Thursday, January 5, 2017

Two Ends of the Temperature Spectrum in One Day

Today started out dark, cloudy, windy, and ice cold.  I did not expect to get to ride a horse.  However, by this afternoon it almost felt too hot.  It felt like summer.  With the neighborhood being so quiet, I wanted to ride in the arena.  I forgot what a chore it is to do so.  When I trail ride, I just tack up, mount, and go.  However, with arena riding, I have to clean up all the manure, tack up, lock up all the other horses (which is always easier said than done since I'm often too lazy to retrieve a halter and lead rope), set up some obstacles, do ground work, look for a low spot to stand the horse in next to a high spot for my mounting block, mount, and then go.

Bombay was my victim.  He had actually volunteered to be ridden yesterday, and I almost put the halter on him, but then my neighbor came out of his house and Bombay acted like it was the most fascinating thing in the world.  I no longer existed.  Rock, on the other hand, was having eye contact with me and totally ignoring the neighbor, so I chose him instead.  These horses have to connect with me if they expect to be ridden on the trails.

I set up the construction cones, but Bombay disagreed on where they should be placed.

He's very particular about such things.  However, after a lengthy tug-o-war, I won and put the cone back where I wanted it.

Mounting was not fun.  It felt like what I went through the last time I rode Gabbrielle.  He kept bloating and then releasing when I'd try to mount, so I'd have to tighten the cinch, walk him around some more, and try again.  He's my tallest horse, so I have to place the mounting stool on higher ground than where he stands, and that's not easy to find in the arena, because it's so flat.  I've decided that I'm going to dig a ditch in there that is just for mounting.  The worse my arthritis gets, the taller my horses get -- if that makes any sense.

Bombay got spanked because he was toying with me.  He'd stand square right where I put him in a low spot, I'd set down the stool, tie the lead rope to his saddle horn, climb up, put my foot in the stirrup, and he'd take one giant step back.  Then I'd have to get down, move the stool, and try again.  Once I realized he was doing it on purpose to jerk me around, I backed him around the arena for a couple of minutes until he was huffing and puffing.  I thought he would welcome standing still at the mounting stool, but he still took a step back, so I smacked him hard on the rump.  His whole body shook and his head shot up into the air.  He was so tense that I had to make nice-nice once he was standing still for me.  Poor guy.  I forgot how sensitive he is.  He was probably thinking, "But you usually laugh when I clown around like this."

It was so much work to get up on him that I didn't want to get off.  He eventually started poking my boot to tell me to get off.

When I was tightening his cinch, I heard an ATV drive up to the back of my property and hoped it wouldn't be one of those joy riders who just races back and forth for hours turning around repeatedly at the cliff above my arena.  That certainly takes the peace and quiet out of an otherwise pleasant horseback ride.  Luckily, it was just my neighbor driving to some destination and coming back a while later.  I was pleased with Bombay for paying attention to me and not focusing on my neighbor's activities.

That reminds me...  I was looking at a satellite view of my old neighborhood, and I saw that someone bought this house on a big acreage two doors down from me and turned it into a motocross track.  I wanted to buy that property years ago because it would have been perfect for horses.  I guess I moved away just in time.  Now the dragster mechanic and the motocross people can compete with each other on how much noise they can make, and I don't have to hear it, because I don't live there anymore.  Ironically, our house has gone up $130,000 in value since we moved out.  You'd think it would drop in value based on the noise level and the junkyard next door.

I had to ride in Bombay's winter saddle pad, even though it was hot, because his summer pad needs cleaning.  The flanks are hard and rough from dried sweat and hair.  I almost didn't catch that.  It would have been rubbing on him and probably bothering him.  His saddle has seen better days too.  I'll have to set aside some time for tack maintenance.

He looks like such a little pony here.  Bombay has a talent for puffing himself up really big when he's scared, but he's a little puppy when he's relaxed.



Crystal said...

Im pretty sure all my horses get taller every time I ride so I totally hear you on that one

Mrs Shoes said...

On the track, years back, between races the outriders' horses would stand tied in the ready ring (we called the paddock). One day I gave the big sorrel a mentos (after asking the Outrider), & I was slave to him every race season until he was retired.
Downstairs in my office, I knew when that horse came into the paddock because he would nicker softly but steadily until I climbed the stairs to give him his treat & scratch his face; I had created a monster, of course, because we raced 4 & sometimes 5 days a week, between 9-13 races per day, & that sorrel expected his treat before every race or he would not quiet.
Also, the mint had to come from me; the Outrider tried & had several other folks give him his mint, but only the fuzzy mints from my pockets would do. I loved that horse!