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 8, 2009

Kizim's big day!

Yaaaay my car is fixed! :D
I got to go out and see my big grey baby. I brought S____ along with me. It's great to have company, she's a good friend, and she asks Bo questions that I wouldn't think of. I learn twice as much. :D And she loves is up there, loves the interaction with Bo and with the horses.

Solomon is back in with the geldings. Why? Because sadly, as happy as he was, his happiness is not the only happiness we have to take into account. He did okay, but one of the mares decided to squeal at him CONSTANTLY. Teddy Bear was constantly kicking the fence at him. He was running the mares an awful lot. And he was keeping poor Bo and DeDe up all night long. So wonderful as it was to see him all sparked up like a stallion, Solomon had to go back in with the boys. He was in with Remmy and Poco Joe when I arrived at the ranch yesterday. He loves Poco Joe, and Remmers picks on him. Well, sometimes it's good for him to remember that he isn't the Ultimate Man In Charge Of Everything.
He paced the fenceline the first couple of nights in with the boys, but now he's doing fine. He really would prefer to be in with the mares, but this isn't so bad either.

Solomon of course came to the gate and nickered to me. He nickers to me a lot nowadays. Makes me beam every time he does it.

We went through the obstacle course. Over the jumping log, which he just stepped over. In and out of the backup chute. Into the roundpen, where I roundpenned him. He wasn't so into cantering this time, but now I have his number and know that he can do it. He just isn't as inclined to when he isn't trying to impress mares. But he got quite a workout! Then I jogged in a circle with him at liberty. He trotted along behind me in time to my footfalls in one direction, but decided to just walk in the other, hah!

Solly got alfalfa (the boys are a little higher competition for food) and his feed pan. For some reason I didn't get any pictures of him today, but I did give him lots of love and a fresh coating of fly spray, which he stood very quietly for. Those horse flies are nasty and I think he makes the connection between fly spray and a lack of flies now. Or, at the least, he has learned to tolerate it, except for getting it rubbed on his face, which he will still give me a token head-toss about. If I just tell him "come on Solly, head down," he'll lower his head for me though.

One thing that makes me just a little bit sad- often when I go to halter him, he'll try to take the halter in his mouth like a bit. Sniff sniff! I wish we could ride.

But today was mostly about Kizim!

Kizim is a bit overweight and needs to get a bit more muscle. Today we did some hill work with her.

Where are we going?

Up up up the hill.

S_____ oversees while Kizim tires to steal a bite of grass.

A steep incline is our arena for the day, and first Bo and Kizim go up and down the less-steep way. There are three main purposes to this work-
1. Working her muscles without the strain of a rider, and working muscles that you can't do so much for on the flat. Butt and topline muscles, neck muscles, all kinds of muscles come into play when going up and down hills. Solomon and I need to do this as well.
2. Collection from the ground. Coming down the hill she learns to tuck her legs under her butt. Soon she also learns to lower her head and put her back and neck into the work, both for balance and for added power.
3. Sure-footedness. Kizim will make a really excellent trail horse for somebody. She is sound, well-built, and quiet. She also has mountains in her blood- she's a mustang. Practice always helps though! Doing this teaches her how to move her body up and down steep terrain. She did very well with this, by the way. Being barefoot (something Mustangs tend to be very well suited for) helps her with traction as well.

Starting to tuck her legs under her butt.

Putting her head and neck into the work... the muscles all along the rop of her back come into play here as well.

The wheels are turning. I think she might be listening to S___ here. Or maybe she's wondering what is up with these crazy humans.


Now it's time for the steeper route. Don't you just love her dun markings? That dorsal stripe is great.

Picking her way up the hill. She is being very careful about every step she takes, and really powering through it. I think she's also stealing a mouthful of grass, haha!

Look at that great head position.

Climbing up again.

And down.

Hey, she's got it down! And it's starting to be fun.

So now it's time for hillside lunging! Yeehaw!

Note the mouthful of grass that she ends up with at one point, heh!

S___ led her going back down the road to the main part of the ranch. Kizim was a pro at hills at this point. I think this is a cute photo.

Next I got to see Kizim get ridden gently. She did turns. She's learning leg cues, and she is a quick study. She did some beautiful beginnings of sidepasses. Her head carriage with a nice loose rein was quite nice and collected. She really looks like quite a pleasure to ride!

As the sun began to set, S___ and I said goodbye to Kizim. S___ really likes her! We agreed that she's a pretty girl in her own mustang way. I personally love a huge head. And goodness, a sane, sound, well-built horse is worth her weight in gold. I care about that a lot more than pedigree or refinement. Hah, if I had the money for a second horse, I'd probably buy her myself. She'd be a great first riding horse for someone.

Kizim not only loves treats, but she also loves people. She'll happily lick the palm of your hand all day.

Don't you just want to stroke that long, sweet face? I know I couldn't resist.

S____ and I did some ranch chores, watering all the horses and mucking a couple of stalls. We both actually enjoy doing that sort of thing, and enjoy being of use out on the ranch.
This morning I weighed myself, and I have lost 2 more pounds! Ranch aerobics works for me!

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