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.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bath day.

So Solly came to the gate to see me today, though I would say it was more of a mud-ski than a walk. He was very careful about it though- he pretty much just slip his hooves along the ground, slowly and carefully. The entrance to the pasture is so slippery right now! I almost went down three times out there today.
It was raining, and he was wet and dirty. Not all muddy, but dirty, as he hadn't had a bath since shoot, September I think.

Man, totally soaking wet on top at least:

And here I was worried he wouldn't get wooly!

So I hadn't pushed a boulder up a mountain for a while, and I am paranoid about rain rot and whatever else can grow on a dirty wet horse, so I figured hey, I might as well wash him. There's a hot water wash rack and a friend gave me this nifty big cotton blanket for wicking up moisture after a winter bath, so off we went.
Solly walked around very nicely until it became clear that we were going to the Evil Horrid Bathing Place Full Of Acid And Bears.
then of course he planted his feet. My stud chain has gone missing (I think he hid it somewhere) and I didn't want a long fight, but I anticipated stubbornness (it IS Solomon after all) and packed a carrot in my pocket. Half of this was offered up at the back of the rack. He decided that it was worth it, thank goodness.

So yea verily, there was washing and scrubbing. There was also, of course, pawing and stomping, though he was a very good boy for most of the time. MOST of it. We have a compromise going now where I barely dribble any water at all when I am washing his upper neck. He cannot stand the thought of the horse spraying close to his face. I misted his face but that was it. So his face is still kind of yellow, but that's okay. Instead of breaking his skull on the roof, he just curled his upper lip back when I misted him. His tail is now so long that the tip of it drags on the ground. I should cut it just a bit but I don't want to make it look stupid. Maybe I should just grip the very end tightly and sorta pull the tip a bit. I don't know.

But then he got tired of being bathed, and unclipped himself from one side of the cross ties.

"What?" you may be saying, "that's not possible! How could he do that?"

Be assured that I am asking myself the same thing. I think that we are all doomed. I think tomorrow I will find that horse out in the pasture building a robot. A robot with lasers.

So I had been scrubbing his tail and the next thing I knew Solomon was running around the post, out into the muddy and sorta steep embankment next to the rack. And then he was tossing his head. I swear to you it looked like he was trying to grab the clip with his lips.

"Stop. Stop, you're going to freak yourself out," I said, and he listened I guess and let me unclip him and lead him back around, until we got back to the wash rack, whereupon he planted his feet again. Good think I had that other carrot half. I wasn't rewarding him for escaping of course, but for coming all the way back in.

The rest of the bath went very well, heh.

So we walked to his paddock, which is sort of like jail with good food in his mind. Except there was a strange horse in his stall. The hell? So I put him in the next stall. He was displeased, oh so displeased. Paw paw paw.

Well I moseyed on over to the BO's house and asked her what was up. Turns out 3 new horses moved in last night at around 10pm, and they were so herdbound that they panicked if they weren't all next to each other. They'd lived in a pasture together for years. I rarely bring Solly in so the BO didn't anticipate me needing his paddock. Totally understandable, I don't mind. Solly stayed in the paddock next door for a while.

I brushed and brushed and brushed him, in part to get him nice and dry, and in part to mend fences since he had to endure that horrible evil bath. He got nice and relaxed, but also really bored.

Oh, but it was neat to see him CLEAN.

I brushed his tail too, that took forever. It's so long! I joked with one of the stable hands that I should make hair extensions out of it, hah.

So yes. He sparkled. He gleamed. He was gorgeous. He was FURIOUS.

Hard to control walking back to the pasture. He was worried he'd end up on stall rest again, I think, and still mad about the bath. Hopefully he'll remember that he got brushing and massage and that he got to go back out again. We need more positive paddock experiences. I hurt the side of my finger a bit. Stupid rope burn. he wanted to run so badly that he dragged me a couple of feet. I made him stop and lower his head for me to take off the halter though. Sigh.

Those of you who have worked with horses know what happened after I set him loose in the pasture, of course.

He went running, he climbed a little hill of gravel to scout out the best, nastiest, dirtiest spot, and when he found it he rolled in it. Well, it was new mud and filth instead of old mud and filth! So uh yeah! Mission accomplished!


Puh-leeze said...

Ha! They do find that new mud, don't they?
I've found that most of them don't like the spray in their face. A damp (not sopping) sponge can be utilized for facial hygiene. And, a bucket is good for tail washing.

I didn't comment on your herd dynamics post, but will do so now. I have absolutely no experience in that area; I think your friend is spot-on encouraging you to study this. I have seen some things that are true as a "general rule" such as: turning out in odd numbers in smaller areas leads to trouble. If there are 3, then 2 will usually gang up on the other. But I haven't made a concerted effort to learn about herd dynamics; my bad. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Evergrey said...

Yar, I often sponge his face. I found these little makeup wedges at the dollar store for uh... for a dollar, heh. I use one a day usually to clean his eyes, though I have been lax the past couple of days. He has come to tolerate it though.

The herd Solly is in is really big, so it gets pretty complicated. I feel badly for the horse with ringbone but they all get on okay. Even the recent transplant from a life of always being in a stall is doing well now. :)

I posted a few pics in the most recent one, though it's kinda basic. I think more than anything it's learning how to get a "feel" for the mood of the herd and learning to sorta visualize the invisible bands of pressure between each horse.