Wednesday, October 28, 2015

From the Observation Point

This morning was cool and overcast -- a perfect trail riding day.  However, before the horses finished their breakfast, my body hit a wall.  I blame menopause.  I'm not in it yet, but my hormones are sure giving me the ride of my life.  Remember your first trimester of pregnancy?  Yeah.  That's how I felt.

Anyway, I was finally able to crawl out from under my quilt on the couch about an hour before the horse trainer arrived, so I cleaned up two days worth of manure and dog poop so that he could walk on my driveway and in my barn without stepping in any of it.  It's kind of fascinating watching someone else ride my horses.  I get to see how they should behave, and I get to see how a confident rider behaves as well.

I'm not scared when I ride, but I'm not brave either.  I'm relaxed until something shitty happens, and then I'm a ball of nerves.  My horse trainer rides horses that are much more challenging than mine, so the curve balls they throw at him are minor issues in his mind.  I think my problem is that I don't trust my own memory to remember what to do in a pinch.  As soon as I'm on a runaway horse, it's like I've never heard of a one-rein stop, never practiced it, never learned how to ride.  My mind just goes blank and my soul leaves the train station.

Anyway, for this training session, I met up with them on my bike.  The trainer was riding Bombay and I rode my bike toward them from a distance.  He said that Bombay popped his head up and sped up his gait a little bit, but he didn't try any evasive maneuvers.  It looked to me like Bombay was doing a bit of a jig, and I'd really like to get that behavior completely out of his system.  I'm not into bouncing.  But overall, Bombay did really well.  I pulled off to the side of the trail, and he didn't even look at me after that.  He kept his head pointed forward in the direction his rider wanted him to go.  He almost looked like the focused horse I've been dreaming of all these years.

I met Bombay on my bike when he was coming home from his ride, but with Gabbrielle, I was out on the trails doing figure 8s on my bike to meet up with her on her way out to begin her ride.  I could see her raising her head in the air like a cobra and hesitating, but the trainer remained relaxed and just encouraged her to stay the course.  Then we stopped and talked a bit.  I said, "It sounds like you'll be running into school buses up ahead."

He got this grin on his face and said, "Good!"

I said, "Sometimes I think you are too brave for your own good."

He explained that he has been riding Gabbrielle long enough that he understands her, and there's nothing she can dish out that he can't handle.  They spotted a coyote up ahead on the trail, but I was too low to the ground, so I missed it.  I rode my bike next to them for a while, and she snorted a little as my tires cracked and popped on rocks and sticks.  Then I got ahead of her and she followed.  The horse trainer was totally unconcerned.  In fact, he was texting while he was riding her.  She had her tail curled up over her back, her neck arched, and her nostrils flared, and he acted like this was just her looking pretty, but not being tense and potentially dangerous.

I turned and rode toward her on an adjacent trail, and she totally ignored me.  She was focused on where they were going, even though the trainer was focused on his phone screen.  I was impressed.  When he returned, he reported that he rode her across the street a few times, because she was rushing through the gates.  He took his hat off his head and she had a bit of a freak out over that.  He got her settled down and rubbed the hat all over her.  She would definitely fail the rain slicker test on a trail trial.  Then he rode her next to the school while school was letting out.  There were cars and buses and people all over the place, and she was fine with all of it.  However, she was spooking left and right at rocks and sticks on the ground.  Sigh.

I just don't get that horse's mentality.  She and I had such a strong connection when she was younger, but now we tend to butt heads a lot.  The pooping in my face thing seems to be an unbreakable habit of hers.  I've actually begun walking away and going into the house every time she does that to me since smacking her to get her away from me has no effect.  So, if I was about to feed the horses, she learns that feeding time gets delayed when she poops in my face.  I doubt she's making the connection, but it's my way of taking a time out so that I don't lose it with her.

It's 4:30 and I'm finally eating my lunch while the horses are waiting for their dinner.  I hope I feel well enough tomorrow to ride a horse.  I'm surprised I was able to ride a bike after the morning I had, but the fresh air did me good.

Moon shot taken with my Nikon CoolPix P600 with 60x zoom.


achieve1dream said...

Wow!! That moon shot is amazing!!!

It may take a little while but I bet she will get the hint that pooping is delaying feeding time. Just stay consistent and she will figure it out.

Wow I'm impressed he was on his phone while she was acting like that. When Chrome flips his tail I'm on high alert lol. That probably actually makes it worse but I can't help it.

Does it bother you that he's on the phone when you're around? That drives me crazy... There was one girl that was on her phone during our entire ride. I couldn't understand why she was even riding...

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

achieve1dream - I usually don't like it if I'm paying a trainer or equitation instructor for their time and they spend it on the phone with other clients, but in this case, he was texting sweet, sweet Christine who offered to ride her horse out to meet him so that Gabbrielle could meet up with a strange horse and learn to handle it in a mature manner. However, Christine got stuck in traffic, so it never happened. I do see strangers riding down the trail while texting or talking on the phone, and I too wonder if they are missing out on the whole riding experience. I suppose if they exercise their horse every day and have to multi-task to get everything done, that's the way it goes. But if you are riding with a trail buddy and socializing with someone else, that's pretty rude.

achieve1dream said...

Exactly!! Since it was Christine I won't hold it against him hehe!! That's too bad she got stuck in traffic. Maybe they can try again. :-)