Saturday, January 22, 2011

Get You Down

Last weekend, I decided to ride horses. It was cold and windy but I was determined. (I get wimpy in less than fair weather.) I bundled up and went out to the barn. I decided to run the horses first because it's been several weeks since any of them have been ridden.

Annie loves to run by herself. She'll run all the way down the arena and back, blitzing past the other horses. She likes to come back and fancy trot around me. Scout and Nadia always stay together. They'll run to the far end and then wait for me to go to them. Then they run to the other end. Sometimes, I can keep them moving and they'll do a full circle or two. Yalla! tends to run with Scout and Nadia but often joins up with Annie for short distances. All the horses were enjoying themselves and Nadia would often neigh as she hurried to catch up with Scout. It was good watching them enjoying their run and I almost forgot the cold wind blowing.

Sandy, the stray dog who came to stay, was outside with us too. She would chase the horses and I would yell at her, NO! She'd stop momentarily and then start up again. The horses would run from her, or kick at her, depending on the horse and I finally decided that they'd have to work it out between themselves. I kind of appreciated the help in running the horses, actually. I decided Sandy was going to have to learn to leave them alone or risk getting kicked and I could see she was getting tired of running anyway. 

Once, Annie was at the end nearest the barn and Scout and Nadia were coming up to her along the rail, still a good distance away. Yalla! was running towards Scout and Nadia, away from Annie, to join up with them.  Sandy, the dog, was running towards the three horses. I think all the horses were watching Sandy because, much to my dismay, Yalla! and the other two collided head on. Yalla! went down as the others ran over her. I was aghast! Poor Yalla! Was she okay? I watched as she struggled up and walked back towards Annie. She seemed shaken but fine. Whew! Scary!! I looked her over and she appeared to be good so I chased them some more to make sure.

Then I decided to ride. I chose Scout and, because I was lazy, I just threw on a bridle. I have come to the sad conclusion that I am not so limber anymore and will probably never be able to jump up on a bareback horse again so I walked him over to the pipe rail gate at the end of the arena and climbed on. I used to vault up on one of my horses over his tail! Granted, Alfie was only 13.3hh, but still, I can't even jump up on a 14.2hh horse from the side! Age! Sometimes, I just feel stiff all over, oh my. But this post isn't going to turn into a pity party. I'm okay with giving up some of my more athletic abilities as long as I can still do most things.

I also decided to pony Yalla! around with us, partly to make sure she was okay from her tumble. She has never been ponied but hey, why not? It's not hard to do. So I haltered Yalla! and held the end of her lead as I climbed on board Scout. So far, so good. I gathered up the lead rope in my right hand and the reins in my left and nudged Scout, saying walk to Yalla!. We moved off from the gate at a nice little clip. It was great! Since Scout is Yalla!s number one buddy, she readily followed along with us. Sometimes, she bit at Scout's neck and I quickly nudged her head with my foot. We trotted together easily and even moved into a lope many times. Scout is smooooth riding bareback and Yalla! easily kept up with us. Sometimes, she'd get a little ahead of us when we slowed down which forced us to turn with her but I could stop her and get her straightened out as we moved on ahead. Once, when we were walking around the arena, I decided to walk over the old log. Scout never hesitated and gracefully lifted his feet until we had crossed over it. I let the lead rope play out, fully expecting Yalla! to follow in his footsteps. I was so sure that she wouldn't hesitate that I never even looked back. All of a sudden I felt like my arm was being jerked off. I almost got pulled from Scout's back! Yalla! had flat out refused to follow and stood stonily on the other side of the log. I quickly pulled Scout up and he stood, like a roping horse, with the steady pull from the rope. We were at a draw. She wouldn't move and I didn't know what to do to urge her on. If I jumped off, remember, no saddle, I knew I couldn't get back on. I was hanging on to the end of the rope and she wasn't going to budge. No way!
I decided to move Scout over to the side of her and wallop her on the butt with the end of the rope. I don't remember what I did to ask him but we maneuvered right over to her with a little backing and sidepassing. I was impressed! He did so well, just like he knew exactly where we needed to go. We came around to the side of her, back at the original side of the log and I smacked her with the rope. She started forward and stepped over the log as I again stepped Scout over. YAY!! Success! We continued going around the arena, both ways, and I switched the rope from hand to hand to keep her on the outside.

We walked over the log two more times and it was a battle both times. Scout would cross and Yalla! wouldn't. I'd sidle Scout back over to her side, whack her rump, and she'd step over. Scout got smart and sidestepped instead of crossing it the third time but, can you blame him? He was doing double work. Anyway, we did get Yalla! over it each time and it was getting easier, so I decided to continue another day. I am finding that she is basically a lazy horse. If there is an easier way to do (or not do) something, she's going to figure it out.

I was very impressed with my Scout. I hadn't ridden him for many weeks and he was the perfect gentleman. I appreciate the fact that I can just jump on him and get a good ride. Overall, I was very happy with our little lesson in ponying too. Yalla! was fine from her little stampeding mishap.

I slid off of Scout's back and took off his bridle. I took off Yalla!s halter too. 

Then I caught Annie and bridled her up. She usually is right next to me but today she didn't want to be caught. Maybe, because it was getting close to dinner time? Anyway, I led her over to the log rise near the water barrel and climbed onto her back. She was tense. I rode her around for twenty minutes or so but it wasn't nearly as enjoyable as riding Scout. I could feel that she was anxious and wanted to take off running at any second. I had to ride very loose legged and balanced. She spooked a couple of times and even tried to bolt. I trotted her a couple of times but there was no way I was going to let her slip into a canter. She tends to spronk and flip her head up and down when she's excited and I didn't relish going into a bucking match and falling off. I rode her another time around the arena and called it quits before anything bad happened. Oh well, at least I rode her, uneventfully. ;)

I think that Scout, Yalla! and myself all got a pretty good workout. I was kind of sore for the next few days. I'll bet Yalla! was too.

Get You Down - Battle for Britain (the Letter), artist: David Bowie, album: Earthling


Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

Good for you Val. I tried riding Morgunn once bareback and at my age I just don't have the coordination or balance to feel comfortable. So I'll stick with a saddle with stirrups.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Seems like you all got a workout on a cold day. I think I'd be sore after that too!

fernvalley01 said...

Great work with Yalla, and Scout what a great horse he is !

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Good for you. I'm glad you took the time to work out Yallas issue with the log. Every time I think about riding, one of the horses slips in mud and does a flip. I had 1,000-pound Bombay flip on his side just inches from my leg the other day. It happened so fast I had no time to get out of the way. Every time that happens, I say, "Thank God I wasn't on his back."

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Sounds like a very productive day. LOL-I have a hard time jumping up on those horses anymore too. I'm better in the summertime, but in the winter, I'm just too stiff.

Whew-glad Yalla! was okay. That's a bad feeling when you see those babies collide with something. Beretta took 2 spills in one day and I couldn't believe it. One when she came out the gate. She ran past me, when she felt the leadrope come tight, she turned her head but her body kept going and she ended up rolling around on the ground and right after that, she took off running in the pasture to catch up to her companion horse and tried to take a corner in the mud. She slid on her side for a few feet. Ugghhh! She slowed down after that. Crazy girl.

Rising Rainbow said...

I hate to see horses falling in any way. My heart always skips a beat or two until I know they're ok.

Sounds like Yalla! did ok for her first time ponying even if she didn't want to do that log. That's a lot for a baby for one day.

I don't even think about bareback anymore. Too hard to get on and even harder to stay there. My body just doesn't want to do that anymore. LOL

I get sore after I ride too if I'm not riding on a regular basis, which I currently am not. *sigh* I got to ride earlier this week and I am still sore but going out to ride today anyway. The sun is shining!!! WooooHoooooo!

juliette said...

I have an award for you over at my blog. Please don't feel obligated to do this if you already won or are just too busy!

Paint Girl said...

Oh goodness, I used to jump over my pony's butt too when I was YOUNG! I can't get on my 14.3 HH Arab from the side like I used to with my 15.2 HH Appy when I was young (bareback). I have pretty much given up on the whole bareback thing. Brandy has such a narrow bony back, she carries most of her weight in her belly so she is uncomfortable to ride bareback!
That's great that you ponied Yalla! I have been meaning to do that with Chance, but just didn't get to it before the weather turned bad. I will do that this summer!
Glad Yalla! was okay after her collision, that is so scary. The first day I brought Chance home and turned her loose, she ran like crazy and then ran as fast as she could straight into the fence, I freaked out! But she just shook her head and took off running the other way. She almost did it again and I was yelling at her to stop! It was one of the scariest baby horse moments of my life (and the only one since she is my first baby!)

Breathe said...

i can't jump on anything. I wonder if there's enough Yoga that will relimber one enough...

Glad you put them to work!

achieve1dream said...

Wow I'm glad Yalla is okay. That would have scared me! It sounds like she did great with ponying! You must be so proud of her. I wish I could have seen the first time you went over the log. I have soooo done that. It hurts when your arm gets snapped back like that lol. I'm glad you were okay though and didn't get pulled right off of Scout's back. It sounds like everyone had fun (well except Annie). Sometimes they are just in weird moods.

I really can't decide if Chrome is a lazy horse or not. Sometimes he is and sometimes he isn't. He will definitely try to find the easiest way to do things, but he also gets excited about things and likes to prance and play around. Maybe it's hormones. :)