Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Bombay Goes for a Spin

If memory serves me right, I recall having a great trail ride on Bombay last spring right before my leg issues got to a breaking point.  I enjoyed riding him so much that I took him off the market and no longer have him up for sale.  I think I rode him in the arena once or twice over the summer, but other than that, he's out of practice and out of shape.

I chose to ride in the round pen, because I'm seeing signs that the winter visitors who own the house overlooking my round pen will be moving in soon, if they haven't already.  Yesterday I saw a man digging a hole in their front yard.  I don't know if it was one of the home owners from Michigan or their next door neighbor.  He was acting a little sketchy, watching me drive up the street and pull into my driveway.  He suddenly disappeared when I got out of my truck.

Then this morning I heard someone pounding a sign post into the ground on their property.  The first thing they do when they arrive each fall is to install No Trespassing signs around their place.  I always find that to be amusing since they constantly trespass on my land.  Sometimes I wonder if the first thing they see when they get here are horse hoof prints, and they assume that I've been riding on their property since I'm the only neighbor with horses that they can see from their back porch.  But that couldn't be further from the truth.  I've told them in the past that I have no reason to ever need to go on their property.  I've got plenty of my own land, and the gate to the bridle trails is at the end of my drive.

It's hard working with the horses in the round pen once these neighbors arrive, because their house is so tiny that they spend every moment of the day outdoors, and every little move they make distracts my horses.  Sometimes I use their presence as a training opportunity, but other times I just want to ride.  Last year this one woman was hand painting the entire house over a period of a couple of months, and the horses were even spooking at her in the barn, because she kept climbing up and down ladders and popping up out of bushes.

So, I've got to use the round pen while I can.  We've been spreading manure in there...

All of last year's layer has dissipated, so I need to soften the footing again.  I'm trying to cover the side closest to the winter visitors' house, because they've mentioned to me in the past that they watch me dump my manure in the round pen.  I'm never sure what to say when someone tells me they've been watching me.  Should I tell them I charge admission?

The next topic was flies and smell, both of which were imagined on their part.  I know for a fact that all the flies on my property hang out around Bombay's eyes and on his sheath, not in the round pen, and there is no smell because the desert heat removes all the moisture from the poop as soon as it hits the ground.  I was waiting for them to complain that my round pen was ruining their view of the mountains since they complained about everything else, but they didn't bring it up.  It's a good thing, because I probably would have offered to build another 20-foot high hay barn there instead.  Anyway, I want to get that side of the round pen covered first, so that I don't have to deal with them watching me dump and spread the manure, and then coming over to comment on it.  (The other half of the round pen is hidden from their view by bushes and trees.)

Bombay was fine when I lunged him, but nervous as soon as I mounted.  He continually chewed his bit, which is one of the gentlest snaffles one can get.  I petted and praised him a lot until he took a deep breath and relaxed.

We did figure 8s.

Looks like I didn't have the reins tight enough.  My hand is behind my thigh, and his nose is barely tipped in.  Good thing he's super responsive.

Every once in a while he popped his head up to alert on something, so I had to get him back to work.  I definitely felt like we were starting over in his training.  It would have been easier if I rode in the arena where he was closer to his buddies, but riding in the round pen is the first step to getting rid of buddy sourness.  I'm sure he'll eventually get back to being the trail horse he was last spring if I keep this up.


Camryn said...

I've had people comment on the smell & flies. I point to the cattle across the road. Huge difference in smell for sure, and they produce so many more flies. One person thought it was my one horse causing the smell after the back filed had just been fertilized with manure. Plus we have two boarding barns that neighbor one another 5 acres away. One with 40 horses the other with 30. People!!!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Camryn = Geez. That's like being in an elevator with a bunch of people snacking on vegetables and someone picking you out of the crowd to blame you for farting.