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.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Obstinance and Obstacles

Today Imaginethewolf and I went up to the ranch.
Solomon was happily...

Solomon was grumpily enjoying "his" herd of mares. Except well, he tried to round them up and they laughed at him and left a crescent-shape on his butt. But Solly, he's happy to be out there. All this time when he has been let loose, he's told us what he's wanted. Every time he has gone to his favorite tree next to the herd. So now he is in with them, with the mares and the fillies.

He could have gone anywhere in the pasture, but he chose to keep close to the herd.

Bo and DeDe had a talk with me about the new dynamic. While a really mixed herd, or a herd of geldings would be one thing, this was another. One gelding, new, and a firmly established herd of mares, can be a dangerous thing. They could attack him when they know that I have him haltered and tied. They could try to chase him off me. They could rush for the gate. Awareness and caution had to be brought up to a whole new level. I had to be really aware and cautious.

Luckily, while Solomon wanted to hang out with the herd, he was just as willing to hang out with me, and he hovered halfway between them and I. He let me lead him out quite willingly, and the mares ignored him.

Once I got him out of view of the mares, however, I saw an old side of Solly that I hadn't seen since I moved him from Hossmoor.

Where's Waldo?

Fancy Tail!

He was acting quite herdbound. At first I thought it was because he was near the Little Bay Gelding, who has gone to live with Lil and Lilly The Filly. But no, he was calling for his mares, Bo said.

Imaginethewolf, actually let's call her S____ because Imaginethewolf is a screen name and too long to keep typing, hah. S____ and I brushed Solly down. He was a dancypants, swinging himself all over the place around that tree. Just on the cusp of dangerous, heh. Well, there was no rearing, so I've seen him act a lot worse. Silly boy.

This old nest, by the way, hangs by a hair from the Patience Tree.

Those must have been some comfy baby birds!

We moved Solomon to the trailer, which is parked next to the round pen now. Solomon could see his herd, and there was a hay net. Love from S____ completed the deal, and he calmed down somewhat.

Bo said that the thing to do was not let him go back just because he wanted to, but to engage his mind and get him to think about us instead of the mares. I was a little nervous about taking him in and out of the trailer, so Bo did it first.

After doing it three times, he had me take Solomon in and out. Solly was a good boy about it. He was still high strung, but he was listening.

Next, we took him in the chute and had him walk forward then back out.

The wheels were turning in his head.

Though he still looked for his mares. And gave his opinion of the exercise.

Somebody might steal them away, you know!

Solomon pulled his stubborn act on the way to the lumber mill area, also known as the obstacle course, or the Field of Screams.

Yeah, that's my boy.

As an aside, my pants are way, WAY too big now. I've lost over 14 pounds and while I can't see the difference, apparently my pants can. I'm even going to need to buy a new belt soon.

Anyway, with a lot of coaxing we got him over to the course.

OMG LOOK a TARP! For some reason people really like training their horses to overcome the horror that is a tarp. It spooks a lot of horses. I don't know how often tarps are an issue out on the trail or in the arena, but they are seen as something of a benchmark. They are big and crinkly and they can flap around. "yeah, so?" said Solomon. Here I am, pointing to it. Oooh aaaaah!

LEMME GO said Sol-Sol.

So then he stomped on it until it was dead.

It's LOG! It's LOOOOG!

Wiggly tail, wiggly butt.

For some reason turning around and walking over the exact same logs was a much bigger challenge for Solomon. On that side of the second log there were a few smaller logs, and it made the obstacle seem a little daunting to him, even though he had just crossed it.

S____ showed him that it was not a man-eating log.

After some effort, Solomon followed her over!

Heh, this one makes me laugh.

So then I got the bright idea to do a little bit of jumping with Solly! He was surprisingly game. I think he enjoys jumping, actually. If we were both younger and free of injuries, I'd give it a go with him under saddle. We did this twice and I think he would have happily done it a lot more. If I have him trotting or running and shout "JUMP!" he'll do it, haha!


Next Bo lead us on a long trip around the course, over taps, logs, hoses, and mats. Up and down embankments, between logs, through wood piles, and over a big split log. Here's a bit of it. Solomon stumbled over a hole at one point, but he was okay.

After that fun, we went to Sol's favorite tree. He saw that the foal was napping and walked over to nicker at her.

She was Very Annoyed and raced to her feet.

Thus rejected, Solomon returned to try to steal the nectarines that S____ and I were eating.

Solomon got his grain pan (oh how happy he was about that!) and then since the herd had wandered off to the far side of the pasture, I was able to set him loose inside with no angry mare drama.

Solomon was very thirsty after a hard day of carrying on, stomping tarps, and walking over logs.

Bye mom!

And across the pasture he went...

...to meet the Unwelcoming Committee.

Eh, he'll fit in eventually. And he is happy to be in there!


jeniferb said...

i did the obstacle course too with LIl. I was impressed with her, she did it all. I don't think she would have done it so easily before she was up there. Of course Lilly was in front of her and she goes everywhere with Lilly.

Evergrey said...

And now she has the Little Bay Gelding too! They all get along quite well. She's a hppy girl these days...

littledog said...

I hate making comments about people's body shape, because my sister has always called me "Skeletor" and an ex-boyfriend once referred to me as "scrawny" (just as hurtful as body judgement comments sometimes are to larger ladies, and why are only women expected to be perfect?)

But since you brought it up---I have to say you look like you've lost a LOT more than 14 lbs! Just look at pictures of yourself from last year and compare: muscle weighs more than fat, and I bet you've lost more like 28 lbs of fat and gained 14 lbs of muscle! I mean, you have a waist now, and your posture tells more of a story than your pants.

I hope I didn't offend you at all by this comment. For all of us, no matter what our body style, improvements in our physical health and stamina is just one more joyful thing to thank for our relationship with horses! You are looking good, girl!

Evergrey said...

Why, thank you so very much! It is great to hear such things, as I can't really see it myself. :D I'm all about the muscle, heh. When I was a little girl, it wasn't about how pretty I was, t was about how strong I was. I always wanted to show off what I could lift.

Today my back hurts, but yesterday I went swimming for a few hours, and I really SWAM. It felt good.