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.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Soft as a cat.

I sure wish my camera was still working so I could share photos of today with you all.

Today the weather was just gorgeous!
Early November in Pope Valley is lovely. I pulled Solomon out of his pasture soon after arriving at the ranch. DeDe was kind enough to give me a ride up to Solly. He came to me at a stately walk. Well, stately except for all the nickering. I don't mind that one bit.

Solomon's winter coat has come in, soft as a cat and sparkling white like filaments of diamonds. We only made it a little ways down the road before a patch of lush green grass tempted me too much to continue. I knew it would make Solomon very happy to graze on it for a bit, and I also knew it would be a very comfy spot to lie down. After an hour and a half of driving (half of it in crazy traffic) I am always happy to take a rest.
The grass was so fragrant, especially strong when Solomon cropped it short. He ate around me in a circle, mouth occasionally nuzzling my side as he picked out particularly tasty blades. I felt quite safe, even when, at one point, one of his front legs pressed lightly against my feet. I caught his leg between them for a moment and said "I gotchya, Solly!" Solomon, for his part, just rotated an ear at me and continued eating. He knew just where I was, and he is not one to spook these days.
After I let him graze for a while, we continued on. I tied him to the trailer instead of the patience tree today because some people were doing a pre-purchase exam on the Little Bay Gelding. Solomon took it in stride.
He picked up his feet very nicely for me, once again only needing me to tap the first fetlock gently. After that he just picked up whatever foot I stood next to.
His feet, by the way, are looking just excellent. They have completely turned around! The farriers did an amazing job and he seems to feel very good. Still no signs of the black slimy thrush or white chalky yeast. Just clean, tough feet. They were quite easy to pick out as well.
Solomon got a nice deep feed pan of very fresh LMF Senior, which I bought from the little tack store at the race track today. It smells so good when you first cut the bag open. Nice and soft, too. Solomon dug in with gusto, munching away while I watched the vet run the LBG around and around on a lunge line for the PPE. Then they took him in the roundpen and ran him around on the lunge line with a lunge whip. Silly vet... the lunge line in a roundpen with a Western horse is kind of redundant. :p
Once they were done and Solomon was finished eating, I took him into the pen to work him.
And wow, did we have a great day with that!
I discovered something that I think he enjoys. It is surprising to me, but today he actually felt like cantering, and even broke into one voluntarily a couple of times. He got going really fast, too! So I decided hey, what the heck, let's try a rollback at the canter. So I gave him the signal and said "SPINNNNNN" and he did! He spun himself around and went running the other direction. And he was excited! No grumpy face today... in fact, his neck got a little arch to it, and the ear that wasn't turned to me was perked forward. He sped up, and went tearing around the pen... well, tearing around for him anyway. "SPINNNNN!" And he spun again. We did it a good number of times, until his chest and shoulders were drenched in sweat. Then I had to get him calmed down enough to walk out for a little while, which he was pretty good about. After I signaled him to walk around a couple of rounds, I had him follow me, which he did very well, even rolling back with me.
I took him to the wash rack and hosed him down. He raised his head when I washed his neck, but did not panic, letting me spray him all the way to his cheeks. He has come to trust me a lot more these days.
Then it was time for me to become Evil Darth Mom. You see, Solomon was due for worming today. When he saw the meds, he tossed his head and then begged me to not make him take it, ducking his head low in his "pleading" stance. I was acclimating him to the tube when Bo came up and taught me a neat little trick- sticking the lead rope in his mouth like a bit. He chomped at it, and I was able to shove the tube of wormer right in. He spat out the little wads of grass he'd been saving somewhere in the back of his mouth for a treat and made a lot of faces. Then he huddled up to me for comfort. I praised him for being a good boy and stroked his neck.
Next we went out to his favorite tree, where I set him loose. He rolled and managed to get grass stains all over his body, including his face. Go, Sol!
I ended up lying down in the grass again, and Solomon ate around me. A few mares came running over to the fence, heads low, peering at me through the wire. They were wondering what on earth I was doing lying there, I'm guessing. A couple of vultures circled overhead, but Sol and I ignored them.
I went and chatted with D____, a boarder who also rides some of the ranch horses to help keep them in shape. She had a very very stoned mare who had her tear ducts flushed earlier. The mare was snoring on her feet, her lip and ears drooping as low as they could go. You could almost hear her saying "Whoa man... whoa... have you ever looked at your hoof? I mean like, REALLY looked at it?"
Bo told me to catch Solomon and put him back so I could bring out Kizim. I did so, and Kizim was a good girl, excited about coming out. We trotted together part of the way down the road. I picked her feet, and for some reason while I was cleaning out one of her back hooves, she spooked and did a little hop sideways. She was quivering a bit, neck high and tense. I am not sure what spooked her, but I just breathed gently into her nostril, and she calmed down nice and quick. It's a trick that works with a lot of horses... it's a friendly, reassuring communication.
After she calmed down, she was a very good girl about her feet again. Might have been that helicopter that was buzzing around really low.
In the roundpen I wasn't able to get her to go faster than a trot, but that's okay. She got going and got the ants out of her pants.
Then Bo put the bareback pad on her and had me hop on!
She is a very easy horse to mount, being, in my estimation, quite a bit shorter than Teddy Bear and Solomon. It might also be that I have gotten a little more flexible and limber.
Kizim is a great mare. Full of opinions, but quite sweet. She's kind of like sitting on an oscillating, ambulatory sofa. She was quite patient with me. I am very much an amateur. A novice, really. Still learning how to not fall off! But after a while Bo looped the lead rope over her neck for me and let me learn a bit about steering her. There were some ear pinnings and tails swishings when I leaned while trying to turn her, but she was a good girl. I very much enjoyed my ride, and found myself wishing that I could afford to purchase and take care of a second horse. I think she might get sold soon, and I confess that I will miss her.
She got a cookie for being such a good girl. :}
After I put Kizim back in her pasture, I had tea and helped Bo with some computer stuff. Had a great day!

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