Monday, September 30, 2013


Head Banging

Rock is a heavy metal head banger.  You see, he had this knack of grabbing hay with his wide open jaws as I was delivering it to his food trough, and sometimes he would include one or two of my fingers or my entire hand in his enthusiasm to get that first bite of hay, so I had to insist that he turn his head away before I would approach his feed trough with an armload of hay.  Now he does this silly move in which he turns his head away, and the second I make a move for his feed trough, he throws his head back toward me.  I stop, he throws his head in the opposite direction, I step forward, and he throws it back into my direction.  So, to anyone watching, they would think that my horse was rocking out.  I think I'm going to have to teach him to go stand in a corner and wait with a dunce cap on his head until I say it is okay to approach the hay.

Swat Has Many Uses

While applying Swat around Bombay's latest bite mark, Gabbrielle kept chasing Rock around and threatening to kick him.  I hollered at her to quit, but she wouldn't listen.  She thought I was too far away to do anything about it, so I had to extend the reach of my arm.  All I had to throw at her was my jar of Swat.  I didn't want to hurt her, so I just tossed it in the air in her general direction to scare her off, but the jar landed right side up on her butt and stuck there.  She stood stock still with this horrified expression on her face that said, "Get it off!  Get if off!"

I walked up to her laughing and removed the jar from her rump, and had no more issues with her bullying other horses.  She even let the other horses eat the leftover hay.  I think it scared her that I performed some magic.  Now she knows that she can't get away with anything as long as I am around.

I'm a Big Girl Now

Of the three Arabs, Gabbrielle is the only horse who has not yet been ridden out on the trails without a buddy.  I couldn't ride today because I am still sore from riding that Draft horse on Saturday, but I could walk, so I suggested that P.S. ride Gabbrielle while I hike on the trails.  She did really well.  I had to extricate myself from Gabbrielle at first by walking around bushes and getting way ahead of her to show her that she wasn't on a lead rope, then we took turns with me walking in front, next to her, and behind her.

She was so relaxed that we took her on a trail she had never been on before, and we got a little lost, trying different trails to see where they would end up.  I think we wandered around in the desert for maybe over two miles and well over an hour.  Gabbrielle got a little snorty over a downed saguaro, so I walked over to the cactus and shook my finger at it saying, "Bad catcus!  Don't you hurt my horse."

I guess Gabbrielle thought it was funny, so she came right up to investigate it.  I put my hand on her face to stop her from sticking her nose on the cactus.  Then we went through an area with more brush and trees, and something got her worried.  There are always more animals in shade, so maybe she smelled something.  But she was still doing well, following me without trampling me.

Then we got to a fork in the trail, and she took off in the opposite direction from where I was going.  She started trotting and I knew I had to yell out instructions to help P.S. before she got out of earshot.  It helps to have someone remind you to pull the horse's head around when it is running off on you and ignoring your whoa cues.  CNJ did that for me last year, and probably saved me from a bad wreck on Bombay.

P.S. has experience riding for 20 miles at an extended trot, so I knew she could ride it out, but two things were happening that scared me.  Her saddle was slipping down the right side with each time a hoof hit the ground, and the horse was ignoring its rider.  Gabbrielle's right shoulder is much less prominent that her left, so the saddle naturally shifts in that direction.  P.S. did circle Gabbrielle, but the horse didn't settle down right away.  As soon as she got her head back, she wanted to take off again, so I took the lead rope and helped tighten the cinch after P.S. rocked the saddle back into place.

I looked around and realized that Gabbrielle probably recognized that trail as one that leads to home, and that is why she got so excited and took off.  I had to work with both Lostine and Bombay on not running for home the second we turn toward it all during the last riding season, so now we have to work on that with Gabbrielle.  I think she'll learn fast.  We didn't have any problems after that.  She's a happy, confident horse out there.

Special Delivery

My gut told me to check the mailbox last night.  I wasn't sure when the last time was that anyone picked up the mail, because I was sick and sore all weekend.  I found Rock's side pull bridle inside.  Yay!  Now I just need to stop feeling sore, so that I can ride him in it and see how it goes.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Love the Swat story! I guess she'll thing twice about bullying when you're around. And especially is you're armed.

Gabrielle seems to have enjoyed her trail ride. Good girl. I'm sure she'll get the hang of turning towards home and not rushing to get there.

So Rock is a head banging "rock star" it seems. They are all such characters aren't they.

Feel better and hope you get some good rides soon.

fernvalley01 said...

your horses sure are characters!