Friday, June 11, 2010


Glad yall liked the last post. :) She is a sweet horse, just... opinionated.

Yesterday I wanted to bring Cersei, so I had to keep the ride short again. I went out midmorning, when it was still in the low 50s (OMG I can't believe it's in the 50s in June, this place rocks!) and did the 5 mile loop by the lake. The grass is still green, so we stopped pretty often and grazed on the way down to the lakeshore. I let Cersei splash around in the water while Dixie grazed until the clouds of mutant overgrown mosquitos found us. We turned to walk back up the short path to the levee and Dixie wanted to dash for home... and when I turned her right to keep going instead of left to head home, she tossed a buck at me!

I immediately yelled "Oh no you did NOT!" and kicked her in the ribs. This is not an approved method of handling a buck, I'm sure, but it worked. I knew she was just being pissy and mare-ish and resistant, not actually confused or hurting. The nice laid-back grazing ride was over and the "get your mind on the job" ride began.

I had her trot the entire way along the levee, except for twice when we stopped and I offered Cersei a chance to jump in the lake. She kept trying to balk down to a walk, so the first four times I just said trot and gave her some leg. The fifth time in about 100 yards she broke gait, I whacked her on the neck with the over and under. She was madder'n hell and started really slinging her head, but she trotted and quit trying to sandbag.

Actually, after the whack she was quite good. I usually let her canter the path beside the road on the way home, but not today. I kept her in a rack or a fast trot the whole way home, and she didn't even pull and ask to run.

A block from home she saw a mini horse and about came unglued. She froze, got huge underneath me, and started snorting. I slipped off and encouraged her to walk to the fence and get a whiff of the mini, then walked her on home. She's definitely seen minis before, but it's been several years.

You really can laze along quite a bit and still hit 5 mph average. I've spent a lot of time obsessing over 5 mph, which is about the slowest you can average and still finish an endurance ride. At first I thought it'd be easy, then I thought it was impossible, then it really was easy and all my times started creeping up in the 6-7 mph range. Now I'm more "whatever" about the short rides, and I'm still riding 5 miles in an hour.

Distressingly, Dixie can trot 9 mph now. She used to max out at 7 or so and then slip into a rack if we went faster. Now she racks and trots at the same speed. I really should take her to a good gaited clinic, but that's a three-part plan: 1) sell yellow trailer, 2) buy slant trailer, 3) magically load calm horse, attend clinic, learn something. I wish she'd rack more, but I'm very happy that she'll just switch between rack and trot on her own - the whole reason I don't discourage any gait is that I figure it must give different muscles a different workout.

Tomorrow there's a brand inspection clinic at the arena. I figure I'll ride over, let her dig holes to China / practice her patience til we get inspected, then head out on a long ride. I think I can find the Moonshine trail again. That's about 15 miles with a lots of hills, a few rocky sections, and some long straight roads to canter on the way home.


  1. Those minis can be scary - our Lily was always terrified of Appaloosas - she clearly thought they were space aliens in horse clothing and we terrified by them.

  2. A kick in the ribs might not work for every horse, but some horses deserve it, and if it works, use it!
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  3. Rose hates minis. The last barn she boarded at had a free roaming mini donkey that I always had to watch her around after I turned my back on her once and turned back to find her picking it up and shaking it by its scruff. I doubt this is any better than being scared of them because it still produces a freak out... but instead of puffing up and trying to get away she snakes down and tries to do everything she can to get it.


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