Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Urge Fulfilled

I've had the urge to ride, but not in such intense heat.  Today we got another one of those cloudy mornings with a bit of a breeze, so it was as perfect as it gets for a July trail ride.  Right when P.S. and I were tacking up our horses she pointed out something odd moving up the street toward us.  It turned out to be one of those trucks with a hydraulic lift that picks up and drops off storage units.

My neighbors have been packing up to move out of state, so these trucks come by to drop off empty storage units and pick up full ones for them.  The timing of this truck's arrival couldn't have been worse, because we would have to ride right past it while it's picking up the crate.  We decided we should hand walk the horses past it before mounting so that we wouldn't have to deal with any massive spooks or bolts while in the saddle.

Fortunately, the truck driver left with a crate before we got out there, but there was still another crate in their driveway, so we just stood around with the horses in front of my neighbor's house while chatting, and the horses seemed to pick up on our lack of concern over this large box that didn't normally inhabit that location.  My neighbor spotted us and came out to let me know what was going on with the move.  He mentioned that a truck would be coming by to pick up some of their vehicles to ship across the country to their new home.  I asked when the truck that was picking up and dropping off storage units would be back, and he said probably in an hour or so.

So, we mounted up and headed out, and right when we were passing his house, he dropped something heavy that sounded like a toolbox, and both Rock and Gabbrielle didn't even look.  It was awesome.  Usually, if we are riding across the street and the neighbors are working or socializing in their driveway, our horses do a lot of gawking and balking.

Gabbrielle backed into a bush to scratch herself.  I love the shots my camera gets of Rock's rump when I look over my shoulder.  His stripe is so beautiful.  Sometimes I wish I could ride him backward just so I can look at his butt the whole way.

Most of my horses have very little neck reining training, so I'm in the habit of riding double-handed, but Rock does neck rein now.  I just need to remember to change my steering habits.

He was on autopilot, behaving well and making wise decisions, so I just let him call the shots.  However, I did have to get in his face a bit on the hills.  He wants to fast-walk down them, and his haste causes him to stumble over rocks and throw me off balance, and then once he hits the bottom of the wash, he breaks into a trot and races up to the top of the hill on the other side, usually right when I'm trying to get a foot back into the stirrup or readjust myself after a stumble.  Most horses do that, so you have to train it out of them.

Sometimes I will halt him at the top of a hill before descending into a wash and just make him be patient and wait.  That seems to help.  Horses form habits quickly, so he actually stopped himself at the top of a couple of hills and waited for me to cue him forward.  He did stop one time to gawk at a horseback rider off in the distance.

As we were approaching our street, I saw what looked like a truck up high on the back of a flatbed truck.  I thought the truck had arrived to pick up my neighbor's vehicles, so I decided to dismount and walk Rock past his house rather than to have the truck driver make some loud noise right when we were passing by in the saddle.  P.S. dismounted too.

It turned out that it was just a truck that someone parked on some high ground next to the gate we needed to ride through.  The horses probably would have been okay with that if we rode past it.  Oh well.

You can see that both Gabbrielle and Rock were half asleep as we led them back home.

My horse trainer has been working with P.S. and Gabbrielle, and I got the chance to watch a little bit of a rollback and side passing lesson along the fence yesterday.  Gabbrielle is very one-sided when it comes to side passing, because of one shoulder being several inches lower than the other.  The horse trainer got on Gabbrielle to show P.S. how to get her foot way forward to bump the shoulder when it is lagging behind.

He discovered that Gabbrielle had never had anyone tap her shoulder with their boot before, and she hunched herself up into a ball and started dancing, spinning, and backing all over the place.  She looked like she wanted to rear, and we were scared for him, but he just kept on riding out whatever she threw at him, and he would not release that tapping on the shoulder until she moved her front end over and crossed one leg behind the other.

At one point she was just standing there quivering, and the leg of the shoulder he was tapping was visibly shaking uncontrollably.  I don't know what the big deal was, because we've tapped her on the shoulder with the stick while side passing her from the ground, and she gets tapped at the cinch and on the sides by boots all the time, but I guess it's just a different sensation when she's being tapped by a boot on the shoulder.

It was a really good lesson in horse training, because he said that a lot of people give up on the cue as soon as the horse panics or gets frustrated, or they switch to a different cue since the horse is confused, but if you want the horse to learn, you have to keep giving the same cue, wait for the right response, and then release the pressure.  That's why we need this horse trainer so much.  He can ride out those panic attacks, and he stays cool as as cucumber the whole time.


Sam said...

He's pretty awesome, isn't he? I'm hoping to finally get back in the saddle this weekend! :)

Monty and Harlow

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Sam - Yes, he is. I hope you get some nice weather when you do get back in the saddle.

Cindy D. said...

I rode this morning too, it was pretty awesome weather!

Crystal said...

He sounds perfect for her. And nice ride, my horses too seem to want to always trot up hills and I make them walk and work them butt muscles, haha

achieve1dream said...

I would want to stare at Rock's butt too. His dorsal stripe is so pretty!! It sounds like you had a nice ride. I'm glad the storage unit thing and the toolbox didn't scare them!