The horse's pasture to the East...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Cowgirls Never Get the Blues!

I'm back in the saddle again! Well, OK...not technically. But close enough. Today I had another little adventure.

I've been working with both Luck and Patch in the evenings when John is home. He's decided (wisely, I think!) to have me train Apache. He doesn't always have time to work with Patch and it's beginning to confuse Patch. Who does he belong to? Who's herd boss?

We've both been noticing alot of tail switching, walking into personal space and general grumpiness on Patch's part. And that's not like him. He will occasionally challenge whomever is working with him, just to see what he can get away with. But he's never been grumpy about playing games. To the contrary, he loves it!

John told me that he doesn't have the time right now to do it right, so I took over. It's taken several days for Apache to understand that I'm his Kahuna, probably for good now (barring unforeseen circumstances...never tempt the fates!).

Now, when I go out to the paddock, both he and Lucky are right there vying for attention. "Me! Me first!" "No me me!" Lots of uh huh huhing all the time. I love that! And it's helped Apache to relax too. He's the kind of Horseanalilty that likes one Kahuna leading the way.

Now that you have the back story...this afternoon I went out to turn them out into the pasture. It was a very pretty afternoon. The skies were clear, temperature's only 76 and dry. September is the best!

I decided not to walk all the way around to the front entrance of the paddock. I have this great little stand that John built for me on the side of the paddock fence that makes it easily accessible if I want to climb over the fence. I decided to go that way, to climb over the fence and maybe stop on the top for a while to love up on the guys before I let them out.

Lately, last two weeks or so, I've been sitting on the top of the fence so they would be used to having me high, the way I would be sitting on top. Lucky's an old hand at that. He understands people on top. But for Patch, it's new. He only knows people on the ground where he's the taller one.

The first few times I sat on top of the fence, Apache stood back to watch. He wasn't really afraid. He just didn't understand me higher than him. It was a new thing, a new curiousity.

It didn't take long for him to begin coming up to me to check things out. He loves to smell shoes, so he spends his time checking out whatever pair I had on. (Note to self...I need new riding boots. Make that a priority.) After shoes lost his interest, he came to me so I could reach all of the itchy spots on top...the ones that he can only get to by rolling.

That was exactly what I was hoping for. Nearly every morning I've gotten up onto my perch, sometimes on the top rail and sometimes on the second up rail...or the third. I vary things alot with both of my big, beautiful equines. They're both Left Brained types (Lucky is a Left Brain Introvert and Patch is a Left Brained Extrovert), so I change it up alot. They like variety and get bored very easily.

This afternoon, when I was getting ready to put them out into the pasture, I took my perch on the top rail. Luck came over for his love and scritch, scratch. He likes to be rubbed right on the top of his poll, between his ears. It's our special place. He doesn't let many people do that. Then he went over to the bars/gate into the paddock and looked over his shoulder at me. He wanted out onto all that lovely grass.

Next it was Apache's turn. He came over and siddled up to the fence to inspect my shoes. I'd been out this morning buying supplies. There were all kinds of interesting things to smell.

I leaned over him and rubbed him on his whithers, putting some extra pressure there. He likes that. It always relaxes him. It's the classic "Mom" spot to scratch a horse. I was leaning way out over him to get to his itchy places, all the while holding onto the fence with one leg on the other side. It felt like a fairly secure place to be.

I leaned out...and leaned out, right over his back. Then I put my leg over his back and moved it around, sort of like playing Hokey Pokey over his back. "You put your left foot put your left foot out". I was playing Friendly game with my leg and foot on his back.

He looked at me with a "No worries!' kind of look. It looked it was a go. No tail swishing. No head up. Eyes soft. Ears kind of soft and floppy. From his point of view, I was just scratching him again, only with my foot and leg.

No time like the present. Take it when it's offered. I swung my leg over and put some weight on him, right on his back! I continued to hold onto the fence. I wanted a safe and easy way off if things got explosive. But they didn't. It was "No worries. No big deal." I had my leg over Apache!

People, that's a first. This afternoon is the first time I've been even close to being on top of my wild child. It's a red letter day! and now it's marked on every calendar I have. I PUT WEIGHT ON TOP OF MY COLT WITHOUT MY FEET ON THE GROUND!

I didn't push it. I only stayed up there for 10 seconds or so. And from his point of view it was no big deal...just another day, waiting to go out and getting some extra loving and scratching first.

Hats off to you Pat Parelli and your wonderful, articulate wife, Linda! I've done what I didn't think I could do with Patch.

I'm still taking him to a trainer next year when he's four, but in the meantime, we're making some real headway together. Hopefully training under saddle will go easier on him with all the extra, easy, easy, easy does it time that we're taking.

"Take the time that it takes, so it takes less time." I love that quote. It's my new mantra. We always do our best not to get too monkey brained around here...too direct line. I'm getting closer and closer to thinking like a horse and they have no time oriented goals.

After our little 10 second escapade, I went on over the fence to let them out, just like it was no big deal to throw my leg over Patch. I asked them to move back a bit, using driving from zone one (in front). They all stepped back with no questions asked and waited politely while I took down the bars. Each of them stopped to touch me with their nose, even Willow, 250 pound queen of the pasture (with 2000 pounds of attitude!).

And that was the start to the second half of their day.

I danced a victory dance all the way inside! WOOHOO!

It doesn't get any better than that!

Nancy, head thrown back and laughing!

1 comment:

Ryan's Gravel Adventure said...

Are you wearing a ten gallon hat yet?