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 9, 2008

A very positive day- ground manners day.

So in the past couple of weeks we've been working on ground manners more. I hadn't really mentioned it much because it didn't seem like a huge deal, hah. I got in a bit of a lively debate in a forum about other people reaching around me and disciplining my horse. It turned into a big fight between a bunch of people (on the INTERNET? Go figure) but actually I had been working on him not going after hay while I had him on the lead rope. If I say it's okay, that's one thing, but if I don't, that's another. My real beef was with people disciplining Sol without asking me if it was okay, because
a) that's rude.
b) he wasn't doing anything that horrible, and we were standing still, he just reached for a piece of hay on the ground.
c) They don't know him or his issues. Maybe shanking him makes him rear and strike. It doesn't, but if a person does not know the horse, they should not assume.
d) if I don't teach him to respect ME, and he only learns to obey OTHER people, I'll be in trouble eventually.
anyway, enough of that. We've been working on ground manners, and aside from the nastiness in the thread, I have been thinking about 'em more.
It seems that people just sort of let Solomon do whatever. I did too at first, but I'm learning. He likes going in his stall, and when I first put him back, the young man who was telling me how to put him away said to just get the lead rope off when we were close to the door. They left him in a halter all night then. That doesn't happen now- I've read too many neck-breaking horror stories. Anyway, Solomon speeds up to go into his stall, and will go past you. I can see that being a bad thing if someone is in front of him, or somehow the lead rope tangles around the person walking him, etc, etc. At the end of the day Solomon did not get to run in. Instead I made him stop and stand in front of the stall door, and when we went in I made him turn around and give me his head so I could slip his halter off easily. No checking the bucket before he gets his halter off.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
Today we walked back and forth RIGHT past a bale of alfalfa. Oh yes, he was annoyed, but he's also a quick learner, and I think perhaps he was loved at some point in his life and used to behave. Can't be sure, but he does seem to be willing to be a good boy. Anyway, not giving him enough slack to grab at the hay, and giving a light tug if he gets insistent while saying "no" and following with "walk" works well with him. At one point he decided he'd had enough and tried to stop and toss his head, but he nailed himself on my elbow, right on the soft part of his nose. He froze for a moment and gave me this "OMG WTF" look. "Hey, don't look at me, you did that to yourself! Now WALK," I said, and he did. After that he was actually really well behaved, heh.
Today he also advanced in the foot cleaning department. He picked his feet up when I said "give." I only had to touch one hock, and that was the first one. I still have to catch the foot pretty quickly or he puts it back down again, but it's still great progress I think.
We have a bit of a routine when we go into the arena. I let him off his rope and he goes to his favorite spot and rolls. That won't happen in the new arena, which is fancy and groomed and not made with crappy playground sand, but in the new place he'll be able to roll out in the pasture any time he wants. Once he has rolled he comes back and it's time for work until I let him go to wander again. I've really hated not having any place to turn him out, and I'm looking forward to his first time in the pasture. Maybe I'll tape it.
His hooves are still thrushy. No wet dirty stall will fix that more than the coppertox, but in the meantime, coppertox it is.
So anyway, today was a really positive day. Yay!


Puh-leeze said...

I just love it when a horse does something to himself and then looks at you like it's your fault, hee hee hee. "Why was your arm in my nose's way?"

I hope you don't let one cranky cowboy run you off. Things do get silly over there, but it will blow over. Sol has a pretty big fan club, too.

Evergrey said...

Yeah, I tried to not laugh at him. Not that he prolly knows just what a laugh MEANS, but that look of pure shock on his face, hah!

I'll probably come back to the boards, just need to take a break for a bit. I'm far too thin-skinned for my own good, and I know it.

But! I'll try to bring someone along to tape Solomon's arrival in his new paddock, and his first turn-out in at least years. :) Maybe I'll label it "Fluffy the killer horse runs loose, kills 12. With a chainsaw." ;)

Puh-leeze said...

Breaks are good. I take them too. And I am looking forward to the video. I was a huge Weekly World News fan before it went under. You know, Elvis is alive and living in Michigan, all about his secret life working at BarfaBurger.

But you'll keep updating the blog, right?

Evergrey said...

Oh yar, I'll keep blogging. :) Just don't feel up to fighting with people right now, heh.