Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Race Against Ridiculousness

In light of the past few days, I've been developing a bit of a superstitious mindset.  It seems that every time I have plans to go for a trail ride, something ridiculous comes out of left field and prevents me from following through on those plans.  So, today I decided to nip this pattern in the bud, go out first thing in the morning and just get a new rubber water trough to replace the rusted one that leaked, and then clean out hooves and go for a trail ride before something ridiculous can happen to stop me.

I got the trough, filled it up, but hesitated to treat hooves before riding since I knew I'd probably throw out my back in the process.  So, I rode first.  The septic company left flags in my front yard marking the locations of the septic covers and there was pile of torn up plastic lining sitting there with a rock on top.  I quickly led Rock past all of that before mounting to make sure that having the flags and plastic flapping in the wind wouldn't take him by surprise.  He couldn't care less.

While heading out, I realized that I felt naked.  Something was missing.  Then I realized it was my protective vest.  Oops.  With my superstitious thinking, I figured now that I was without my vest, this would be the one day I'd fall off my horse.  I grew up in the 60s and 70s when there was no seatbelt law, but I always wore my seatbelt anyway.  Except for this one day that I forgot, and that was the one day in my life I got into a car wreck and flew through the windshield.  So, you can see why I'm so paranoid about little changes in my routine.  However, I wasn't about to turn back to get my vest, because I figured something ridiculous would happen in the process and I wouldn't get to finish my ride.

Riding out was laborious.  He was walking so slow.  I had to whip him to get him across the street before a truck hit us.  I was riding as actively as possible in an effort to get his energy up, and nothing had any effect.  He came to a complete stop because he heard someone up ahead and the only way I could get him moving again was to turn him onto a different trail.  However, he heard someone on that trail too, so I just kept kicking and whipping and kicking and whipping.

I saw the person before he did.  There was man with a loose dog who looked totally surprised to see a horse on a bridle trail, and he quickly grabbed his dog and hooked it up to a leash.  Then he cut off trail and started cutting across the desert straight at us.  Rock suddenly saw them and stopped to gawk.  I didn't know what the man wanted, but my focus was on getting my horse to pay attention to me and keep moving, so that's what I did.

Then we ran into more hikers who were using their walking sticks to exercise their arms and waists by swinging them around.  Of course, Rock had to stop and gawk. Push. Push. Push.  Keep going, man!  You're killing me.

I'm telling you.  It's like riding an elephant.  I decided to get off the main trails just so that we could keep moving without distractions.  My arms, shoulders and neck were hurting from pulling his head back around.  He is far from being soft on the bit.  I literally have haul his head back so that it is facing forward, which is like dragging a hundred-pound hay bale.

I've seen a couple of videos in which horse trainers demonstrate just lifting the rein a little bit to remind your horse to keep it's head straight.  It's not working with my horse.

Once we started heading even remotely toward home, he picked up his speed and seemed more interested in the trail ahead, but then he started his next annoying behavior, which was to throw his head around in order to get his reins and lead rope swinging.  I'd swear he was trying to swing the lead rope up over the top of his head.  It was just plain silliness, but it made for a very rough ride for me, so I tried jerking one rein and jerking both reins to correct him, but it didn't work.  So, I just stopped his feet and made him stand still.  That fixed the problem temporarily, at least.

Then the next obnoxious behavior began.  He started running up hills.  Again, I stopped him and made him stand still.  He kept saying he didn't want to and walked off without permission repeatedly.  We spent a bit on time on that until he settled down and decided to yield the power of decision making to me.

I knew we had traveled a couple of miles and I wondered why my Garmin watch wasn't vibrating to indicate the mile markers.  I looked down and realized that I was in such a hurry to ride that not only did I forget my vest, but I never turned on my watch despite wearing it along with the heart monitor.  Oh well.

Then my phone dinged because text message came through.  I tried pulling it out of its holster to see the message, but Rock was taking advantage of every little bit of inattention and he was requiring two hands on the reins at all times.  So, I kept going and wondered what the message would be about.  A friend of mine said that she would text me if she was riding in my area, and if it were her, I wanted to catch the message before I put Rock away.  But Rock would not let me take a hand off the reins.  He'd either start running or he'd gawk or he'd throw the lead rope around and shake me around in the saddle.

When we got home, it looked like one of the ravens was trying to eat bugs out of Bombay's ear.  I took some pictures.

Then I checked my message, and it was a freaking marketing text from my wireless carrier.  I typed in "X" to say that I did not want anymore of these messages.  They immediately sent another message verifying that I opted out of the messages, but telling me that if I didn't want any marketing messages whatsoever in the future, I would have to type "Q".  Sigh.  So, I did that.

Rock kept pushing me with his head, and I kept pushing him away, and then he pooped all over the place and I realized that he was pushing me to tell me to hurry up and put him back in the barn.  Oh well.


Crystal said...

You need a middle of the road hoarse. Rock's so slow and the others so jumpy they need to mix. But not bad, no interruptions of the ride and no wrecks without your vest, I'd call it a win :)

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Crystal - You summed it up perfectly. A short time after that I took Gabbrielle for a walk and she flipped out when a gaited horse went past her. The tail curled up over her back and she was blowing loud warning snorts while dancing around. The gaited horse totally ignored her, but its rider was looking at me like, "What the hell you got there? A fire breathing dragon?"

achieve1dream said...

Isn't the balking so annoying???? I'll take it over bolting or jigging though. Chrome does the balking, turning around, etc. too. I was having to haul him to turn his head too so I started working on lightness in the bridle at home. I don't know if you saw the post where I mentioned it, but it involved walking around and putting light pressure on one rein at a time and holding it while not letting him stop until he turned in that direction. It worked great. He is so much more responsive to the bit now. He needs a refresher though because I get lazy and stop practicing it lol.