Friday, April 17, 2009


Cue air guitar and bad Aerosmith imitation. I had a good ride yesterday, and another good ride today. YAY!

Yesterday the rain finally stopped, so everybody got turned out for the first time in like five days. I knew it was muddy, and I knew Dixie would get to go out, but I was not quite mentally prepared for the quantity of mud on my horse. At least it had dried... but she was about 70% covered in an inch of mud.

Here's another fugly-fodder confession from your favorite redneck: I used the metal currycomb to break up the mud. I've read and heard so many people decrying the metal curry as a tool of torture, but it's really not! It has two functions: it breaks up mud clumps on a horse, and it cleans the loose hair off of your brushes. I'm sure it is torturous to groom your horse with a metal curry, but just running it over her to break up dried mud clumps is acceptable, IMO.

After I turned clods into dust, I brushed as much dust off as I could. Sadly, my once-white horse is now ecru. Another bath is in order, but the wash stall plumbing is under repair. I am rapidly turning into a clean-horse freak. :(

Anyway. We pottered around the arena for a while, very calmly for both of us, and I called it a day.

Today was gorgeous, high of 72 (22) and sunny. I brushed and brushed, but she's still ecru. And the wash rack is still broken. :( Anyway, I mounted up in the arena and we rode around again.

Dixie's still being awful about the bit. I need to decide if I'm going to buy a different bit for her, buy a hackamore, buy a bosal, ride her in a halter, etc. (I looked at the "anybody can borrow" bridles hanging in the arena, but I'm not sure about them. A couple curbs, and a couple of slow-twist snaffles. She wouldn't lean as badly on a twisted snaffle, but I don't think she'd accept the contact too well either.) But! We have come to an understanding about leg aids. She knows what I mean when I steer her with my legs. Sometimes she wants to ignore me, and that's when I pick up the contact with the reins.

Then I got off and we headed outside, to the driveway / front of barn area. I carefully walked her around most of the area, showing her the Scary Monsters. Mainly she wanted to eat the lovely lush grass, but she did spook a bit about the windchimes and a couple sacks of rock salt.

I don't actually play the "touch the goblin" c/t game, but I have been working for over a year on getting her to investigate scary things. She used to see a Monster and try to bolt. Then we progressed to seeing a Monster, snorting, leaping away, and refusing to come closer. Now when she sees Monstrous Windchimes, for example, she'll snort and tense up and veerrrrry slowly stick the tip of her nose out to get a sniff of it. Good progress, I think.

I headed over to my truck and got her to line up with the bumper so I could mount. I've just started adding a verbal cue, "line up." For most of my clicker stuff, I try not to speak at all til she's got the behavior down. Once she'll offer the behavior, I add a verbal cue. She did quite well lining up to the bumper, and up I went.

We just walked around and enjoyed the sunshine. I let her graze most of the time. I just made sure I was the one who decided when we moved, and where we moved - I can't let her completely tote me around or she'll take full advantage. But I wanted today to be a very pleasant memory - it's her first trip "outside" under saddle in Ohio.

Standing in an open paddock, letting her graze, soaking in the sun, felt really nice. It reminded me a lot of Champ, in a good way. Maybe all the doors didn't close when he died - I'd felt like there was so much that ~only we~ could do together. Maybe Dixie and I can do some of those things too.

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