Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ride em like they are two

Mugwump said that to me when I questioned about Indigo's confidence issue.

I baled hay on the wagon all by myself the other day. It wasn't bad because I only had to do one load and then the rest was round baled. Driving a tractor isn't work at all.
The first four square bales were HEAVY! Like upwards of 100 pounds. We loosened the baler and commenced and it wasn't that bad except for the fact that I am terrible at lifting above my head so by the time I reached the end of the wagon I was huffing and puffing from trying to heft bales nearly my whole weight above my head. I got it done though

Theres something satisfying about lifting bales of hay. When you are done you always feel accomplished. You also always feel like you never ever want to do it again; until next years first cut of hay. It really isn't all that bad.

Once I was done when the hydraulic line on the tractor burst I went to ride. First I picked the three year old out of the paddock. Before I started riding her this spring she had a pretty traumatizing carriage accident where the breeching (your breaks) broke: moral of that story is keep your tack in good repair.
She now has some fear issues but shes pretty trusting about me flopping around on her back. She doesn't mind when I lean over and touch her anyplace or grab things off the fence or make sudden movements. Shes pretty cool, unless something scares her.

She blows and snorts and prances and holds her head high enough to knock your lights out if you aren't paying attention on her back. Since this accident shes got a bolting issue. When she gets scared she wants to run blindly.
They were cutting the wheat a farm over. She could hear the tractors behind the barn from the round pen. She refused to go more than halfway across the pen towards the big monsters. I don't get it. She has seen more tractors in her life than my mare Indigo who is almost five times her age (who doesn't even batt a lash at them). Horses still confuse me.
She was never afraid of things before her accident with the carriage. Not afraid of noises in the bushes, not afraid of tractors or trucks or cars. Now as soon as they come close and I don't let her run she freaks.
She could see the round bales sitting in the field from behind the bushes outside the round pen. When I swung a leg up and walked around that way she charged away from them, throwing her head high and blowing loudly.
I decided the pen was only being a barrier. We ventured out. She snorted and rattled and pranced as we walked through the field of round bales. She sees round bales every day. Hell we were stacking them in the barn just an hour before as she stood at the gate and tried to reach far enough to eat them. Horses, they always find new ways of challenging me.

Once I got her close enough to realize that they were edible we played a game. We walked from round bale to round bale. At each one she got to stop and take a bite. Soon she was having fun, she wanted to trot to the next round bale I pointed her to. It was time to get back on. I hopped up and she seemed more relaxed now that she could actually see the round bales. Before the bushes were the barrier. I rode her around from round bale to round bale. We weaved between them and then trotted across the driveway to the other field. More round bales, and her siblings and mother screamed when they seen her. I could tell she wanted to be near them. We went to the edge of the field by the scary porta john. A cat rustled in the tall grass and she spooked. I stopped her but she nearly unseated me in her attempt to bolt. Did I mention I have ridden bolters all my life? Shes not that bad but shes still a little more unpredictable than I would like.

We walked back to the barn. I made her side up to the round pen for me to grab some stuff off the fence and I dismounted on the hay wagon.

I rinsed her and threw her back outside where Indigo was waiting, ears forward and a friendly flutter of her nostrils in anticipation of her turn.

I feel guilty. Every time I take another horse instead of Indigo she follows me in the paddock, I put the halter on the other horse she looks at me with a "You traitor!" look and follows me and the other horse to the barn door. She waits for me and the other horse to come back for her turn.

Shes an attention seeker. She loves people. She loves it when I come out into the barnyard and lock all the other horses out and let her sneak around without their gnashing teeth.

When my dad weed whacks shes right there with her nose next to him. Sometimes he forgets that shes in the barnyard and leaves the barn door open only to discover her big grey rear sticking out of the door as she creeps into the barn. I call her creeper.

I tacked up and plopped on her back. We played the same round bale game as I did with the three year old. I was a little more in tune with her after feeling all the tension of the three year old. Indigo knew exactly what the round bales were. Shes pretty confident when it comes to new things but some things that startle her (like rustling bushes) she jumps at and tries to trot ahead. Silly mare.

We didn't do much but it was an awesome ride. I worked on trotting circles and walking circles and following my body language rather than using reins. Pretty good feeling to have a ride like that. No spooking, only fun.

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