Monday, December 21, 2009

Solstice Ride Involving Too Much Walking (By Me)

I did manage to get my solstice ride, or at least part of a ride. It was about 28F, with more wind than there was this morning, but I was dressed for it, including wearing my Mountain Horse jacket. I haven't ridden Maisie in several weeks, and was pretty much prepared for anything, which turned out to be a good thing. She kept her composure while Sugar was galloping at liberty in the arena. Maisie was Very Forward at the beginning of our ride, although responsive, as we walked away from the barn. She did keep looking at the other horses she was leaving behind. This is the one decent picture I took before my camera battery expired and before things got too interesting to take photos:

At the end of the path you see, the trail goes downhill. There we passed two barking dogs - she was nervous but stayed well-behaved on a loose rein. Then we reached the end of that trail and started to turn left on the way back around the pastures. It quickly became clear that the only thing on her mind was getting back to the barn and a major meltdown was on the way. I got off, and we alternately led and stood all the way back to barn. We completed our circuit of the pastures, at the pace I set and in the way I asked, without a big fuss. Maisie leads very well, and it comes in handy at times like these.

The first half of our walk home she was about to jump out of her skin - much snorting, startling and bit-chomping. I made it clear that walking on top of or over me wasn't part of the program. She is a very big horse, and this is important. Sometimes when she's nervous, she wants to walk very close - too close - to me, perhaps as a means of comfort. Occasionally I used a well-deployed elbow to encourage her to not move her shoulder too close to me. Any time she walked nicely next to me the reins were loose, otherwise I asked her to slow. She mostly stayed pretty responsive despite her excitement. I was particularly encouraged that she got more relaxed as we went around. We did lots of stopping and standing - I took advantage of the fact that she stands very well on a loose rein.

When we got back to the barn, I remounted and we walked around some more in the vicinity of the barn on a loose rein. We ended on a good note - and I got a solstice ride, and walk!

16 comments:

  1. I have one that likes to be a little too close also. When he does that, I make him stop and back up. Eventually he gets so sick of stopping and backing that he'll keep his distance. That, and, as you said, the well-placed elbow!

    Sounds like a good ride/walk anyway, except I'm sure I would not have ventured out if it was 28˚.

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  2. I'm glad to hear you got out. It looks so cold!!!!!. I've also just returned from a ride.....clear blue skies and about 25 degrees celcius.....just beautiful. Today it feels like summer has truely arrived in NZ.

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  3. It's nice that you at least got out and got to ride for a while. Maybe next time she'll be a little less nervous and your ride will be uneventful.

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  4. Hah, you too? I also had a solstice ride with too much walking! And a horse all up in my personal space. Mine ended well too - I'll post my story in a bit.

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  5. Good for you! I never really thought about dismounting and leading but why not?? That is a good thing to have in a back pocket for another means of communication. I agree, winter riding can be so fun when not frigid and windy.
    I'm curious to hear too about Noble, what you find out. Do you add warmish water to buckets in stalls for winter time? It's helping my boy in coaxing him to consume more water. Good luck and glad to hear he is eating/drinking!

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  6. Whew! Well I'm just glad that you didn't get injured while in the saddle or on the ground. Last year on my snowy ride, I wasn't as lucky.

    That snowy trail sure is pretty :)


    ~Lisa

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  7. Bar--being track-trained--has a hard time with when close is too close, so that's been one of our (many) challenges. But with patience and persistence he is getting it.

    Good job with Maisie!

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  8. Neat riding photo!

    It almost makes me miss riding in the snow in Chicago..

    Mary

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  9. Well, half a ride is better than none. As you well know, I too have used the dismount and lead home technique a few times when my Boys have gotten too rambunctious. I used to ride that kind of stuff out, but no more.

    The elbow and the hip can both be good to push back. After all, that's what horses do to each other to "claim" their space.

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  10. Chris Cox calls moving them away when they get to close "Giving them the chicken wing." Cracked me up as I was very much familiar with le wing of pollo. I lead with him to my right tho' and that is also my bad (previously broken) shoulder! I do chicken wing anyway. He loves to be in my space. Like Leah, I also employ backing up--the further the backing the worse the indiscretion! :) Well, the one pic you got was certainly beeyootiful!
    :)
    ~Mindy

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  11. Half a ride is probably better than no ride at all. Especially if the light was as pretty as your first picture tells. That trail view over Maisie's ears is gorgeous!

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  12. The trail is beautiful! I'm glad you managed to get at least a bit of a ride in. I wish I'd known more people who employed the "get off and walk" philosophy...it would have saved me a sore rump a few times! Gotta love those "hold me, I'm scared!" horses. Mosco sometimes wants me to carry his 17hh butt when he's scared; good thing I have 2 deadly chicken wings!!

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  13. Glad your ride finished well. I've not been able to ride for a while now due to the weather and other factors, so I'm quite envious, even of the over excitement ;-)

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  15. good on you for braving the snow and wind brrr

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  16. Great to hear you got a Solstice ride in, snowy hacks are fantastic!

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