Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ambushed by Satan's Minions

Yay, I used the Forerunner today! It works ok, except it wants to tell me my pace in minutes per mile instead of miles per hour. I think there's a way to change that, but I haven't tried yet. Also, the damn thing auto-pauses if we stop moving. That's cool in some circumstances, but I think it's more honest to let our time standing still drag down our total pace.

Her best head-nodding let's-go-somewhere forward walk was about 14 minutes/mile, and her fast rack or medium trot is 7 minutes/mile. I think that's about 4.2 mph and 8.5 mph, respectively. We did the whole Mines (4 miles) in exactly 1:01... plus the untimed pauses.

The biggest pause was when the demons appeared. We were chugging on towards home, in the canyon, when we came around a corner and HOLY SHIT DEER. Only 50' ahead, halfway up the canyon wall, were a big mule doe and a lovely 6 point buck. Dixie froze, head as high as it would possibly go, and started shaking. The doe looked at us and the buck didn't even climb to his feet. Dixie started slooowly backing away and I asked her to stand, so she did. Everybody kept staring at everybody else, except for Cersei, who hadn't figured out why we stopped. After a couple minutes, I said "Shoo!" The deer stared at me. I said, louder, "Bang bang!" The deer were unfazed. Then Cersei (bless her heart) realized what the horse and I had been looking at and let out an enormous bark. The buck leapt to his feet and he and the doe headed over the hill.

Dixie was still terrified, and it took a lot of very gentle coaxing to convince her to keep going. But she did, and she stayed in the gait I asked her to be in! Almost all walk, a little trot, and a little rack.

Yall might remember that Dixie doesn't usually like to be brushed. I spent a long time trying different brushes, techniques, ways of approaching her, and I finally gave up. I must brush the dirt off before I ride, so she must stand still for it - sorry, kiddo. When we got back today, my poor hairy yak was pretty sweaty, so I rubbed her down really well with a towel and walked her dry. And you know what? She loved it! Stuck her nose out and waggled her lips around, making happy horse faces. Yay! Then when I turned her back out she absolutely wallowed in the dust and got back up as a rare brown-and-bay paint. Sigh.


  1. Interesting, the forerunner lists your mileage the European way. Here, endurance horses' times are measured by "Minutes per Kilometer" and so the lower number the better. It is hard for me to wrap my brain around. Cars too, get a "Liters of Gas per Kilometer" which also encourages low numbers. When I try to talk about Miles per Gallon, it takes For-E-Ver to translate so people understand. And when people ask what endurance distance I liked to ride, they have no idea when I say "50"...I learned quickly to say 85 KM!

    Great that your mare stood her ground until the deer left, because that was a real learning moment for her! (But what cocky deer you have if they don't move away until a dog makes them! Were they elk? Elk do that.)

    About grooming, Baasha too does not like it, unless he's all sweaty after a ride, and I rub him with a towel or brush. Also, now that he is blanketed, I learned he enjoys a certain massagy brushing around his neck where the blanket hangs. If she wears a blanket, you could try that!

    I need to bring our Garmin along when I ride. Luckily, in Germany, most trails are in the map software, so it might help me find new trails. (Although I'd rather be in your situation in America, so many low-use trails, and no one could possibly map them all.)

    Thanks for the post, I enjoyed it!


  2. Thank you! Did I ever mention that my barn owner, S, is from Germany? I think it's weird symmetry that I read about an American horseowner in Germany and board with a German horseowner in America. :)

    The more I think about it, the more proud I am that Dixie didn't even try to bolt. She froze, facing the Terrible Menace, just like I've been teaching her. Such a brave girl!

    I can do kilograms -> pounds in my head, but only because I lift weights. Distances and volumes are something I google, ever single time. I would be helpless driving kilometers to the station and buying gas in liters!

    I am very glad to hear that I'm not the only person with a horse that doesn't want to be groomed. It makes me feel like a failure, really. I don't blanket her, and it's not feasible where she lives right now. I've got a post on that coming soon. I just do what's necessary to cool her down and dry her off, then turn her back out with her friends and minions.

  3. Edit: They were mule deer, and they were no more than 1/2 mile from someone's house. I was kind of shocked to see deer in the daylight in hunting season, but really, deer aren't dumb. Those two were plenty old enough to realize that when they're near a house, the guns don't go off!

    I hear there are antelope around too, and I can't wait to see them.

  4. Some horses just don't like being groomed. You should be really proud of her for standing her ground even though she was really scared - now that's what I call a spook in place! She must have drawn a lot of confidence from you.

  5. Thank you, Kate! I did sit very quietly, trying to just oooze confidence down to her, and I think it helped. She was just quivering, but she was very brave.

  6. What a brave girl, I'm soooo proud!

    Yup, mule deer are bolder than yer average "deer." None are terribly bright, obviously...they are related to GOATS, fer cryin' out loud and there's nothing dumber than a goat. I've noticed that the deer around our place are perfectly capable of telling apart the "human with horse" from the "human with gun." Possibly because the second kind of human smells like cheap beer, and the first kid is wearing a helmet?


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