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, August 23, 2008

Half angel, half butthead.

*grumble grumble*
Okay I am going to preface this by telling you that my ankles hurt like hell today. Imagine going about your day with a couple of dull knives stuck into your Achilles tendons. Okay.
So Solomon was a good boy in some ways and a bad boy in others. I wasn't able to do nearly as much as I wanted with him work-wise today, but it'll come in time.
When I went out to the pasture, he was eating a few last mouthfuls of nice grass hay with his grey pasture buddy. When he was finished, he came to me and stuck his nose in the halter as he usually does. Point for him. I noticed right away that his blond hoof had a big huge chunk chipped off of it. Eek. It looked really bad! The one other person who was out and about said it was just the outside and it shouldn't hurt or anything, and that he was overdue for a trim. He is, he absolutely is, and it's my fault for not being more proactive about that. The amazing absolutely wonderful farrier that the new BO recommended hasn't returned any of my calls. Doesn't matter how amazing a farrier is if you can't freakin' get a hold of him.
So the Big Scary Mounting Block of Doom was on the way to the barn. We practiced having Sol stand at it. I totally bribed the hell out of him with carrot bits too, IF and WHEN he actually stood in the proper place and didn't move. He got a couple of carrot bits, but then fear won out, and he stood out of mounting range while trying to stretch his neck far enough to reach the carrot bit. Uh-uh, nope, sorry guy.
His former "rescuer" (who was nothing of the sort) was a big man who, according to people at the former barn, would get drunk and jump on his back, and kick the crap out of him while yanking on his mouth to make him run around. I'm a big heavy person, and I think he's waiting for me to do the same, though he generally calms down when I am on him. He has a problem standing at the block for me to DISMOUNT too. Odd. I wonder what happened to him. I don't have the best balance but I AM gentle and careful with him. So anyway, it'll take time, but we'll get there.
Next we worked on "back" which he did perfectly with verbal commands only. This gives me hope for getting him to back up under saddle eventually. He knows the verbal command- for a carrot bit, he did it without needing to have his chest pushed on.
We walked into the barn, and he started to speed up, so we did a little "ho" and "stand" work, which he did GREAT on until we got to his paddock. I got him to stop by closing the gate again before he could run in there, but once I had him standing and opened the gate again, he ran in and would NOT come out again for another try. I would have pressed the matter but my ankles weren't having it.
I limped around trying to find farrier numbers to call, and ended up calling the lady running her horse around in the round pen. Ooops. I annoyed her, I think. Sorry!
When I went to my tack locker, I found my curry comb hanging on the door. I guess I accidentally left it out somewhere. Oops! It was so nice of someone to put it on my door. In the old place it would have grown legs and walked away. In the old place it might have done that even if it was in my locker. I love the new place.
I also found a note in my locker with the number of a good barefoot farrier who is coming out next week. Oh yay! One of the people in my barn had mentioned it, and she remembered to leave the woman's name and number with me. I saw her horse's hooves, they looked REALLY good. Yay! So Solly will get his hooves done sometime next week, and if the farrier does a good job, I'll just schedule a visit every 6 weeks.
Solomon did pick his feet up for me, even anticipating and lifting a hoof when I walked to a leg. Good boy. His feet are nice and hard now. There's no sign of thrush that I can see. Everything is nice and dry and clean, and there are no mushy or crumbly spots. So! Once his feet have been trimmed, they'll be in better shape than they have been in a long time. It's amazing what clean, dry footing can do. Also the paddock I picked out is apparently the driest paddock there is in the winter. That's excellent news.
So. Leaving the paddock to go back to the pasture. That was a small dramafest. He really didn't want to go. I thought about letting him spend the night in there, but that would teach him that refusing to move is okay and gets him what he wants. Not a lesson I want him learning. I eventually got him out by making him turn a circle and then keep going. He was unhappy about it though. I wonder why? He seemed calm enough in the pasture when I went to get him.
I had to lean on him on the walk back to the pasture. My ankles were supremely displeased. When I turned him loose he stood there and let loose the most dramatic sigh I have ever heard issue forth from an animal, and then he lowered his head and plodded away, looking like a giant white spotty Eeyore. Solomon is a bit of a drama queen, I think.
So, there was some progress, and there was some not progress, but overall not a bad visit.

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