Thursday, October 3, 2013

Selective Hearing

Bombay has been a total pest lately.  He seems to be misbehaving to get attention, so I reserved this morning to take him out on the trails.  He's been doing everything from using me as a scratching post to refusing to go in his stall to blocking me from being able to clean up manure.  He thinks it is funny to run over to the next pile and stand on top of it.  When I spank him to get him out of the way, he then stands between me and the wagon so that I can't dump the manure into it.  Major pest.

He got especially troublesome after I rode Rock out on the trails with P.S. and Gabbrielle instead of him.  He did things like walking up behind me and then shoving me with his head really hard so that I stumbled forward and nearly fell down.  He's like a child who will get attention anyway he can, even if he knows it will get him into trouble.

When I tacked him up for our ride, he continued to misbehave, like scooting sideways to avoid the saddle and pretending like he was afraid of the water bottle he's seen a million times that I was trying to put in his saddle bag.  I lunged him in the round pen, and he had a case of selective hearing, only doing half of what I asked.  When I moved him up to the canter, he threw his head in complaint, and the loop reins flew right up over his head and came down in front of his feet.  I had to halt him quickly before he stepped through the loop and cut his own tongue in half.  I've been lunging horses in reins tied to the saddle horn for years, and never had that happen before.  So, I removed the reins from his bridle and finished the ground work.

I tied him to the trailer a while, but he wouldn't settle down.  He was still all amped up.  I took him into the arena and did a bunch of Clinton Anderson exercises.  Only when he showed me he was paying close attention to me did I get ready to mount for the trail ride.

Of course, right when I was about to mount, someone on an ATV came racing up to my backyard and paused on the bluff, looking down as if contemplating riding there.  Then the rider saw me and drove up and down the street behind my yard.  This is the problem with living in an area where there are snowbirds.  Things in the neighborhood never settle down or get predictable, because we constantly have different people moving in and out of houses around us, and they bring their habits and hobbies with them.  Just when we think we've trained every neighbor to stop driving, riding, hiking, shooting, or whatever on our property, we get new neighbors who start doing it.

I know we aren't supposed to compare our children to each other, but I sure got spoiled riding Rock yesterday.  Bombay was a handful.  I had to keep pumping my legs against his sides all the way out because he didn't want to walk.  He tried wiping me off his back every chance he got as he went through the gate and passed by trees.  Each time he turned his head to gawk at something, he'd veer off the trail and I'd have to wrestle him back on track.

Since he was being so looky and inattentive, I tightened the reins and made him collect so that he couldn't look at anything other than the trail in front of him.  When he went a ways and remained focused, I went back to riding him in a loose rein.

I purposefully took him along a trail that I knew had a fallen saguaro that spooks all the horses, except Rock.  I was trying to remember if Bombay had seen it before.  He was walking toward it without a concern, so I thought perhaps I had walked or ridden him past it previously.  Then he saw it out of the corner of his eye and blew sideways.  I pulled him around to face it.  Once he realized it was a plant and not an animal, he looked all around as if embarrassed that someone might have seen him acting chicken.

He finally settled down when we were almost home, but then the wind picked up, he looked over his shoulder, his head popped straight up, and he took off.  I had to stop him and show him that nothing was going on behind him other than some bushes swaying in the wind.  It's really hard to remain patient with him when he's had so many nice, relaxed trail rides in the same location, and he suddenly decides that everything around him is a threat.

As we were approaching the trail head for home, he asked if we could stay out longer.  I contemplated it, but my gut told me to go home now.  As soon as I dismounted by the barn, it seemed that every emergency vehicle in the county turned on its sirens and began racing around the neighborhood.  I turned on the news to see what was going on, but no information has come through yet.  The news is filled with the capital shooting story.  Some days are just crazy days and animals are more sensitive to it than we are.  Especially Bombay.  Oh yeah, and he managed to break two of my fingernails in the process of me working with him.  Troublemaker.


SheMovedtoTexas said...

I loooooooooove all his flea bits!

Mary said...

Sounds like you got a real work out,Phew! I wonder what had him so amped up. Glad you got the reins out the way before he hurt himself too, that was a close one. Even with all the distractions and noisy neighbors, I think you are living a very beautiful place. I can only imagine in my dreams having that much space around me. Maybe someday...Love the ear picture too, :)

On another note, why can't they just give math problems on these darn comment verification thingies, sometimes I really struggle...

fernvalley01 said...

seems like it ws just what he needed. Good to read how well you managed his isssues

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Mary - I took off the word verification and I'll see how it goes for a while. If I start getting a lot of spam, I'll have to turn it back on.

Once Upon an Equine said...

We live in a noisy world, don't we? It's most obvious to me when I'm on horseback. I haven't found anywhere to ride where there aren't surprises and loud noises. You handle them well. Bombay looks great. I like his little spots too. And beautiful blue sky there. You have a nice area to ride in and fortunate that you can ride out from your house.

Once Upon an Equine said...

I was getting a lot of "annonymous" spam; very annoying, nonsense posts with links to websites. So for a couple weeks, every day I checked the comments list and marked them all as spam. I don't get very many now. Occasionally I'll get an email saying "annonymous has left you a message on such-and-such post". But I don't see the message when I look at the post. Maybe there's some spam filtering going on, once I started marking the spam.