Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Most Efficient Horsey Day

It was forecasted to possibly reach 100 degrees F today, but there was a nice breeze bordering on a wind, so when P.S. suggested a trail ride, I jumped on the opportunity before it got too hot.  I wanted to keep up with Gabbrielle's under saddle training, but P.S. was confident that we could do both.  I rode Lostine and she rode Bombay.  Both horses were relaxed, but as we headed up the driveway, some neighbor started up a power tool or engine that kept getting louder and louder.  It sounded like something was coming at us and I turned around to see Bombay running with his eyes popping out of his head.  P.S. stopped him, but then he was dancing in place -- a big, wound up ball of nerves.

Lostine was looking around nervously, trying to figure out which direction to run in once whatever was making that noise came into view.  I was more concerned for P.S., because Bombay can be like a freight train coming off its tracks when he's out of control, so I suggested we go back to the arena where she can trot and canter him around to get his ya-yas out.  She did, and he was a completely different horse by the time we set out toward the trails the second time.

I had to do a lot of mounting and dismounting with Lostine while P.S. worked Bombay, because Lostine was playing her usual games of backing up after I set the mounting stool beside her, and walking off while I'm still swinging my leg over her back.  The trail ride was really nice.  We took turns taking the lead.  Bombay didn't jig or try to run up and down hills.  P.S. said it was the best ride she's had on him so far.

Lostine had a moment when I was looking off in the distance enjoying the view, and she decided there was something she needed to fear.  I felt her getting tense, but I remained relaxed and ignored it.  The wind blew my hair into my mouth and I reached up to pull it out, only my fingernails scraped the fabric on the saddle bag on the way up.  Lostine reacted by tucking her tail between her legs, springing forward and running for home.  I said, "That was just me, you dufus."

She understood the disgusted tone of my voice and came to a stop, looked around, and then got embarrassed.

Once back at the ranch, I rode Lostine and ponied Gabbrielle around the arena.  I had ponied Gabbrielle off both Lostine and Bombay in the past, but it's been a few years, so we started out with me riding Lostine and P.S. leading Gabbrielle off her flank.  I made sure that P.S. wasn't between the two horses should Lostine decide to kick.  Lostine did pin her ears back a few times to warn Gabbrielle off, so Gabbrielle was resistant to walking near her.  I kept checking Lostine's attitude, and then took the lead rope.  I think once Lostine made the connection that I was leading Gabbrielle from her back, she settled down and realized that she no longer called the shots regarding who can and can't be in her space.

Then P.S. rode Gabbrielle around the arena at both the walk and the trot.  She rode her around cones too.  We're definitely past the problem with Gabbrielle moving backwards instead of forwards.  Now we are concentrating on collection and getting her lighter on the bit.  She's very resistant to tucking her nose in, so I tried waiting until she tucks her nose under rein pressure, and then holding a peppermint under and behind her mouth so that she would have to tuck her nose in even further to get the treat.  The idea was to break her of the habit of throwing her nose back out and popping her head up the second that P.S. released the rein pressure to reward her for tucking her nose in.  Obviously, releasing the rein pressure was not enough of a reward for this horse.  She needs to know that next time she tucks her nose in and gets her face perpendicular to the ground, there might just be a treat down there waiting for her.

We managed to finish everything by noon, so the horses got their lunch on time and we were able to get some tall, cold drinks and get out of the heat.


Crystal said...

I had to laugh when you said Lostine looked around and got embarrassed! I love it when horses do that!

fernvalley01 said...

sounds like a nice trail ride , silly old bird Lostine!

Karen Burch said...

I've given up on trying to get Ashke to go vertical. He pushes against mouth pressure and it has completely screwed up his forward motion. I am working now on getting him to move forward with no pressure on his mouth because he is fighting against the pressure of the bit so much.

I also think from reading your blog, that working with PS is getting better results with your horses than working with the trainer did. Just my opinion as someone outside looking in.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like you're making a lot of progress with the herd. Glad you got out for a trail ride before the heat got too bad.

achieve1dream said...

Yay for a great trail ride! I'm glad you both pushed through the initial sillies and enjoyed yourselves. :D