Monday, November 17, 2008

Catching up...

First off, I was book tagged by Deanna, who now has a new website!

Here's the rules:

1. Grab the nearest HORSE book.
2. Open the book to page 56.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next two to five sentences.
5. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book or the intellectual one. Pick the Closest.
6. Tag five people to do the same.

The book I always have laying around is "The Body Language of Horses" by Tom Ainslie and Bonnie Ledbetter.

Willie was an aging gelding of mixed ancestry and cumbersome physique who had become the official babysitter at the Loudon place. He spent his afternoons in the yearling pasture, fussing over the youngsters and devising games which amused him and, accidentally or not, helped to prepare the yearlings for later life. Each day at almost exactly 3:50 p.m., when the yearlings had been napping and would soon awaken for play, Willie would lurch among them, pause and lightly nip one on the rump. Its slumber rudely disturbed, the baby would leap squealing to its feet, rousting the others, while Willie trotted around in high amusement. The game toughened the spirits of the yearlings, as each proved by reacting less vociferously when nipped awake a third or fourth time. More important, it taught the growing youngsters the potential dangers of being caught napping in daylight.

Okay, so I did 6 sentences, but that last one was important!!

Now onto the tagging... I think I'll choose my mustang buddies, sorry if you've already been tagged!


In other news, Remington and Luna are now in with Chocolate and Riskie for the winter. All four horses together. I was curious to see if Luna would stay buddies with Rem or leave him for the girls. She stayed with Rem for about half an hour before deciding she belonged with Risk and Chocolate. Poor Rem is back to being a loner... The girls sure do treat him like dirt. They don't let him in the barn, so I have to bring his hay down to his "house" every morning. I've been riding him in the evening so he's been getting stalled through the night.

I told Aubrey I'd take some video for her when I let all four horses in together, so here it is... (better late than never!)

Last weekend I had another lesson with Remington. We worked mostly on getting him to move his feet. He is a lazy booger. I also wanted to work on getting him to follow his nose, as lately he'll follow my rein with his nose, but not his body. My instructor explained to me that if I can get that hind end kicked around with my inside leg then he'll have no choice but to follow his nose. I had been trying to use my outside leg to guide his shoulder over, without much success. My instructors advice worked really well but he warned me that some horses have a hard time with it at first and will trip... which is exactly what Rem then did... He went down to his knees, and being the lazy bum that he is decided he was already half way down, may as well go all the way down *plop*. So... that made 2 for 2 rides that I wound up on the ground while riding Rem. We were both fine though, just a little dusty. At least this time Rem went down with me... and no, I did not hang onto the reins, that is one situation when you should let go of everything all together and get out of the way!! And we were in an arena, so I had no fear of having to walk home ;-)

So the funny part about this is when I tell Joe about it...

Jess: So, Remington fell over in my lesson today...

Joe: Is that why you want to go on a diet?

Jess: *&$%?!

Good times... Well, I believe this post is about long enough... Aubrey will be home for Thanksgiving, and we are going to take a reining lesson together, which should be fun. Maybe I'll even get some pictures, since I haven't had any in quite a while. I can't believe Thanksgiving is next week already... Not a good time to start a diet. Wish me luck!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Why I hang onto the reins after an unscheduled dismount...

Today was a beautiful day for a ride! The Hags On Nags had a group ride and chili dump today and I decided to join them. I brought Remington because the trails at this particular park were rocky and my Appaloosa mare's feet won't hold up to them without shoes. Remington's feet, on the other hand, are rock hard and will stand up to just about anything.

I figured he'd be okay, I knew it would be a large group, but he was fine with the group of seven two weeks ago. He really was good, a little nervous at the start but then he quickly settled in. About halfway through after everyone had commented on how calm he is for a three-year-old things got a little western. Something gave Rem a good spook, which launched me forward, which spooked Rem more causing a bucking fit.

I don't think I made 8 seconds... It was more like 2 big bucks and I was unseated leaning much too far forward on his neck. At that point I knew I was going to bite it so I tried to land on my feet but it didn't work out that way. I wound up on my side with the reins still in my hand. Rem was careful not to step on me because I was quite near his feet but he was still spooked so he flew backwards and I still held on. This caused one side of my reins to snap and he wasn't done moving back, and I was still on the ground. One more tug and my reins were history. I got up and caught Rem after he took a few confused steps around. He was fine and so was I.

From the time I hit the ground to the time my reins snapped my worried onlookers were urging me to let go of the reins. I know they were only concerned for our safety, but I have a strict rule that I follow when I am launched from my horse. If I can hold onto my reins, I will.

For two reasons:

Reason number 1: I am a RIDER not a WALKER. I am not one to simply let my horse loose when I am miles from home/the truck and trailer/where ever. Luckily for me Rem decided to stick around after the reins broke, but I know people who weren't so fortunate to have such a "loyal" horse. I know most horses, when presented with the opportunity to stick around and eat grass or high tail it down the trail, will choose the more tasty option, but I'll take my chances and choose rope burn over walking any day.

Reason number 2: Lesson learned: Launching Jessie = No fun. Yes horse, if you're going to throw me to the ground I will prove to you what a wonderful anchor I make. It probably smarts a bit when you have a bit in your mouth and you try to drag off (insert large number) pounds.

Now I understand there are circumstances that are out of our control in these situations and one cannot always keep hold of the reins, but I like to try. I also understand that it's not always the horse's fault so causing pain by hanging onto the reins isn't quite fair in every situation, however, if you've got a good horse they should hit the end of those reins and slam on the brakes, which is what I hope Rem will do if ever presented with this situation again.

I was able to tie my reins back to my bit and finish a nice ride, with nothing but a little rope burn and some hurt pride. Rem was as calm as can be, like nothing happened... silly mustangs.

So what do you all think? When you take a header into the dirt do you hold onto your horse or pitch the reins away and worry about landing safely?