Thursday, August 18, 2011

More riding!

My mom had surgery to clean the arthritis off a little bone at the base of her thumb, so she has been off work since last week. She can't do much with only one hand, but she sure makes a great babysitter while Wren is napping! Consequently, I'm taking advantage of having her around and this week, my mom has been coming over every morning around 9am when Wren goes down for her first nap of the day.

Then I take off and get my horse out. Sometimes I ride alone, sometimes I call my neighbors, and sometimes I don't ride at all - I trim one. I rode with a friend of my husband's for the first time earlier this week too. She has a large sorrel paint mare. I've been taking my camera along when I go out, but sometimes I still forget to take pictures. I did take this one picture of Cody after we got back from our ride.

Another wonderful thing I did this week was take Catlow out for the first time in 2 years. I'd been focusing on riding Chico and Cody more this summer because they have more riding time on them already and I figured if I had limited time, I should focus on them. Plus, Catlow can be quite nervous when ridden out alone, and I hadn't gotten the courage up to get her out and try her. But yesterday morning, the horse I was going to trim was out in the pasture out of sight, while Catlow, Cody and Chico were all in the barn keeping away from the flies. I'd just ridden Cody the day before and Chico the day before that, so I figured I might as well get Catlow out. She was due for a trim, and I figured I could saddle her up and see how she was...maybe take her for a walk in the woods (it rained a bit the night before and made the round pen base greasy, so I couldn't lunge in it). She was calm and good for her trim and saddling, but as soon as I began just asking her to walk around me in the yard, she started to get nervous and was responding to my soft slow cues very rapidly. I started leading her out into the woods. She was better than when I was lunging her (she often wants to respond too quickly to cues just due to still not being 100% comfortable with people asking her to do things). On an open spot on the trail, I lunged her again, and she was uptight at first, and concerned about being out alone, but quickly she began to pay attention to me and she settled down a bit, not overreacting to changes of direction and stopping. She was still worried though.

It probably helped that I had treats along so she got a reward every time she whoa'd and relaxed. Then I rode out around the pond. She was still nervous so she was walking fast (so fast she was "gaiting" at times but she doesn't technically "gait"), but she was responding well. Catlow has a huge motor powered by her nerves. She will push up hills without slowing and barely tiring. Because of that push and heart that she has, I enjoy riding her. I wish she could relax a little more when we are out alone, but perhaps that will come with age...or never. It is who she is. She is the lead mare and the watch mare in my herd, but Cody is above her in the dominance hierarchy. Catlow leads everyone from place to place and often is seen grazing apart from the herd. But that doesn't mean she's comfortable without them. They are always with her, except when I make her go out riding. Catlow is a totally different horse when I ride her out with another horse, either leading the other horse, or riding along. Then, she is totally calm. People who've ridden with me barely believe me when I tell them that Catlow gets nervous alone because they've never seen it and she is just so calm otherwise. After we left the pond, we came down into our neighbor's yard and chatted for a bit (Catlow had a hard time standing in one place, but by the time I left, she had relaxed considerably). Then we rode through my husband's pipe yard (very scary), and then home. It wasn't too long of a ride, but it was a good first ride out and I'm always so glad when I do something that I'd been avoiding and it turns out well.

Today, I rode Chico with my neighbors again. I was a little late getting on the trail (had to meet the dump truck with the sand for the round pen, YAY!), so I had to ride out and catch up to them. I took a few pictures of the trail on the way to where they were.

Then I popped out into the field on top of the hill. They were at the very far edge of the field. I could see their helmets gleaming in the sun, so we trotted to catch up. I didn't take anymore pictures after I caught up to them because I promptly forgot about my camera. Today, we came down out of the trails and rode along the highway for a while for something new. The highway is underconstruction and all tore up and gravel right now. There was no machinery on the stretch we rode today and the few cars that drove down it all were going very slow. So it was a good intro to the road and traffic for my neighbor's horses. Plus it was quite the obstacle course with all the signs and orange barrels. It was really good for Chico, who at first was very leary about going down the road past mailboxes today. Usually he's much braver, but today he was really bothered for some reason. Flies on his face, maybe the cinch, it's hard to say what all it was that was bothering him, but he was tossing and shaking his head a lot and getting rushy sometimes...then balking at going past mailboxes. By the time we left the road, he was much more relaxed with all the construction.

Tonight, we are going to get the drain tile dug in, then spread the sand around the round pen area, and maybe even put the panels up, but we'll see how much time we have. So excited!!!

1 comment:

Shirley said...

Nice ear cam pics, so lush and green.
I have to get off my butt and get some riding done , I played hooky this week but the horses really need riding.