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, July 8, 2008

The lunge whip is not a fishing pole.

Today I did manage to go out there after all.

Once I pulled Sol out of his stall my back loosened up a lot. Unexpected, but good! It hurts more these days, but it also feels better when I'm a little active. It's a very delicate balance between underdoing it and overdoing it.
So. Spiffy new longe whip. Lunge whip. Why are there two ways to spell it?
Anyway, I had my new whip and I had my new lunge line. I had my Sol-Sol and dammitt we were going to DO it!
We went down to the arena and somehow I got him going right away. Nice steady trot, smooth as silk. He moves SO well. People noticed this. I was proud of him. :) Perfectly trotting in a circle.
"Ho... ho ho ho..." I told him. Nope, nothing doing. Not slowing down. I had the whip all the way down, I even crouched down and pilled in. This was the first sign. Heh. But I though, "no, we'll do great, I'm going to get him to stop and turn and we're going to go the other direction, wheee!"
If Sol could speak, he would have said "Oh yeah, you wanna bet?"
He knows how to lunge. He knows quite well. It was hot and he hadn't been fed for the evening yet though. He wasn't happy. He did not want to work, and he knew some tricks, let me tell you.
He came in, but he came ALL the way in and leaned his shoulder on me. And he would not go out again no matter what! I was NOT going to shake the damned rope in his face. I was determined to do this the right way, even if it would take forever and a day.
No matter which way I went he spun with me and stuck to me like glue. At one point he pressed his head against my chest so I pressed back, and he backed up, but he would NOT give me an inch. Dammitt.
The BO's son came by and helped out. He hates the rope shaking thing himself, which I appreciated. He confirmed that Sol knew how to lunge and was being stubborn, and that he knew exactly what he was about with the sticking to me with his shoulder thing. Did the same thing with the BO's son. It took a LOT of goading but he did manage to get him out and trotting again, then a bit of a canter. So yay, he got a bit more of a workout. SO's Son gave him back to me but I wasn't able to get him to go out again. Ended up jogging with him a little bit, but my ankles really don't allow much of that.
Oh but I tried. When he wouldn't back up (and while I'll poke him a bit I won't beat him, I think fear teaches more fear, and I think it's cutting corners, though if he does something truly dangerous I am prepared to be Big and Scary) I sat down in a chair and let him stomp a bit until he got bored and wandered off a bit. AHA! I lumped up and got myself and the whip in that triangle position behind his shoulder. Cracked it. Sol came right on in again and leaned on me. Gargh.
I tossed a bit of carrot out. He went and grabbed it and came RIGHT BACK IN. Okay, well. I couldn't do any more. I did not want to teach him that being stubborn would make me give up, but it was hot, for him as much as for me, and he was hungry and I was thirsty so I let him go in the arena for a bit and let him walk and roll. We will try again tomorrow or the day after, and we will keep trying. He'll trust me more the more we get to know each other. I'll learn how to work him better, he'll learn that obeying gets him more treats and praise, and we'll work through it. People there are being very helpful. They have good advice. We'll figure out a way.

Two of the young kids there have decided I'm cool. They're cute kids, but don't tell 'em I said that. The little boy is at the age where he thinks he is very cunning and clever, and he tries to be sneaky about doing stuff he shouldn't. No kid, the lunge whip is NOT a fishing pole. No, I don't want you to try to lunce Solomon, your head doesn't even come up to his chest! He's a good boy but he DOES have issues, and I don't want him to run over some little kid. I also tried to explain to the little girl that chasing and catching the baby birds could give them a heart attack. Not sure she understood though.
Their older brother is awesome though. He picks Sol's hooves for me, since my back is not up to the task at the moment, and said that id I ever needed his help with anything, to just ask. He also offered to lead Sol when I ride him for the first time, which is a comfort, as Sol knows and likes him.

Anyway, I am determined. I will keep working at it, and we will come to an understanding. I want to do right by Sol, and I will work hard at it.

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