Saturday, April 27, 2019

Ride 157 - Short & Sweet

I'm posting this way after the fact, so I don't remember all of the details, but for my records I just wanted to write it down.  I hopped on Chrome bareback for a short ride (I forget how long, but probably 20 minutes) before the rain started.  He was very good and we even went for a bareback canter.  We just rode around the house.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Ride 156 - Barely Survived!

 It's sad that my last post was in November talking about my new camera and how I was going to be posting a bunch of photos.... and now I'm posting in April with cell phone pictures lol!!  I have been taking photos with the new camera (I LOVE it!), but I haven't had time to edit or post them.  I have to figure out how to manage my time better because during the week I go to work and then come home and spend an hour or two doing chores (feeding/watering/haying all the animals), then go inside, shower, eat supper and pass out.  On the weekends I'm catching up on cleaning the house and my outside time is spent working the goats (shots, pest control, deworming, trimming hooves, etc.) or doing ground stuff with Chrome (trimming hooves, pest control-sweet itch sucks-pasture maintenance, hand walking, etc.).  By the time I can ride I'm too tired.  It will get better when all of the goat kids are weaned... at least there are no more pregnant ones!  Oh and it's been raining non-stop for months!  Today was the first sunny, warmish weekend day which is why I finally hopped up for a ride.  I'm going to try to do better now that the weather is improving.  Anyway, enough whining!  Let me tell you about my adrenaline filled ride.

There is a reason that the above picture is the only mounted picture lol.  Since I've been hand walking Chrome on the roads and he's been fine I had the bright idea to hop on him for the first time in five months and go for a solo ride out on the road.... stupid!!  I was drunk on sunshine.  That's my excuse.

First ride stats.  We rode for a total of 48 minutes and we covered one and a half miles on the road.  I rode around the house some too, so not all of that time was spent on the road.

On this ride Chrome pulled out every bad habit he has ever displayed.  I think this was the first time I experienced all of them in one ride.  We had spooking, balking, weaving, almost bucking, jigging, spinning and almost bolting.  Yes, all in ONE ride!!  The sad thing is I'm not that upset with him.  I was terrified at certain points and thought I would die once, but I didn't dismount and I really wasn't scared except during his more dramatic moments.  I can't really blame him because I haven't ridden him consistently in a really long time (since I started working full time plus overtime in 2016 to be honest).

Here is the ride breakdown... we started out on the road going the direction he hasn't been in a really long time (I thought it would be smarter to go the direction where there aren't as many horses instead of the direction we go when out for walks) and he was immediately balky.  I just focused on my position, core and keeping my temper.  I gave him a sharp kick when he balked and immediately relaxed and praised him when he would walk.  Then he spotted lots of scary stuff (a freaking mailbox?????) and started eyeballing and veering away from things, including a piece of rubber on the road...

Then he started the weaving, where he tries to circle one way and when I correct he over-corrects and tries to go the other way... annoying.  So I took up the slack in the reins and rode with a strong leg to block his sideways movement.  He finally gave that up and went back to walking hesitantly and occasionally freezing in place when he would see/hear something (anything..everything..).  Annoying, but better than spooking or spinning and bolting.  At one point I was so sick of the balking that I made him trot down the road.  It's so much easier to keep him going at a trot even though I'm risking a bigger spook reaction if something startles him.  That was until he saw a fire hydrant and grew roots again.

So after lots of dramatics (standing rooted to the spot, not really dramatic) over a fire hydrant (to his credit it didn't used to be there and I'm not sure he's ever seen one before-I wish I could have let him approach and sniff it, but the ground was too soft and I was afraid he would sink in the trenches they dug), a stupid horse neighed.  He immediately lost it.  He neighed back (one of my biggest pet peeves) and started trying to trot with his head in the sky (and probably his tail).  I will be fair and say he wasn't full on jigging, he was just walking quickly and bouncily.  The mare I grew up with actually jigged (trotted at the speed of a walk or in place while I was asking for a walk) and that was so annoying, so I'm glad he would actually walk when I told him to.

A car drove by us (slowly and respectfully - thank you stranger) and pulled up to a mailbox, parked and started sorting mail.  I caught up to them and walked around the car.  The guy said "That's a beautiful horse."  I thanked him and felt better about my brat horse lol.

Then we turned up this really steep road that I love to work him on because it's the only hill that is close and not paved (it's normally gravel, but they put this really fine screening gravel on it that is soft and lovely).  I asked him to trot like I normally do (good butt workout and good for his stifles).  He jumped into this huge, wonderful canter.  It was so awesome!  He's so out of shape that he was only able to go six or eight strides (very steep hill), but it was wonderful while it lasted.  That was the first time I'm cantered him uphill and was by far my favorite part of the ride.  I walked him back down (he wanted to trot because he's out of shape, but I didn't let him).  I turned him back up and asked him to trot back up and he did.  I was praising him and petting him like he was the most amazing horse on the planet (he is hehe).

After that we headed home.  He was still wigging out about the horse that neighed at him so he was doing the almost sort of jigging thing and neighed one or two more times.  As we turned to head back I saw a huge dump truck pull into a driveway to drop a load of dirt ahead of us.  Normally I wouldn't worry at all about it because he's a saint around traffic, but the way he was acting on this ride it made me a little apprehensive.

I tried waiting him out, but he was taking forever dumping it so I just continued on my way home.  At the fast walk we were going we would be home in no time since we weren't even a mile away.  About a third of the way back I heard a vehicle approaching behind me so I turned him to face it and waited, thinking it was going to be the dump truck.  It was a van pulling a trailer stacked high with wooden pallets. Of course it was.  I wanted Chrome to see if so he wouldn't spook, but he was too busy staring in the direction of the horses.  I grabbed the rein near his mouth and physically turned his face toward the van.  He spotted it and grew more alert, but he wasn't worried about it.  I relaxed..... until it got almost beside us and I realized the trailer had a flat tire and was doing that weird noise that flat tires make.

Chrome heard it right about then too and it's hard to explain what happened next.  He front end got light (did not rear), then he did this weird in place bucking thing (crowhopping?), then he spun around and I thought he was going to bolt (he's done that before), but since the scary thing was now in that direction I guess he decided he didn't want to gallop after it lol.  I encouraged him to walk toward home so that he wouldn't feel trapped and would think forward and stop thinking "up". 

So we continued to walk very fast toward home.  Then I did hear the dump truck coming behind us from around a blind curve.  I heard him slowing down (he knew we were there) and I hurried Chrome down the driveway of a friend/neighbor's house.  I got halfway down and turned him to face the road.  The dump truck drove slowly past (we waved at each other in greeting-thank you again stranger for being respectful) and he was totally fine.  I guess standing in my neighbor's driveway allowed his brain to kick back in, because after that the rest of the ride home was actually pleasant and on a fairly loose rein, with no spooking or any other shenanigans. 

He was still walking quickly (I don't mind because I like a fast walker over a balker any day),  but wasn't doing the up and down, bouncy, jiggy walk.  When we got to the driveway I insisted he pass it and keep going in the opposite direction.  He wanted to balk, but I very insistently told him to keep going (I should have taken a riding crop, but I forgot because normally he loves to go out on the roads).  Once he relaxed and walked normally (stopped thinking backward) I turned him and went home.

That was an exhausting ride!!  I actually had fun though... I guess because it's just been so long and there was no way I had even a chance to get bored LOL!  Sorry for the wall of text.  I should have worn my GoPro, but it was all last minute.

Since I didn't have riding pictures here are some from before and after the ride.

It took LOTS of brushing to get him this clean.....

I should have known that innocent face was a farce!
I wish his mane wasn't yellow.... so ready for it to be warm enough for bathing.

He looks butt high and sway backed because of the uneven ground, but look at how thin he looks!!!  My gelding is finally not pregnant!!!!  I honestly think part of the reason he was so "up" on the ride is because he's finally not obese (LOVE my slow feet hay net) and has the energy to do stupid crap.  I'm kind of afraid of how hot he'll be if I ever get him in shape.

He stills has dapples!!

Please ignore his gross tail.  It has gotten SO thick and long because I didn't brush it over the winter, but it's very stained.  Blech!  This is why I always said I'd never have a gray horses........ never say never.

 This was right before we headed out on the road.  Such deceptive innocence.

After the ride he had to spend some time tied up to think about his misbehavior....  but look at that sweet face!!  He was an absolutely turd while tied up (he wanted to go graze) and even set back on his halter so hard it took pliers to undo the knot.... even the quick release knot wouldn't release.... I need to get a cotton rope instead of the boat marine rope.  That's why I don't go far.  He has only set back while tied maybe three times in the almost ten years I've had him, but horses are horses and it happens, which is why I don't go far.  Thankfully he immediately stops pulling as soon as I yell at him. 

So I probably should have named this post 'the good, bad and ugly sides of Chrome' haha.  Even with everything that happened I'm not angry at him or anything, because I know he's not normally like that. It's spring, he's eating green grass and he's feeling sparky.  It happens.  It's part of the gamble with horses.  I know he'll be right back to his normal self after a few more rides, so I'm not letting it bother me.  I'm just super proud that I didn't dismount, because that's what I used to do when he would scare me.  I have to recognize the small wins and stay positive!!

Again, sorry for the SUPER long post.  I get carried away.  On that note I have SO much I need to get done so I'll see you when I see you!  Bye guys (if anyone is still here)!!