This time of year my horse moments only happen when I am alert enough to spot my windows of opportunity. I've literally got to catch the cold front before and immediately following a storm. It's easier said than done, though, because there are a lot of things I should be doing outdoors when I get a cool breeze, and those things compete with my horse time. I spent much of yesterday and early this morning weeding until my back threatened to not allow me to stand upright if I bent over to pull one more weed.
I wanted to either ride a horse or take one for a hand-walk on the trails. My back decided for me when I bent over to pull the laundry out of the washing machine. It spasmed and knotted up. I no longer had the flexibility to mount. On the other hand, my back probably couldn't handle having a thousand-pound horse pulling on a lead rope either. That limited me to either taking a walk by myself and hoping that will help loosen things up, or taking Bombay, and only Bombay, for a walk.
Rock still pulls and bumps into people when they lead him. I took Lostine for a walk the other day and she was a nervous wreck. One of those really quiet motorcycles that sound like a moped whizzed behind us, and she bolted. I had to pull her back to me. She was also moving fast out of nervousness, keeping the lead line taut the whole way. She has obviously been out to pasture too long. I'm not sure how Gabbrielle is. I've been letting P.S. handle her because I want them to work out a relationship and routine together without me influencing the horse to behave differently by handling her all the time. She still gets tons of hugs and kisses from me, but I kind of consider her to be P.S.'s project.
That leaves my wonderful, awesome, gentleman Bombay. Remember what a terrible time I had with him last fall trying to get him to simply walk calmly beside me on the lead rope in the desert? Well, now he is the most confident, happy go lucky, considerate trail partner a gal could ask for. Taking walks with him is like walking a perfectly obedient dog off leash. He just stays with me and rarely pulls, making him the prime candidate to accompany a woman with a bad back on the trails. Of course, I keep a leash on him, because I'm not confident that something bizarre won't happen to cause him to leave me in his dust.
Bombay was very good about staying at my pace. As you can imagine, I was ambling along like an 80-year-old woman. He quickly figured out that he could stop to sniff things along the way and sniff for a while before I'd get far enough ahead that he had to take a few steps forward to avoid putting any pull on the rope. He made sure that rope stayed loose.
There were mud puddles everywhere blocking our paths. You don't want to walk yourself or your horse through them because they suck you in like quicksand, and because they are dirty and I don't want to get bacteria in any open wounds. Bombay pretty much always has some kind of cut on his legs. I did walk him a little too close to one puddle and he sunk all the way up to his fetlocks in mud. With the feeling of being trapped and sucking noise it made, it was certainly an opportunity for a horse to panic, but Bombay kept his wits about him.
I had a lot of bad rides last spring, but I think the worst was when Lostine refused to go anywhere near a mud puddle. I simply wanted to take a picture of the puddle and then walk around it, and she had a full on panic attack. No amount of circling could slow her down, so I had to bail out of the saddle. I was happy to see that Bombay was wise enough to know there is nothing to fear about puddles.
Onward and back to his harem.