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.

Monday, March 8, 2010

My first day back alone!

The other day I skipped my morning medications, and was able to drive myself to the ranch alone!

This beautiful girl who was winging around the pasture represents the feeling pretty well. I think she's a peregrine falcon.

It was a gorgeous spring day, a day of joy for horses.

Even the vultures seemed cheerful.

The first thing I did was muck stalls with Bo. Then I went off to the pasture.

Cali is a very friendly, curious girl. A tiny bit mouthy, really playful, and full of energy. I just adore her. And it was, as always, wonderful to see Solomon.

After this, I started walking to the gate, then took off running. Solomon trotted by my side perfectly in sync with me, as if I were holding a rope and we were doing showmanship. The other horses got really excited by this.

Note Solomon patiently waiting by the gate, watching the shenanigans.


Lena and Teddy Bear got into it too! Lena, pretending to be an Arab:

Teddy Bear Mare!

She's making crazy-eyes!

Spring has truly begun at the ranch!

Solomon did his primary job for a little while.

But then I took his feedpan into the round pen. He followed, trotting over and nickering away. He was happy to go into the working-place when there was clearly food involved. I didn't want to kneel on the sodden, saturated ground to pick his feet, so I decided to just take us into the pen straightaway.

Sol's back is really not looking great these days, but he is still full of try. He was a good boy for me, only NOT slowing down and walking. I will have to work a bit on lowering my energy. What I DID end up doing, and there's a bit of it at the end of this video, is moving mostly to hand and voice cues, dropping the whip on the ground and using my bare hand, body language, and my voice to direct instead.

I did need to pick up the whip to signal a turn to him. We will work on that. He also came in a lot and circled me a lot more tightly... but circle he did, instead of just winging out and spinning to face me. He seemed to feel quite comfortable with it! We'll work on this more... Always I am working on softening my cues. Bo has told me that it's time to take things to a new level. That I am moving beyond obvious, exaggerated cues, and it is time for me to figure out what I can do with less. Not to make kissy noises and wave my hands to top a horse going through a gate, but instead, just hold up my hand and focus. It can work!

When I was just using my hands, after a while, and wanting Sol to ho, I would think "stop" and start to put my palm up in the air, and he would stop before I could even say "ho."

After we finished the roundpenning, I decided I was going to just sit down on the ground in the roundpen with Solly. Some people would say "that is too dangerous!" With some horses that is true. With ANY horse, there is always a risk, of course. But Solomon and I trust each other a lot. When I sat down, he walked right up to me, with his feet almost touching. And he stood there, his neck arcing over my body, his head on the other side of me. He went into protective mode. Cuddling up close for comfort, and keeping an eye on the world around us. Any time anything moved, even a car way out on the road, he raised his head and tracked it.

He did get a little sleepy after a while though.

I wonder how many people spend time looking at their horse from this angle?

Yep, my face was filthy, haha! But I was happy, and so was he.

I love my Solomon. He is the most patient horse ever.

He just stood there, and eventually the had slowly slid down his nose and fell to the ground. He didn't move at all. Just stared at me as if to say "yeah okay mom."

I do wish someone had realized what a special horse he was earlier in life. I wish someone had not let all those bad things happen to him. Maybe he could have been a great rein cow horse. Well he isn't built to be the ultimate champion... but he is such a good boy, I think for the right person he would have really tried his best.

But you know what? He still counts. He still matters. I still love him.

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