Monday, March 2, 2009

Smart horses rock!

Let me start by saying that this was a pretty awful weekend for all sorts of reasons. Thursday my boss very energetically (he does everything as if he's had 10 cups of coffee and that's probably not far off) declared that we were going to drop everything to write a 30 page grant in 2 weeks! While 30 pages is not much for a grant (especially for the money we hope to get out of it) 2 weeks is crazy short time to do it in. And of course while it's nice to assume we can drop everything...I can't. There's a meeting I must host starting Thursday through Saturday, interviewees coming that I can't just put off (how rude would that be??) and we started a new employee today. It's crazy.

So my poor horses are going to get the short end of the stick (along with my SO of course, but he's more understanding). I decided that this weekend I *must* work with them because next weekend might be out.

It's cloudy and cool. Sati hasn't been worked in over a week, that's my bad, and Ketah is uninterested in me. Figured the young one needed the work more and boy did she. First we had apparently reverted about leading nicely. She was jumping and balking and threatening to rear. My answer is to make her do circles which helps to a point.

I finally get her tied up and I'm cleaning her and she hasn't calmed down at all. She wants to dance and swing at the end of the rope. As usual the backs of her hind legs are dirty and I'm working towards them. She's all twitchy and as soon as I hit some of the dried stuff stuck to her hair she kicks.

This is bad behavior. She's about 750 pounds after all.

I go back to working over her entire body and approach her legs again and now she wants to swing her butt in my direction and kick out. At this point she hasn't actually tried to point and kick, instead she's sort of body checking me. However...

This is very bad behavior and we have to correct it.

So for the next 30 minutes we go rounds with no clear winner. For future reference you should never do this. I was already in a poor mood when we started and you really can't win a fight like this with a horse but I got myself into it and I had to get out without losing fully.

Lucky for me my sister called and we talked for a while. Good for me, you should really step away from these sorts of situations when you can't deal with them. Good for Sati because I made Sati stand tied up by herself the entire time. This is also good for her as she hates being without Ketah. When I got off the phone I started working her on the line in circles. We had to have a few reminders about “whoa” and not trying to run over the top of me, but she remembered pretty quick. After that I brushed her and put her back in her pen.

I had decided that I really needed to go for a trail ride today. Sati was to go with Ketah and I because I finally had a pair of boots for her front feet. I started cleaning her up and she stood quietly if a little twitchy even while I brushed the backs of her legs and picked her feet. Score 1 for smart horses! Once she was cleaned up I saddled Ketah and got ready to head out. Unfortunately for me the day was shaping up to be stormy.

Rain is uncomfortable, but we can deal with it. Wind however...In Colorado it's annoying and sometimes impossible to ride in. Here high wind can be very dangerous because the trees are all very close, very tall and don't have very deep roots. Branches and whole trees come down very quickly and easily. By the time the wind had died down it was sprinkling. I headed out and hoped it would stop raining. We hadn't made it 30 minutes out (just past the trail head really) and we were all soaked. Ketah was being a total pain, but I think Sati was having a lot of fun. She was thinking her way through all of the obstacles very carefully. Better than Ketah in fact. We went over some sandbags (Ketah jumped, Sati stepped over), around a large log and through a narrow gate.

I asked Ketah to trot then canter. Sati kept up the whole time in a trot! That girl has legs! Finally tired of dealing with Ketah's stubborness we turned to go back. Back at the barn Sati continued to stand (mostly) quietly at the tie rail and let me brush her all over again. So on the balance, I'd say the weekend was a good one for training! Sati is going to be a great trail horse. She likes to think her way through things instead of running away.

I really can't wait to ride her.

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