Friday, December 19, 2014

Whoa Nelly

This afternoon I trail rode Bombay for the first time in a while.  You may recall that he was sick, possibly with an ulcer, before that he was just acting plain crazy and the best I could do was to ride him in the arena, before that it was just outrageously hot, and before that I was recovering from the knee injury he caused me when he took off running and bucking down the trail and I had an unplanned dismount.  I trusted Rock and Lostine to carry me with my ouchy knee, but not Bombay.

We began our ride out in front because Rock was moving as fast as a rock.

Bombay was looking all around with every muscle tense, searching for something to spook at.   I let Rock move in front to see if Bombay would relax, but it just turned into a battle to keep him off Rock's rump.

Rock was a good sport and didn't get irritated or try to kick, but I was getting plenty irritated with Bombay.  He had no whoa.

I noticed a lone rider on a gray Tennessee Walking Horse off to our right, but Bombay didn't.  I tried to keep him collected so that he'd keep trucking on, but Rock was behind us at that point and he got a total boner over seeing that horse, and he had to stop to gawk.  Bombay turned his head to try to figure out where Rock went, and that's when he spotted the strange horse.  The rider was at a stop waiting for us to get past, so that her horse wouldn't get too excited, but Rock was being stubborn about moving along and Bombay was getting high-headed, so the rider passed behind us.  I got tired of struggling with Bombay to keep him moving, so I said, "Okay, fine.  If you want to look, then look.  Other horses aren't going to hurt you."

We ended up riding kind of parallel with the other rider, so both Rock and Bombay kept on gawking like that was the most fascinating horse they'd ever seen.  Maybe it was the way it walked.  Gaited horses move different from what my horses are used to.

Probably the most frustrating thing about trying to keep Bombay off Rock's butt was that he kept hunching up his back, and I knew he was considering bucking me off.  Bombay has a lot going for him like athletic ability, strong hooves, a balanced conformation, good teeth, great sense of humor, he's creative in the way he plays, he's got a rocking chair lope and slow jog that are to die for, but the fact that he is unpredictable and can sometimes be downright belligerent makes him a difficult riding partner.

As we were headed down the main trail toward home, a large flock of birds flew up out of the bushes over our heads and around us.  It was unexpected, fairly loud, and it made me jump.  Both horses threw their heads up in the air and balked, but settled down the instant they realized it was just birds.

I was feeling good, thinking we were going to make it all the way home with me getting into a wreck when my husband said, "There are a bunch of horseback riders up ahead."

"A bunch?"  Images of a dozen riders from a local trail ride outfit popped into my head.  The last time I saw them, they were all cantering toward us and Bombay nearly flipped over backwards thinking the horses were stampeding because they were being chased by lions.  I knew that with how nervous and grumpy Bombay was the entire ride, I wouldn't survive whatever was coming toward us, so I hopped off.  His head flew up in the air because he spotted them right when I dismounted, so I was praying he'd hold still, and he did.  I was dismounting in some rocks and didn't want to sprain my ankle.

The rider in front was on a huge mule, and I know Bombay has never seen a mule before.  We stood off to the side of the trail because there was a bush preventing us from passing each other.  The rider on the mule asked me if everything was okay.  I said yes, that my horse just hasn't been out in a while and was on edge.  Bombay scuttled around to try to get away from the mule, and the mule jumped to get away from Bombay right when the lady was telling me that she was in the same boat.

Bombay held it together until the line of equines got behind him and then he flipped out.  I was so glad I dismounted.

He started jumping around on the lead rope, doing little rears, and he jigged and snorted all the way home after one long, last gawk...

At this point I feel safer riding Gabbrielle than Bombay, and she's still a fairly green horse.  Bombay has had more training than any of my horses.  I could blame all those pellets and supplements I had to put him on to fatten him up, but I think he's just a hot horse and he's never going to change.

It's disappointing to see him act this way because he was doing so well on the trails last fall and winter.  I thought we were finally over the hump.  I know I haven't ridden him in a while, but I'm just not willing to keep sinking money into his training and risking life and limb to work with him myself anymore.  I'm getting old and I just want to go for a nice, relaxing trail ride on a horse I can trust.  I know I've got at least two of them, maybe three.  Once Gabbrielle heals, I'll see if she's number three or not.  As for Bombay, I'm not sure what his future holds.


lytha said...

I can see how if I had another horse that was actually fun to ride on trails, instead of a hassle/freakshow, I'd want to ride that one.

Laura Lee said...

Is he good in the arena? I'm in a similar spot with my horse, rethinking what I will be doing with her. Originally I wAnted to do endurance but man. I dunno. My horse still has some issues in the arena but on the trail they are 20x worse. And dangerous. Are you thinking of selling him?

achieve1dream said...

I'm so sorry Bombay is being such a pain. I totally know how you feel. Chrome can be a bit crazy when he sees other horses (not sure how he would do if they were actually on the trail with me instead of in pastures since we haven't encountered that yet), but he calms down pretty quick after we pass them. If he was any crazier I would be second guessing doing all of this myself too. So yeah I can understand what you're saying about Bombay. I'd hate to see you sell him because he's such a cool horse and reminds me of Chrome, but I totally understand rehoming a horse because you can't afford them, don't have the time for them and their personalities don't work for you. That's why I gave Faran away.

Once Upon an Equine said...

I'm sorry you hurt your knee. Hope it heals fast. Have you thought of trying fundamental dressage (western dressage) lessons with Bombay? I was surprised how much Misty likes it. It may help Bombay relax.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Once Upon an Equine - You must have read my mind. The equitation instructor who Bombay did well for was just starting to train us in dressage when my boss told me he needed me to work 7 days a week, so I had to cut the lessons short. I don't think I'd hire an instructor, but might do self-taught dressage every once in a while with him.