Sunday, October 19, 2008

I'm with stupid

You know those shirts that say "I'm with stupid"? Sometimes I feel like I need one for when I work with the horses. (That's a joke, please don't anyone buy me one, I would not actually wear it). Today was Shylah's turn to give me a bad ride, the kind where you get home and think "thank goodness that's over, too bad I don't like beer or I'd have one."

Other than a few of the now-defunct Starbucks rides, I have not had her on the road since... July I guess. Wow, that's a while. I've been riding a lot but it's all been arena/roundpen stuff. I wanted to go do something fun today (since the last ride, on Dusty, wasn't fun).

Sigh. Okay, going to need to do a lot more hand-walking on the road methinks. She flinched a little at the first few cars that went past, but nothing horrible. She's really pretty good for about a half mile, and then I don't quite know specifically what bothers here but things rather suddenly get worse (not just this time, she's done this before). And then it just escalates from there. 5 big barking dogs running the fence-line on one side, cows (did you know that cows are scary? Really, just ask my horse) on the other. It's like going through the gauntlet.

I guess in all fairness I should not refer to her as "stupid." I understand her concern. How can she know that the dogs are fenced in? And cows, well you know how they just stand there and stare, maybe that's unnerving. I had hopped off and was hand-walking her at this point, much safer in that position and better able to say "here look, it's not going to hurt you, let's walk up to it." And she does. She's very curious about stuff, she wants to look at things. She might be snorty and scared and spook but as soon as that's out of her system she wants to go see the scary thing. Very different attitude than Gwen has, who pretty much just lowers her head and makes a beeline for the next county. Gwen doesn't stop and think, she just runs.

Anyway, we got down to the end of the road and turned around and you can totally see her relax like "okay, that wasn't so bad, they didn't kill me after all." I rode much of the way back, until we were almost home and I saw a motorcycle approaching. Gulp. I knew at some point we'd run into one of these and I figured it would not go well, even though she's pretty good with cars and bikes (except when bikes "sneak up"). Sure enough, it was bad. She planted her feet, got the "OMG what is that" expression, whirled and ran. Or tried to anyway, she didn't get too far and thankfully didn't slip on the road. She's easy to stop and easy to stay on top of, so I just reined her to a stop (in the middle of the road, mind you) and hopped off. I apologized to the motorcycle rider, because he'd had to stop, and he said no problem he has horses too so he understands. I walked Shylah up to the motorcycle and let her sniff it. Once she figures out what something is, she's pretty unconcerned. I was kinda shook up by that point so I just walked the rest of the way home.

I'm going to enlist my neighbors with their dirtbike to help work on the motorcycle issue, and I'm going to be taking Shylah for walks. No saddle, no riding, just more walks. I'd like to do the same with Dusty. I have NO idea how he would be out there but I'm none too eager to find out while my butt's in the saddle, I know that horse can unseat me! It's one thing for a horse to stand in a pasture and watch cars and trucks go by, but being on a narrow road with no shoulder and a steep dropoff into the ditch and have cars and trucks just a few feet away is a whole different thing. It's just going to take more exposure to everything out there until nothing concerns her. So if you ever see someone walking a horse down the road, just understand it's a "horse in progress" lol. They don't start out perfect.

I sure wish I had good trails to ride! It's going to be sooo good to get Shylah and Dusty out on some real trails up at JC's.

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