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, December 2, 2009

Ground driving

Hello folks,
Very sorry for long delays! I went out of town, and then I got very, very sick for a while.

So the last time I went up, we started Solomon on ground driving. He was quite baffled, but I think I was equally confused, hah! I was clumsy and I kept hitting myself with the rope. Well, more for me to work on!

We spent a lot of time driving Solomon at the trot on a line, then pulling him and moving to his other shoulder, switching hands and spinning the rope to drive him in the other direction. We discovered that, especially with me, he didn't easily turn inwards. It was not, so much, attitude as it was confusion. I have to learn how to communicate what I want him to do more clearly, and he has to learn what it is that is being asked of him. When he turned away from me, wrapping the rope around his own hocks, we used that opportunity to teach him to turn back around, winding him up and then spinning him out.

There is a lot to keep track of. Keeping the proper slack in the rope, keeping the proper body position, keeping yourself in the right area in relation to the horse, keeping the rope spinning JUST enough to get him moving, but with as little pressure and effort as possible, keeping the horse moving at the desired pace... Bo made it look effortless, and I was quickly exhausted. I felt like a wimp, hah!

After a while Bo put a second line on Solly's halter, and drove him around. He actually did pretty well with that, given that this was probably the first time he'd ever had someone try to ground drive him. Bo demonstrated how to drive Solomon and how to get him to turn this way and that, and do figure 8s.

Eventually we'll rig a collar to him and hitch him up to a log. He'll stay in shape and live longer with a job to do, and dragging logs is quite a job! He'll learn how to pull farm equippment, and maybe eventually someday he'll learn how to pull a little cart. Can you picture Solomon as a carriage horse? He'd look pretty, that's for sure. We'll have to see how he likes it.

I am really hoping that by Saturday I will be well enough to go up to the ranch again. I get really frustrated when I get sick. I always want to just will myself better, hah! There was a day there where I was barely aware of who or where I was, and the man was out of town. Scary times. But don't worry, I am starting to feel much better!

And by next year I should have a camera again. I've found that the photographs help me remember what happened better, and they help me write. Thank you for your patience. It's been a bit of a rough month, but it should get better from here on out!

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