Friday, August 22, 2014

Road Apples and Broken Brakes

We got another cloudy morning and took advantage of it.  I was riding Rock in his Renegades, so there were no limitations on where we could go.

In the summer heat, I've been sticking close to home in case the horse or I are overcome by the heat, but it was cool enough this morning for us to venture beyond the roads.  We crossed the busy road, which is a little less busy in the summer.  Not a whole lot of motor homes or motorcycles to contend with, anyway.

We saw a couple of cars off in the distance and began crossing -- something both horses have done many times before.  However, Gabbrielle, who was in the lead spooked over some writing in white paint next to the white line.  She refused to cross the white line because of it.  I was watching P.S. work her through it, and in the meantime I was watching these cars getting closer and closer.  There are blind dips in the road, so unless the driver's attention is on the road way in front of them when they rise up out of one of these dips, they won't see a couple of horses in the road until it's too late, and the speed limit is 45 mph.

Just when Gabbrielle got over her hesitation and finished crossing the road, I cued Rock to finish crossing, and he wouldn't budge.  I hadn't worn my spurs nor brought a riding crop, and I had loop reins.  I had nothing to spur him on with other than the slap of my hand on his rump or the saddle strings.  I saw the cars much closer and my heart skipped a beat.  I kicked him repeatedly, and he finally lurched forward and walked inch by inch as slowly as he could across the street.  Once on the shoulder I turned back to see the first of the two cars whiz behind us and run over a trail of Rock's manure that he deposited while crossing the street.  He was pooping in the middle of the street!  That's why he didn't want to move.  And I thought it only made sense to train show horses to keep moving while they poop!  Now I have a good reason to teach my trail horses to keep moving while they poop too.

We had to maneuver around a lot of cholla balls, which was a struggle with Rock.  He's so resistant to cues right now.  But it was good practice.

We rode for a while, and turned back when the angry clouds finally started getting closer.  We tend to get lost when we go to the other side of the busy street.  There are some trails that end at cliffs, so we try to avoid those.  Then on the way back we always manage to choose the wrong trails and either wind up at a cliff with nowhere to go, or we wind up having to go down into deep, rocky arroyos, which is no fun when you can barely steer or slow your horse.  Once we turned the horses for home, Rock wanted to fast-walk his way back while in the lead.  I kept trying to get him to slow down or stop and wait for Gabbrielle to catch up, but his mind was on a one-track loop.

Usually, if I tip his nose to the side he slows down and I release the rein, but nothing was working, so I tried to circle him closer to P.S. and Gabbrielle.  That's when his bad attitude kicked in, the ears went back, the tail swished, he hunched his back up and began crow-hopping in the circle.  I tried releasing him to go straight once he slowed down, but then he sped way up, so I'd have to circle again, and with each circle he got cockier.  I've been on enough bucking horses to know the signs right before it happens, and Rock was planning on dumping me in the dirt and running for home as soon as I gave his head back to him.

So, I tried the one-rein stop, only he wouldn't stop.  He kept doing tight turns.  I made the decision to dismount as soon as he did come to a stop.  I had no whoa with that bitless bridle and we were approaching the street.  I couldn't risk him being out of control on or near the street, so I led him home.

You can sort of see his trail of manure in the street near the right side of the gate.  He pulled on the reins all the way home, so I had to keep correcting him to make him walk quietly beside me with some slack.

Once home, I put him in a bridle with a bit and rode him around for a while.  He was way more responsive in turning and stopping.  We can go back to the bitless bridle once he brushes up on his manners, but for now he has proven himself untrustworthy.  The next time the horse trainer goes out on the trails with P.S. and Gabbrielle, I'll ask him to ride Rock in the bit and work on his gas pedal, steering, stopping and backing.

Gabbrielle got a bath today.  Isn't she gorgeous?

My horse trainer makes these Stay-Put Halters.  They are so nice looking that I'm ordering one for myself.  If anyone is interested, let me know and I will find out how much he charges to ship them to people.


fernvalley01 said...

Smart to go back to a bit until he gets his head back on straight.I love that picture of Gabrielle!

Sam said...

Have you tried his reins? I use them - very soft and comfortable and he can make them in any size you ask for. We've also dyed them in the past! :)

I was hoping you got out yesterday - I had to work but the weather was so gorgeous.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

fernvalley01 - Thanks!

Sam - I might just order some reins too once I figure out the size I need. There's one pair my last horse trainer made for me that turned out to be too thick and short, so I've been trading reins between bridles depending on which horse I'm riding.

HHmstead said...

Love Gabrielle's photo! Road crossings are always tricky - but pooing on the way across?!

achieve1dream said...

Gabrielle is so gorgeous!! That halter looks really pretty on her. Why is it called a stay-put halter? What does it do?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

achieve1dream - I don't know why it is called the Stay-Put Halter. It doesn't move around on the face. Maybe that's why. Also, the material stretches a little bit, so maybe it helps horses who pull back to stand still?

achieve1dream said...

It not moving on the face makes sense! I bet that's what it is. It sure is nice looking.