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.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Uh, holy crap.

Know how I've been thinking that Solomon is kind of a broken down, albeit sound, old man? Kinda lazy and slow-moving and all that? Welllll yeah, I think I'm going to have to re-asses that idea.
So I got out there late in the day, getting on towards evening. Ended up talking to a couple of ladies at the barn for a good while, watching Solomon on the side of the hill, hanging out with his palomino paint buddy.
The sun was getting close to setting when I got to the pasture. Solomon came down the hill to me, and a couple of the other horses came with him. His nostrils flared when he got close, and he was pretty antsy, pushing on the gate with his chest as soon as I got him haltered. Of course I made him back, which he did fine, and we practiced "walk" "easy" and "ho" all the way down the road.
I stopped at chatted with one of the nice boarders, when another boarder pulled a trash bag out of her truck kinda quickly. Solomon spooked. First time since the first day I brought him here. The boarder with the trash bag was behind him, and the boarder I was talking to was on the other side of him, and he SPUN around to face the bag, quick as lightning. Luckily the other boarder is experienced with horses and fast- she got out of the way, no harm done. Scary though. After making sure everyone was all right, we had Solomon smell the bag to see that it was fine. Boarger-with-bag apologized, and I told her it was fine, now I know I need to teach him to get used to trash bags, heh. Strange, because smaller bags were always blowing around the old place, but I guess a large trash bag is different.
After the bag had spooked him, Solomon was tugging on the lead, almost to the point of dragging me along with him, so instead of going right to the paddock where he wanted to be, I took him into the little pea-gravel arena and worked with him for a bit. Just walking, walking faster, walking slower, stopping, and a brief trot. I got a couple of really dramatic sighs, but he did it all okay. He was resisting a bit though, and still really antsy.
So after his little bit of sand-clear and stuff, we went out and walked all the way to the indoor arena. The sun was down by the time we got there. Solomon was still really high energy. Nostrils were flaring and he was snorting. I closed the gate of the arena, since I was pretty sure no one else would be coming in that late. As the lights heated up, I checked his feet again. He resisted at first, but then eased into it and picked them up for me. Good boy.
So we started with walking around a bit, stopping, going faster, easing up, etc. Then we did a bit of trotting. He went RIGHT into it. But when I asked him to, he tossed his head pretty hard a couple of times, and then held it in place just fine. So we worked on walk to trot transitions, and trot to walk transitions. Then I thought, hm, let's try it without the lead rope. And WOW, he was just on FIRE!
We went from walk to trot to walk, we trotted in circles and figure 8s and some of those "serpentine" formations I've seen the dressage people do. Boarder that I had been speaking to before saw a bit of it, yay. :) I said "wow did you see that? I think he has more training than I thought." She replied with some form of agreement. Of course once I started talking to someone, he wasn't so mindful, heh. Well, still, we did well. He tossed his head when I asked him to trot without the lead line too. Interesting. I wonder why? He wasn't limping at all, didn't seem sore.
Now, earlier in the day I talked to a frined from the old barn, who chatted briefly with the fellow who owned Solomon before the previous owner. Previous-previous-owner told her that Sol had a lot of training on him- that he'd done reining and cutting and roping, buncha rodeo stuff, even the thing where they jump off the horse to tie up a steer. Charro stuff too. I thought to myself, "no way, uh uh, not Solomon."
Well, I think I'm gonna have to consider that as a possibility now.
See, he was kinda sorta obeying, but he was obviously wanting to do more high energy stuff than walk, and my ankles were sending me death threats and reams of hate mail for jogging around that little bit. I'm really not supposed to jog or run at all. But meh.
Anyway, I thought, "eh, the gate is closed, I'll let him walk around a bit on his own," so I took the lead line off him again, and I told him "okay," which I've pretty much managed to teach him means "you can relax and be a horse now."
Solomon went totally NUTS. I stood there, my jaw on the ground, watching this big white tasmanian devil go tearing around the arena. People at the old place said "Solomon? He's FAST!" I hadn't ever seen it. Well, now I have. He was doing warp nine around the arena, charging to the end and then when I was sure he was going to run through the fence, coming to a dead stop or just spinning around and running the other direction. He came running up to me and I thought "hrm, I better not budge or he'll think I'm giving ground to him," but he stopped at a respectful distance and went another direction, or went around me. He went LEAPING around, and then started bouncing on all fours like a freakin' deer. He was getting some serious air, too. He was going high enough that I started eyeing the fences around the arena and wondering if he could clear them. This would all have been all kinds of impressive and majestic if it weren't for the fact that
a) his penis was flopping around everywhere the whole time,
b) Every time he jumped he let loose a fart like a thunderclap.
He was jumping and bucking and spinning around in circles. He whinnied once in a while too.
I thought at first that he might be scared and wanting to get back to his herd, but he was watching me the whole time, and well also there's item "a" up above. He didn't seem to be trying to threaten me either. He kept a safe distance the whole time. I never felt like he was too close for comfort. It was almost as if he was trying to show off, heh.
What really sealed the "he isn't scared" thought for me was that as he was cantering around, he reached his neck WAY out and stole a mouthful of hay from a bale. Without stopping. But you better beleive he ate it. Once I saw him do that, I decided that "going apeshit" time was over, and I walked over and told him "ho." He didn't stop immediately (we're gonna have to work on this more) but he did stop and let me clip his rope on again. He was still acting antsy on the walk back to his paddock, but a mini watermelon made all right with the world.
I keep picturing myself on his back while he he is leaping around like that. I then keep picturing myself lying on the arena floor with him sniffing at me, and paramedics running up.
I'm really glad he likes me and is so calm when I ride him. Because holy crap, you should have seen this horse. He sure didn't look at all sore or stiff to me. He was wilder than that young TB I sometimes see turned out in one of the pens down the road from the pasture.
I wish I'd brought my camera out with me. It was astounding and hilarious at the same time.

So, a question for you women out there who work with male horses:
Now, I have no idea why he was so crazy-go-nuts tonight, but I have heard the old wive's tale that stallions go nuts when a woman is having her shark week. Some people say it's total BS, and some people swear by it. I don't know when Solomon was gelded- it could have been early, or it could have been really late. Today was the first time in a good number of months, so I am actually not sure that I've been around him on my period before. Do you think that it had anything to do with how he was acting tonight?


Blondie said...

LOL I don't really have an answer for you, but you brought back a memory!

First time at a new riding-lesson-place (never had my own horse, had only been on 4 horses total by then) and there was a beautiful white Arab bucking and rearing around the arena. I walked up to the lesson lady and said "I sure hope that's not 'my' horse!" and you know what - it was. I ended up loving that horse though - he taught me a LOT.

Not knowing much of anything about horses - I wonder if Sol was just feelin' extra-good.

I love your updates!

Evergrey said...

Hehe, ya know that might be the case- it was cooler last night than it had been in a long time, and where I live it was windy during the day, so maybe there was wind out there too. He is way way healthier than he had been in a long time, so maybe he's just showing me that he does have fire in him after all! :D

It really was amazing to see my horse tearing around like that though. :)