Saturday, May 4, 2013

Saturday Morning Trail Ride

I took Bombay out on a Saturday morning trail ride, knowing that there is a lot more activity on the trails over the weekends, and knowing that he gets uber-excited over the tiniest things, especially over seeing other horses around.  He was a bit of a handful, spooking while I was just hand-walking him around our property to tighten the cinch a little at a time, and sticking his head straight up in the air looking around nervously.

As a last minute thought, I tried lateral flexation exercises from the ground, and it was a good thing I did, because I could not pull his head around for anything.  He was frozen in fascination looking at nothing that I could see off in the distance and me pulling on his head was just like a fly landing on his shoulder.  He completely ignored me.  That told me I had no steering, so I had to do some groundwork to get his attention on me.  I suspect he saw, heard or smelled horseback riders out in the desert.

He was obviously expecting to see something that made him nervous out there, because he balked all the way up the driveway.  I kept pushing him and pushing him forward with my legs, praying that a car wouldn't come up the street right when we're about to cross, because I didn't want to have to stop him and lose our momentum.  I got lucky, and on the way up the trail head a bicyclist crossed our path on a trail ahead of us, but Bombay didn't react, so it definitely wasn't the man on a bike that he was worried about.

He was hard to control throughout most of the ride.  It's not that he was out of control crazy like some days in the past, but it was that he wasn't listening to my cues, so I had to use a lot of leg and rein to get him to go in the speed and direction I wanted.  I stopped him so I could take a picture of a fire in the distance...

...and he just kept walking off without me cuing him, so I gave him a tongue lashing.  I guess my tone of voice did the trick because he waited for permission before walking off again, and even questioned me when I did give the cue just to make sure he heard me correctly.

At the halfway point when he knew I was about to turn him onto the trail that takes us home, he got excited again and started having problems containing his speed while going down hill.  I checked him with the reins and he responded by throwing his head in the air to evade the bit.  I wasn't in a location where I could circle him, so I gave him another stern verbal warning to W-A-L-K, and he did.  But I had to keep up those warnings in a threatening voice for him to remember on every hill.  Of course, as soon as we got home, he fell asleep...

Then he removed Gabbrielle's fly mask and the two of them dunked it in a water trough.  I fished it out during feeding time and tried putting the wet mask on Gabbrielle's face.  I did it a couple of times before, and this time she wasn't having any of it.  She threw her head as high in the air as she could to evade the wet mask, so I worked on lowering-the-head training, which was successful until I got the mask near her face.

Then I had to just shove her head down and pull the mask away as a release to get her to stop throwing her head so high in the air.  I know that pushing the head down, rather than waiting for the horse to drop its head on its own, goes against this type of training, but I'm sure I would have been there all day waiting for her to willingly drop it and I didn't have all day.

I figured that at some point she would get tired of not being able to eat her lunch, and just give in, but she was stubborn.  After about a 15-minute battle that included her running around the paddock to get away from the mask, she finally let me rub the wet mask on her face and ears, then I was able to get it on her face and she was able to finish her lunch.  She needs to know that she can't get out of wearing that mask by trying to hide it in the water trough.  I don't want to pay an outrageous vet bill because she has an eye infection caused by flies.  You can see them crawling all over Bombay's eye in the picture above.  Flies are very aggressive here.

While I was trying to get the mask on Gabbrielle, a coyote came up out of the arroyo and took a dump right in front of me.  I pointed at it and said, "Hey you!  Don't poop on my property!"

It just stared at me.  Then, much to my shock, it threw its hind legs up over its head, and dragged its dirty butt along the ground.  It decided that dirt didn't make it much cleaner than it was before, and it did the same thing across the length of the grass we are growing on the manure pile.  Yuck!  Bunnies eat that grass and the coyote was using it as toilet paper.  I have to admit that I was laughing pretty hard, though.  I've seen dogs drag their butts across carpet, but I've never seen the hind legs come completely off the ground like that.  I wished I had a video camera.


Cheryl Ann said...

Don't they drag their butts when they have worms? I know one of the ranch dogs does it constantly...

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Yeah, I meant to mention that it probably has worms. Yuck.

gowestferalwoman said...

or its releasing its anal glands on your property...lucky YOU?


achieve1dream said...

Yeah dragging the butt is usually a sign of impacted anal glands. I grew up thinking it was worms too, but I learned differently when I worked at the vet clinic lol. We got a LOT of impacted anal glands in there for some reason. Yuck!!

I'm glad you got to go for a ride, but I wish Bombay had been more pleasant. Chrome was in a similar mood yesterday. Dork. Maybe he will be better next time. :)