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Monday, October 20, 2008

How to Ride a Horse

I can hear my regular readers snickering as soon as they read the subject title, they know what's coming.

Saturday, I had set a date with my horse neighbor to go riding. We had planned on going Wednesday, however it was flooding here, and we didn't go. Saturday was gorgeous weather. All my children ran off to there respective neighborhood friends homes and I was left alone. Good good. I walked out and went to find my horse neighbor. She was working with her paint, Tacoda. He doesn't want to go into a trailer, and they have been working on it for weeks. He was 4 years old when she bought him, no one had ever been on his back. His original owner had him locked up in a small area behind a garage. She has had him two years, and he has come along way. I digress, I found my horse neighbor and we chatted a bit. I went back home to see if I could lure Sunny out of the back field.

He is a whore for food. A handful of grain tempted him up. I got his lead on, and he came quietly up front. I tied his lead up, and began to brush him out. He was feeling a little ornery, and wouldn't stand still. I managed to get him brushed out, and placed the blanket on his back. Next the saddle. Ummm. . . not going to happen. He skipped around, wiggling out from underneath the saddle. Then my horse neighbor called out, asking if I needed help. of course I do!

I lead Sunny to the fence, where my horse neighbor held his halter while I replaced the blanket, and grabbed the saddle. Her holding him didn't work. I got the saddle up, but when it came to actually fitting it, I was pushed up against the fence more times than would be comfortable. Wrap, bump, fence, wrap, bump fence. Eventually I got the clover hitch accomplished, no bloody fence like marks on my back, and was able to get the bit in. I lead him over to the truck, because mounting a horse requires muscles I haven't used in a while, and started to mount. My left foot was in the stirrup and my right leg was just crossing over his back when he decided to leave. I was holding on for dear life, my horse neighbor yelling, stop him! HOW!?! I quickly , grunted, and managed to pull myself up onto the saddle, grab his reigns and got Sunny to stop.

Then proceeded to walk about the yard. Get him comfortable with my lead. Out the gate we went, and into the horse neighbors yard as she saddled up her perfectly obedient paint. Sunny paced a bit under me, not wanting to hold still, determined to go for a run. The horse neighbor tried to give Sunny a carrot as we waited for her horse to stop holding his gut in. Sunny wanted nothing to do with it. The horse neighbor had to get Tacoda to do some lunges, forcing him to let his gut down. Then she cinched him up and we were off.

We walked down her drive way, and Sunny tried to turn left, to go back to our home, it was a struggle to get him to go right. As we walked down the road, he kept fighting with me to go into others fields to greet various horses. We got to the end of our road, and he willing turned the direction I wanted to go. But there is something about this new road that Sunny couldn't help himself from acting out. walk, walk, walk, trot, whoa, stop GO, walk, walk, trot, whoa, stop, GO, walk walk trot, RUN!!! WHOA SUNNY! STOP SUNNY! I'M GOING TO FALL SUNNY! He ran, right up a ditch and stumbled. My life flashed before my eyes, before I got him to stop. I had to continuously hold his reigns, because as soon as I let off he was going for a run, again. I waited for the horse neighbor that had no idea that I hadn't done that on purpose. Once we got around the corner, Sunny was fine, and I only had to slow him down a couple of time.

My horse neighbor and I have opposite problems. Her paint doesn't want to go, and my Quarter horse doesn't want to stop! Sunny likes to lead, Tacoda likes to follow. However Sunny will not allow Tacoda to walk to close to the lead, even when we are side by side. He has to be in front, even gives Tacoda the evil eye and he walks or trots faster to get ahead of him. Then there came the dogs. They were biting at our horses, the owner was standing outside, and I yelled at him to get his dogs. Now I get that the guy doesn't speak English, but come on! If someone is looking right out you screaming and pointing at your dogs, I think you could catch a hint. But no. We got past the house and dogs, and continued on our way. We once again had reached my home. Sunny took off and stopped at the gate. I had to fight with him to get him back out onto the road. We were going to walk about once again.

Out into the road, my non English speaking neighbor was behind us on his horse. Tacoda had an issue with this, and froze. He wouldn't move until the other horse had gone by. The NES (non-English Speaking) Neighbor walked his horse by. Smiling and saying "Hello, how are you?" Then ignoring or not understanding when he was told fine and asked, how are you?

The horse neighbors paint, is a little spooky, so if a car is coming, we stop. Two minivans were coming from either direction, I called them out for my horse neighbor who was a little ways behind me, turned Sunny about, and made my way back to her. The NES was thrown as one of the minivans went past. He stood back up and we watched to make sure he was OK. His horse was spooked and he didn't spend any time calming her, instead he fought with her to get back up. Once he was up, he kicked her hard, she ran, and he yanked back on her reigns. That is not how you treat a horse. No wonder he didn't care if his dogs were biting our horses.

Around the block again. Same things happened on that one street, Sunny wanted to run it. Eventually we made it back home, my left shoulder aching from Sunny and I's argument. He stood still to allow me to dismount. I removed the tack, and got him some grain. He stood there while I brushed him out again.

Oh, did I tell you we went riding on Sunday as well? I'll tell you about that adventure tomorrow.

10 comments:

MeadowLark said...

Not exactly the peaceful ride one would hope for. :)

Donna said...

I'm too old for THAT kind of horseback riding! Thank goodness for my old, reliable Blue.

Anita said...

Your NES neighbor sounds like someone who ends up on the Animal Planet's animal control officer's hit lists...

Robbyn said...

lol, sounds like exciting times ahead!

EJ said...

No wonder you had a hard time when you let the horse reign ;)

Horses have reins.

Looking forward to you further adventure with all your animals!

Florida Homesteader said...

Forgive me, but I cannot understand why you would force a horse to do something he obviously didn't want to do. No matter he was ornery. I never forced my horse to ride if he clearly did not want to. I figured he was just not feeling like it that day, and let it go. Horses have feelings too.

Hot Belly Mama - taking it all back said...

oh, that was a pretty smart horse. he had you pegged the moment you walked in. how do I know? because at the end of it all, he was like a southern cowboy who just tussled you up in a bar. "howdy mam, hope you enjoyed that," and let you walk out the swinging doors with a messy head of hair and feigned grace. lol.

em said...

Didn't even read it to the end this time. Sounds not funny, just dangerous and completely avoidable with proper training including ground-work and speaking some equus. You don't want to get yourself killed, do you? A horse who behaves like that during the saddling should not be ridden at all. Not because he "does not want" but because he doesn't trust in people. You always start from the ground, make sure the horse moves when you want to and where you want to. If this doesn't happen on the ground, it won't happen when you're riding. No horse "walks over" people. Ever.

"He doesn't want to go into a trailer, and they have been working on it for weeks. "

Any horse can be taught to load themselves in a trailer in 20 minutes without any pain or fear from the horse's side. Just to let your neighbours know.

I seriously recommend Kelly Marks and Monty Roberts again at this point before anyone gets hurt big time. You, the kids or... the horse.

All the best!

Phelan said...

Meadowlark, not at first.

Donna, same here.

Anita, NES really ticks me off.

Robbyn, nope, thankfully.

ej, opps, h! I am a dork at times.

hotbelly, he is a smart one. But we are bonding more and more everyday.

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