

We walked past a bush in which I could see a bunny crouched down inside, as well as a couple of quail.  I started talking to the bunny, so that Bombay wouldn't spook if they busted out of the bush.  They didn't, but right after we passed that bush Bombay spotted something else that I didn't see, and he did a big, neck-wrenching spook.  It looked like he was eyeballing a root of a tree.  My trainer doesn't think we can work the spooks out of him, so we just have to ride them out.  Fortunately, he does spook in place.

On another occasion, a dove cooed right next to us and almost flew right into Bombay's neck, but turned and flew right next to his face for a few feet, and he didn't pay any attention to it.

He walked, and I mean WALKED, down every embankment and all the way home.  Not a single jig or unwanted trot.  We were moseying along and I was thinking about how my trainer has helped my horses be so much better behaved on the trails.  I was so deep in thought that I only half paid attention to the odd noise on our left.  Bombay wasn't concerned, so I figured it was just another bird in a bush.

But then I heard the noise again and my hair stood on end.  I looked down and we were walking past a 3-foot long rattlesnake.  It was giving off these tentative little rattles to let us know it was there.  I said, "Oh (bleep)!" and kicked him up to a trot to get him out of there.  He instantly responded.  I was so proud of him.  I think he knew he was in danger, but he stayed calm and followed my directions.

It was a good thing my husband opted not to walk with us.  The snake was next to the trail on the other side of bush, so we couldn't have spotted it ahead of time.  When I walk, I beat the bushes with my walking stick before going through any narrow passes on the trail, but I don't have that option when riding.  I'd feel terrible if one of my horses got bit on the leg because I wasn't paying attention.


Cindy D. said...


Marissa Rose said...

Wow! Apart from the snake, that sounds AWESOME!!!!!!

Crystal said...

Oh sounds like a good ride, til the snake! scary!

lytha said...

proud of bombay! baasha would not have done well with those piles of rocks. gravel piles and rocks out of place always bothered him.

my donkey spooked today for the first time, an actual spook and bolt! she saw a blackish red squirrel, perhaps her first one? it was bounding along the pond area in little leaps and bam, donkey was outta there! i laughed at her and she stopped.

Cheryl Ann said...

Sounds like Bombay has made a lot of progress, even with the snake! Good boy!

redhorse said...

You and Bombay are doing fantastic!

fernvalley01 said...

Good boy Bombay!! scary about he snake!

allhorsestuff said...

I Adore The Fact You Now Can Ride Into The Vast Outdoors, Right From Your Property!!!
Good Work! Bombay, You're Star!

Guess Those Snakes(Scarey) Are A Negative, In Your New ,New World Of Positives.
Its Very Beautiful There.

nikki said...

So excited for you and Bombay! It's so nice to be able to enjoy a relaxing ride without fighting with your horse to slow down or not take off with you. Could do without the rattler though. Yikes!

achieve1dream said...

What an AWESOME ride (well aside from the snake)!!!!!! I'm so proud of you and Bombay! And I'm sooo happy you found a trainer who was willing and able to help you. :D