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.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Solomon, the Appendix gelding

Meet Solomon.

He's a 14 year old Appendix gelding, which means he's a Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred mix. His withers are the same height as I am, which is 5'3". That's... somewhere between 15 and 16 hands, right? Closer to 16?
Told you I'm green, heh.
His full name is "Song Of Solomon." Heh, I'm a pastor's kid, I recognize the reference. His nickname is "Sol-Sol."
Solomon is a very patient old boy. I say this because he hasn't yet run me over, and I'm really winging it half the time. We've made friends though.
The first day I met Solomon, they brought him out for me to groom. He had some serious Gordian knots going on in his mane. It took me over two hours to untangle everything and get him brushed out. Another volunteer introduced me to Cowboy Magic. That stuff rocks.
Now, Solomon, he didn't know me, and I didn't know him. He didn't know where he stood, or what he could get away with. After a half hour of me working on his mane, the testing began.
No, the post is not a mosh pit, and I will not be shoved around.
No, I am not impressed by pretend nips.
Yes, holding still gets a lot of praise and head skritches.
No, head-tossing does not stop the detangling process.
Yes, it feels good to not have big heavy dreads.
Yes, I am the alpha.
No, I'm not going to eat you.
Going around the post just gets you less and less lead line. How's that working out for you? Oh, not so fun? Okay, let's walk you around in the other direction again so you can put your head down.
Sorry, you aren't going to untie the rope that easily.

Once we figured all of this out, Solomon relaxed into his grooming. Ears drooped, eyelids drooped, lip drooped, uhm, everything drooped. Oh boy, somebody is due for a sheath cleaning, looks like. I'm not sure I'm brave enough to try that bit yet. I did look it up though.
This bit made me laugh. In the "Tips" section:
"* Do this in a barn or stable and hope no non-horse people catch you!"

Anyway, at the end of the first day, he got fresh peppermint leaves. People hand feed him, but it makes him pushy, and that's not going to help him get adopted. I give him treats in a bucket. He seems fine with that. A carrot is a carrot!

On day 2 Solomon got a very special treat. He's not my horse, but that doesn't change the fact that he needs care, and he's been so patient with me. I met a very nice and down to earth woman with an absolutely GORGEOUS OTTB. I mean, I don't know a lot about horses yet, but even I could tell that he was a special guy. We got to talking a bit, and I asked about Solomon's hooves. They looked long to me. Crazy crazy long. A farrier happened to be there that day.

Long story short, I paid for Solomon's hooves to get trimmed. He had shoes with nails starting to come out of the sides of his hooves. The hooves were curling forward. After the trimming, that cost twice as much as normal because the hooves were so far gone, Solomon was a lot shorter, heh. I would say maybe even 3 inches shorter. The farrier said he was probably 4 months overdue. Gah.

Here he is with his nice new trimmed hooves. You can see that he really needs to gain weight and get in shape. About the only muscle he has left is in his butt. He has a jumper's bump on his back, he's a little straight shouldered, common headed, etc, etc, but I think he's awesome anyway. Right now he's only getting hay twice a day. I'm going to try to find a probiotic supplement for him, some alfalfa pellets, maybe some grain.

He needs to get his teeth floated, but I don't think I can afford that. The rescue/BO says it's around $300. Eep. That seems high to me. It hasn't been done since they got him, though, and I'm not really sure how long that has been- she was kind of vague about it. :/

Today was a big adventure as well. We went down to the arena and walked around for a little while. I even got him to trot a bit. Neither of us could keep that up for long. Solomon started nosing the ground, and somehow, I don't know how, his managed to tell me that he wanted to roll. I let him off the lead, and as soon as I was sitting a safe distance away he dropped down and went to town.

I wish I'd had my camera. Nothing quite like watching a beautiful, hug,e graceful animal rolling around with his legs in the air like a cat high on catnip!

When he was done rolling, he got up and shook off (I read that it's good when they shake after rolling, and that not shaking and biting at their bellies is a sign of colic) and came right over to me when I called him. He's a smart boy. He figures out what I want him to do even though I don't really know the commands they use out there. They do Parelli. I've seen one of the people there waving an orange stick around, but I don't think I'll be doing that myself.

Next, I had my first adventure in the wonderful land of picking hooves. Sol-Sol, of course, first tried putting most of his weight on the foot I tried to get him to pick up. Ha-ha. Had the BO show me how she did it, since reading an article didn't quite show me what I needed to do to get his foot of the ground.

I worked it out with Solomon, and praised and skritched him after each hoof. Part of the problem was the only thing I could find to sit on was a bucket, which meant "treat receptacle" to him. Poor boy got a little confused by that. :/ I need to find something else to sit on.

Anyway, I got out a bunch of manure and a couple of rocks, so yay.

Tomorrow I'm going to take a break and go to the tack and feed store instead. I want to buy some of my own gear, since the stuff that's there for common use is missing half the time, and they're almost completely out of lead ropes. I have bought a lead rope, but the only length they came in at the store I went to was 10 feet. That seems like a good way to trip your horse, or get dragged, or find him strangling himself when you had just turned around to find the curry comb. I think tonight I'm just going to hack 4 or 5 feet off the thing, since I don't know why I'd want a 10' lead rope anyway.

Ah yes, and yesterday one of the boarders was kind enough to let me ride his Belgian Draft. Getting me on was not a dignified endeavor, let me tell you. He had to plant his hands on my ass and hoist me up there. Getting down again was a matter of me sliding down until I could reach a stirrup and then getting picked up and put down.

Hercules, the draft horse, was wonderful with me though. He knew I was green. I'm sure I was making a bit of a mess of it with the reins. His owner told me that my seat was fine though, I just needed to keep my heels down. Now, I've seen this horse mess with his owner, sidestepping when he goes to mount and the like, but I think he does it because he thinks it's funny. He treated me like I was made of glass. Amazingly gentle, and his walk was smooth as silk. It wasn't hard to stay on at all, and my back, which has a chunk of vertebrae missing and a herniated disc, actually felt GOOD. Amazing. I love Belgians. If only it didn't take a lifting crane to get my stubby-legged self onto one!

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