Monday, January 5, 2015


Rock was frisky on our ride today.  I think it was partly because I pulled him away from his breakfast and he knew that he had to get the lead out if he wanted there to be any hay left for him when we returned to the barn.  The weather also probably contributed.  We actually broke a sweat, only to be cooled down by icy breezes.  It feels like spring today.  Here's the steep drop off on our road I talk about where I keep running into my neighbors', or they kept driving into me and my horses...

As usual, the GoPro stretches out the image, so you can't tell how close it is.  I keep hoping that at some point they will nearly hit me enough times to learn to slow down because somebody or something might actually be in the road.  You have to assume that the road is clear ahead to drive as fast as they do over a blind hill.

On the way out, I saw a bunny acting strangely.  I wasn't racing to get away from us, but was hopping nearby us, freezing, hopping a little more, and freezing.  I was saying hello to it when we took a few more strides forward and I saw the problem.  A coyote was stalking it.  Both the bunny and the coyote were probably only about 5 to 10-feet away from us, and neither ran away.  I yelled at the coyote not to eat that bunny, and it just stared at me.  That's what I love about Rock.  I can yell at coyotes from his back and he totally ignores the commotion.  He feels comfortable around wild animals and people who act weird.

He was doing a lot of rubber-necking on the trail.  I'm sure he can smell the scents of all the hikers, horses, and dogs that are frequenting the area now.  No one was out there, but he definitely smelled whoever passed through most recently.  If I did spot a horseback rider, I was going to work on pushing him toward the other horse and not letting him hesitate as long as the other rider and horse were okay with it, but we didn't see anyone.  Most people are out on the weekends, but the weekends always seem to be cold or rainy or muddy.  And that's when I'm busiest.

Rock was moving at a good clip and kept breaking into a trot.  I'd tip his nose to the side with one rein to slow him down.  Then he got creative.  He started bobbing his head up and down, which caused the lead rope to swing back and forth and slap him on the neck, then he'd take off at the trot.  I'd slow him back down and he'd look at me as if to say, "But you were slapping me with the rope.   That's means go faster."

"Nope.  I'm not falling for that.  You were slapping yourself with the rope, Silly."

He gave up after a few tries since I wasn't going to fall for it.

I'm rolling an idea around in my head for a post about all the different training techniques out there to handle gawking, balking, and spooking, because so many of them seem to contradict each other.  I think it will give people a chance to speak up on what methods they believe in that have worked for them and their horses.  Stay tuned.


fernvalley01 said...

sounds like a nice ride, Rock sure has turned into a good horse for you just the steady eddy you wanted

achieve1dream said...

I'm looking forward to that post since Chrome does all three!! I'm glad the weather cleared up so you are able to ride!

Venom said...

We don't have the hills that you have to contend with -- what we have is mile after mile of bush lined gravel roads where people seems to think that 60mph engines ARE wildlife. *head pound*

Here we can request the county put up horse & rider warning road signs on either side of a place that rides out regularly.
OR you can buy and erect your own such sign (plenty on the net) on the edge of your property; I'd make it double-sided.

One last possible solution, at least for your neighbours who actually live there year round (even if you are too shy, doesn't sound like your husband is) why not make the rounds of your cul de sac, house by house, and ask for their attention, explain the danger they put you in, and request that they drive more cautiously.

I have explained it to people this way...
"You may think I am riding an experienced horse, but can you really tell one of my horses from another? I could be riding a green horse and need a little extra consideration. Think of it this way - if you saw a three year old on a tricycle riding on the side of the road, wouldn't you slow down and use extra caution in case that child falls or swerves unexpectedly? Horseback riders are entitled to ride beside or cross roads safely, and you just never know when there will be a problem so better safe than sorry.

Some quiet mention of how you would sue them into the poorhouse and beyond if they ever cause you loss or injury might be slightly over the top... threats best saved for after the fact which (if they drive like mature responsible people) should never happen.