Hi, I'm Ev. I'm training to become a horsewoman. These are my adventures and misadventures. I'm green as hell, but so far, so good. I'm now learning from Bo (and sometimes his wife DeDe) at D&D Ranch in Pope Valley. I am extremely lucky to have this opportunity, I feel quite blessed, and I feel that they, and horses, have really turned my life around.
Solomon is my baby- a big old flea bitten grey Appendix gelding who is very kind and way too smart! I love him so very much. He is a rescue and was meant to be co-owned rehabbed, and maybe rehomed to a good home. He turned out to be over 25 years old with injuries that ultimately do not make him riding sound, so he is retired.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Longeing day 1

Today there is blue in the sky again! That meant that it was longeing day 1.

Me: "Hi Sol-Sol, how is my angelic ever so well behaved boy???"
Solomon: "Hello- today is BE A SPAZ DAY!"
me: "BUH?"
Solomon: "You know how I'm a really good boy for hoof picking and I hold nice and still? Well, not today!" *yanks hooves away and slams them down*
Okay so no rocks, but I wasn't able to completely pick the crap out of them before we tried the longe.
I was lucky- it was a quiet, slow day, and the barn owner, her daughter, and the guy who works there were all available to teach and help out.
This turned out to be a fortunate thing.

Solomon was full of energy, but he almost managed to convince us that he didn't know how to longe after all. He WON'T do it with just a line. I tried, the barn owner tried, her daughter tried, and all he did was longe US. He did that thing that I think I've seen dressage horses do where they keep one leg still and slide around in a circle on it. O_o I think he found this to be amusing, because he was doing what the person usually does.
His luck did not hold out, however. In comes Guy With A Whip. He snapped the lead rope and got him backed up. He actually smacked Sol with the whip. :o
Suddenly Solomon remembered that he DID actually know how to longe, yessir he did! I don't think he'd done it in a long time, but once he started, he seemed to get into it. Certainly have to work on WALK though. "canter" and "tear ass" he will happily do. Walk, not so much.

So after a little while they let me try with the whip. I'd say it was half great success, half disaster.
I got him to trot, canter, and gallop no problem. Turning was a little difficult and he came in and tried to push me over. Wow not okay. I learned to snap the lead rope at him. It didn't seem to actually upset him, just make him back off. Okay, so I need to learn to be a little meaner and a little scarier. Doesn't come easily to me with animals, but I know it's really important to be the dominant one and not let him get any bad habits.
Other than the coming in and pushing me though, he did well. I was obviously very noob at it, and the rope that I ended up using really really sucked, but Solomon was nice enough to not pull it out of my hands.
He did love running though. The look on his face was something like: "Okay, you have my attention, also WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"
So okay, I will admit that I am biased, but I've watched the horses around here, and I have to say, Solomon really moves beautifully. He just FLOATS. He floats and flows. It was a real joy to watch. I was expecting to do something like 5 times around at a walk each way per the suggestion of a horse person, but Solomon, he really had a lot of energy to get out. All that senior feed is working wonders with him. He kept going and going, but I didn't want to overwork him and it's kind of hard on me too, so I called a stop for a day. He actually seemed disappointed. Barely any sweat at all. I think I sweated more than he did. He's in better shape than I thought.
All the people at the barn today made "Wow Solomon is looking really good!" comments. He got gentle brushing after his little work out. He was still giving me trouble with his hooves, which concerned me. A nice young woman there helped me out- she just held on to his hoof and wouldn't let him take it away from her. Once that was established, he didn't give her any more trouble. She cleaned his hooves out really well, and discovered that he has thrush in his right front foot.
Aaa! My poor baby! First ailment. It's not very bad and he wasn't moving like anything was bothering him, so I think it's been caught in time. I am not surprised that he got it because his bedding is almost always damp. :/
I told the barn owner who said she would put iodine on his feet. I went out to the grocery store and bought a couple of bottles of the stuff too. Safeway only has tiny tiny bottles and it took a couple of people searching to find it because no one seems to use it any more. The cashier asked me what it was for because she'd always wondered. I told her about Solomon and charro and she was pretty upset about the fact that horse tripping happens, but happy that someone was giving him love now.
Say what you will about Richmond- the people here have been friendlier, more talkative, and more open than anyplace else I've lived in the bay area. I know I've been lucky, but really I like the people here.
So. Now we know. Solomon DOES know how to lunge, but he needs the whip (though I happily didn't need to touch him with it, just signal,) and he seriously needs to learn some respect.
Everyone I spoke to there today also thinks that Solomon is ready for me to ride him, which make me very happy, but I'm going to wait until we have a more clear relationship on the ground. I am not going to do the 6 months of groundwork thing, but we DO need to establish that I am the alpha and he is to listen to and obey me. It would be too dangerous for me to ride him if I wasn't sure I could get him to stand at the mounting block, slow down, stop, etc.
Besides, we have time.

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