Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Back to the horses

I've got some catching up to do!

Sunday I rode Valentine, and stayed all zen, and got her to trot. It was pretty cool!

Then, back to the field, where I rode Poppy. He did amazingly well! We just rode around the two open paddocks, working on listening to me. Mainly walk, a little whoa, and a few strides of trot. When I got done, I unsaddled him and he wandered about 10 yards away and laid down and took a nap. Poor guy, he's so out of shape and paying attention is such hard work.

Then I loaded Dixie and took her to the main barn and rode her in the covered arena. She was perfect. I mean, absolutely perfect. She was absolutely alert, cause she was in a strange new-ish place, but she was listening to me and perfectly responsive. We rode around for about 30 minutes, working on bending and stopping with just the snaffle rein. Then I walked her back to the truck, untacked her, and led her all around the property hand-grazing the patches of green grass. I was on Cloud 9!

Yesterday I rode Poppy again. T took Goblin and I took Poppy and we went on a super short trail ride. Down the two biggest trails, to both sides of the Skeet Shooting Lake, then back. He remained a very good very calm fellow. All the spooky things he saw - a big tractor tire, a dead washing machine - he'd pop his head up, snort, and want to go sniff them. He's going to be a great trail horse for K :)

I'm really pleasantly surprised at how he's emotionally matured over the years. He was what, a 3 year old when I got him? Very much a big spooky baby with no attention span. That's how he got labeled in my head, and I've just started to notice how he's steadied down, filled out, just matured mentally and physically.

Anyway, after I'd tuckered Poppy out again (he fell asleep sunbathing right in front of me while I talked to B), I snagged Champ and cruelly forced him to carry me to my parents' house. Champ made his displeasure completely known and tried to halfheartedly spook at everything. I insisted we soldier on, at a trot most of the way. I let him graze in my dad's garden, talked with my parents for a bit, then allowed him to carry me home at a brisk trot. One or two more visits and he'll stop thinking there's wolves in their backyard ;)

Today, of course, it SNOWED. It stopped snowing about noon, and it never really got cold, so almost all of the snow had melted by the time I got out to the horses.

I took Dixie on a fairly short trail ride. I got on and she was off like a rocket, and I reminded myself to not lean forward, not lean back, not yank on her mouth, and not try to rate her speed at all. She slowed down after a couple hundred yards and started listening again. Yay! I've noticed that if I try to make her do what I want when I first get on, she gets scared and kind of shuts down mentally for the rest of the ride. But if I let her have that little bit of total freedom at the very beginning, she'll listen and work with me for the rest of the ride. Silly mares! We rode down by the big fishing lake, where two Terror Birds (a pair of mallards) made her spook hard and half spin, but she came right back to me mentally and didn't actually run. We rode for another couple of miles in the woods, then headed for home. She wanted to bolt for home, but I asked her to slow back down and she did. I was really impressed with her again!

I finished up with a trail-trimming ride on Champ. I took a pair of trimming shears, which worked ok on the small branches, but I need to go back with a hatchet or a hacksaw and take out a few little trees. Did a lot from the saddle, but when we got in the really overgrown trails in the woods I got off and led him along, trimming as I went. I got most of the way through our normal woods trail, then veered off onto an old overgrown trail, then hiked down an honest-to-god deer trail, then ended up behind the dam of the Skeet Lake.

This is not good!
The dam's in bad shape!

The lakes back there are all manmade, and pretty old. Big trees have grown up on the dams, and some time not too long ago one of those big trees fell and took out a chunk of the dam. I think that lake is not long for this world!

Anyway, if you look closely at that picture, you can see the remains of THE SNOW. Perhaps the world won't end tonight. We've got another 6 weeks of the threat of WHITE DEATH hanging over our heads, though.


  1. Hey funder--

    My shooting blog is up, kind of. it's at http://gunsnglitter.blogspot.com/
    and, with your permission, i was going to repost your gun cleaning entry as my first "real" post (properly credited to you, of course).
    I will post the link on Roxie's blog tonight or possibly Friday but i thought you would like to be the first to know!

  2. What happens when the dam breaks?

    I will spy on the gun blog from time to time to ensure that you are all behaving yourselves. Maybe I will learn something.

    modlewsl: mottled mildewed strudl

  3. Serena, of course you can steal it! I'll email you the actual html so the pictures will work right.

    DP - uhh, I think we'll be down to six lakes on the property. There's just no way, short of tens of thousands of dollars, to get heavy machinery back there to repair the dam. It's gonna be a hell of a flood, though; that's a BIG lake.

    There used to be a nice riding trail along that levee, but a tree fell over the trail. I'd been planning on chopping the tree out of the way but now I won't. It probably won't break for a while yet, and the odds are really against one of us being on the levee when it goes... but I can't in good conscience cut down the tree blocking the levee.

  4. wow, sounds like you've been busy :-) and you have managed to evade the white death... for now ;-)


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