Thursday, January 28, 2016

Two Horses in One Day

Rock was lying asleep on his side when I was ready to ride, and I didn't have the heart to make him get up.  The neighborhood was quiet, so I decided to take advantage of the lack of activity by riding in my own arena.  As long as the creeper didn't lurk around down in my arroyo and pop up out of bushes, we should have been fine.

I expected that I'd be riding more often in my arena after the next door neighbors moved out and I no longer had to contend with their barking guard dogs, but for some reason, I just never used the space.  I suspect now that I'm planning on riding there more often, someone with barking dogs will move in next door.

I've been running into trouble on both the trails and in my back yard these past few weeks due to the population explosion.  I'm trying to expose the horses to all the people and their activities while I've got the horse on the end of a lead rope, because I just have more control of my horses from the ground.  I know other people who have said they feel safer in the saddle, because they have better control there.  It's just that I've done so much ground work with the horses that they will respond to cues I give them using my hands and the rope.  It's never happened, but if a horse should get away from me, at least it will run back to the barn with just the lead rope dragging behind it, which is better than the horse dragging me behind it.

If you've seen some of the reactions that Bombay and Gabbrielle have to other equines on the trail, you'd understand why I wouldn't want to be in the saddle with all that going on.  I've learned that Bombay and Gabbrielle are terrified of mules, gaited horses, and galloping horses, and there a lot of them out there on the trails this time of year.  Rock and Lostine are the only horses who can keep their wits about them under those circumstances, and I can't ride Lostine anymore, and I don't want to ride Rock exclusively.  The other horses need attention too.

So I rode both Bombay and Gabbrielle in the arena, spending time getting used to how they feel, and finding out what they need to work on.  Bombay doesn't need to work on anything other than focusing.  He'd occasionally pop his head up to look at something off in the distance.  Amazingly, Gabbrielle was more confident riding around the arena, but she needs fine-tuning.  I'd lay the outside rein on her neck and remove it as soon as she started turning, but she'd keep turning in a circle even though I took the pressure off.  I don't need a reining horse.  So, I had to straighten her out and figure out a way to communicate when she needs to stop doing what I asked.  With Bombay, he was cognizant of every cue I gave him including the release, so he'd stop turning at the release and I could make very minor adjustments in his direction.

Love this saddle...

I wish it fit Rock, because I could probably ride for much longer on him if it did.  I loved how Bombay instantly collected himself on a loose rein when we moved off...

But then there were those moments when he thought he saw some movement off in the distance and forgot the task at hand...

Such a nice vertical face in the shadow below...

Bombay looks so pretty when I ride him because he keeps his ears forward.  Gabbrielle is always listening by turning her ears back toward the rider, which is a good thing, but not very pretty.  She is the queen of pinning her ears over every little thing.  I say, "Ugh!  Sour face.  Yuck!"

But it doesn't influence her to try to look pretty.  She does her own flexing when you mount...

It's kind of silly, because the point of flexing is in part to let the horse know that we don't move out the second the rider mounts, and it is a way for the rider to check the steering and make sure the horse is paying attention to rein cues.  Since Gabbrielle does it without any cue beyond mounting, the rider really has no clout in the matter.  She's a horse who likes to call the shots, but I don't want to stop her if it's all good behavior.  She's kind of like the child prodigy in a classroom who takes over teaching because she knows more than the instructor.

I've been reading a book on rider fitness, so I did some exercises from the book on both horses.  They were really good and didn't assume that I was asking them to do anything.  They stood still while I did my workout in the saddle.

I need to develop a core.  My mid-section is so weak.  Bombay has the smoothest jog on earth and I could not keep my own butt in the saddle because I had no abdominal muscles.  I'm thinking this may be a good time for me to start taking equitation lessons again.  I just need to find an instructor who understands the issues of aging, and who won't push me to the point of me being in pain or having to do something that my body is not flexible enough to do.

I can't even get a full night's sleep anymore because I have no padding left in my shoulder and hip joints.  When I lay on my sides, I'm woken by the pain.

In this picture, Gabbrielle is facing the coyote den...

Every night one or two coyotes lay there and watch me do my chores.  As soon as I lock up the tack room, they yip and howl to find their friends, and trot off to go see them.  One night there were a bunch of coyotes around barn making a hellish racket, and I went out on the porch to chase them off.  I was surprised how my horses were all just standing around sleeping throughout the commotion.  You'd think if a pack of howling coyotes playing around the barn or catching rabbits and eating them doesn't bother my horses, then they should be able to handle mules, gaited horses, and galloping horses.  I am so looking forward to getting them over this latest hurdle.

7 comments:

Horseyhabit said...

What brand is your saddle? I've got an arab tree western for my arab, but it does NOT fit him for squat.. :/

(I ride dressage, but I bought the saddle for trail riding.)

Thanks! :)

Linda said...

Good for you with all the riding! I do think the lessons are a good form of core strengthening. I'd rather do that than aerobics any day. I had an instructor who would have me ride in the two point position with my hands in the air. It was a great work out for balance and building core muscles. I still do it when I get out and ride in the arena...which hasn't been for a long time because of the mud and snow.

Crystal said...

Funny you said that about Gabrielle being the teacher, she seem like she's smart and trying to out think ahead everything. Nice to get a couple good rides without any interruptions.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Horseyhabit - That is a Circle Y Mojave saddle with Arabian bars. It fits all of my Arabs except Lostine, who is swaybacked and would require a custom saddle.

ellie k said...

Maybe you need to get a good crop of poison ivy started where you see the men popping out of the bushes.
I have been keeping up with your blogs but just now getting to feel somewhat normal, maybe. I never knew it was possible to miss someone as much as I miss my husband or to have my heart so heavy at times. I think I turned a corner and maybe healing a bit.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

ellie - I hope you are on the upswing. I know it can feel like you are walking around in a completely different atmosphere from everyone else when you are grieving.

achieve1dream said...

I need to start working on my core too! It's so weak. It's always been my weakest point and it's the most important for riding. I think that's why my riding has always been mediocre.

I'm glad you got to ride both of them and that all in all they were good. I hope your next neighbors are quiet and considerate or better yet work out of state for six months out of the year haha.

That saddle looks soooo comfortable!