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, December 13, 2008

In which Solomon tries to play Ghandi.

Ahh, passive resistance. The noble protestor who does not fight, does not attack, but merely refuses to move.
This is actually quite effective when one weighs around 1300 pounds.

Solomon, you see, does not currently come running to me when I walk to the pasture gate. This is because (I'm fairly certain) lately it seems, in his mind, that when I come to the pasture gate, I approach him, say something exasperated, force him to LEAVE his beloved herdmates and his even more beloved new green grass, take him to the EVIL WASH RACK, wrap a bunch of random stuff around one of his legs with some neosporin, and force him to go on STALL REST! Noooooo!
So now he has associated leaving pasture with being trapped in a cage far from his friends. Oh, wonderful.
Solomon is, thankfully, a gentle soul. Good at embarrassing mom, but not mean. He is also unfortunately rather clever.
So he knows the "get them moving by going to the side or circling" trick. He will happily walk any direction that is NOT towards the pasture gate. But even if you circle him and get him moving, the moment he's turned towards the gate, he stops. A tap with the lead rope or even a dressage whip will get a sad little sound of protest but no movement. I'm not going to beat the hell out of him, even if I were that type, and I'm not, it didn't work for the previous owner.
My stud chain was at home from the time I wore it around my neck and forgot about it when I left the barn. So.
So it was a contest of wills. Who was more stubborn? I decided at one point that Solomon was a mule in disguise, not an appendix. :p He let me rock him back and forth. He let me pick up his feet. He even let me mess with his mouth like never before. I found a cut on the inside of his upper lip, but it's healing. I tried tickling the inside of his ear, which got him moving twice and then he just raised his head up higher than I could reach, and I don't want to teach him to be any more headshy than he already is, heh. Of course a number of people with their well-trained, well-behaved horses passed us.
So, we did circles. I carefully moved him by pulling his head to the side and pressing his butt so that we were about half a foot closer to the cross-ties every time we completed a circle. He got annoyed, of course he did, but he just tossed his head and grunted a couple of times. When we were almost all the way down the road to the pasture he finally gave in and walked with me. I have to say, I wasn't sure how long I could be patient about it, but I knew I couldn't let him win this battle. I was thinking "where did all those months of work go???" but he did finally give. He wasn't lame, he didn't flinch or even react at all when I poked his heel, I felt his legs and his whole body, no heat. He was fine. Just didn't want to go.
So we got to the cross ties and he was calling to his herd. Calling and calling and calling. And every time I went into the tack room out of sight, he'd call to me. Then when I came out he'd nicker. Yeah right, no treats for you today, buddy!
He got groomed, and then I checked out the fit of the saddle with his new swayback pad. Seems like the bridging is gone. Yay!
I also noticed that he's getting a little bit chunky. Hah, wow! Well, as long as he doesn't get fat, and doesn't founder... if he stays sound enough for a while, we'll start riding soon. Soon as I am sure he's fine and soon as I'm not too nervous about riding again. I'm nervous about starting up again. I know, I'm silly. :/
Anyway, I tried the saddle on him. I think I need to use the rear cinch with it anyway, even though I'm not roping cattle. We'll see.
Then I took the saddle off (oh he was making such a tragic face when I saddled him up, heh, this is a horse that has gotten used to not working) and made a point of walking him around in the arena. He was very good. He was downright sprightly on the walk back to the pasture, which just told me that he wasn't hurting in any way, he just didn't want to leave his herd and grass. He had to help me walk back up there because the struggle down the road took too much out of my ankles, but he was just fine with that- he was going back to pasture! He was kind enough to not toss the halter when I took it off him, but he did turn around and walk away rather brusquely, heheh. Eventually he'll see coming out of pasture as a good thing again. It'll just take a little time for the memory of stall rest to fade.
So anyway, I have pictures! Pictures of Solly and some of his friends out at pasture.
By the way, while Solomon makes a lot of little noises, the other horses in pasture are almost always silent. Silent and ninjalike. And they like to stand in a ring around me and, after giving a soft greeting noseblow, very gently rest their noses on me. And just stand there. Touching me with their noses. In a circle. Buh?

Solomon, out at pasture, looking suspicious. That metal trough is on the other side of the fence, prolly a holdover from the days when the barn was a cattle ranch. His eyes were all goopy, and I did manage to wash them when I got him in, though he was QUITE displeased about it.

His saddle:

No bridging now. Look at that belly though! He's getting wormed tomorrow, but I think that's a new grass belly, not a worm belly.

He had just whinnied up a storm here, and then I reappeared in the tackroom doorway.

Most of his herd, but not all of them! A very colorful bunch, eh?

Venus! She always comes up and says hi. :) She's usually hanging out with Solomon. I guess he won the fight for her?

To bite, or not to bite?

Bobby the 2 year old says "are you lookin' at me?" Actually he's really sweet and friendly too. He comes up to see me when I come out there as well.

YAAAAAAAWN!!!! I don't know his name.

He has a cute face

And a blue eye! Actually they are both blue. Horse pupils are kind of rectangular, like a goat's.

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