Friday, May 29, 2020

getting my cowgirl on

So, I realized that I was going to have to cowgirl up on Buddy. I don't like to do that, because it means getting gritty, but he does need to get over his anxieties. Some horses get more excited the harder you get on them when they act up, until they do something completely dangerous, especially for the rider. I'm not as young and daring as I once was and have been through enough bad situations to have become a bit cautious, perhaps overly cautious... or not.

I know better than to get on an excited horse whose head is lost. It's insanely dangerous. Buddy can be that way sometimes, but I've come to realize there are two things that will do that two him--1) too much excitement, such as other horses running around, like when we're trying to help round up cows and the other horses are doing all the work flying back and forth while he's dancing out of his mind not sure what to make of their activities, and 2) when I put the western saddle on him. For some reason, this always precipitates difficult behavior. I don't know if it's because it doesn't fit right (it seems to it just fine) or if it's because I've always put it on him when we are in the situations of rounding up cows, and a few trail riding sessions. Even our spring trail riding before we tried to do any cattle work had him a little uneasy in the western saddle.

Part of that could be me, because I'm not comfortable in it. I don't like feeling like I'm sitting high above my horse instead of on my horse. My dressage saddle gives me a "plugged in" feeling on his back and I'm more at ease. Western saddles are bulky and heavy and don't allow for any close contact feeling like a dressage saddle does. I also think Buddy has come to like feeling me more closely and relies on the communication of my relaxation through my seat to help him know that he shouldn't worry, since he can't read my body language visually as when I'm on the ground with him. He's a very smart boy and I wouldn't put that past him.

And that all is the long-winded way of saying that I'm working cows in dressage tack and it's going much better with Buddy. However--there is a caveat here--he still gets too worked up when there's a lot of excitement going on around us. Today was quiet and we had a fantastic ride in the pasture and exercised some cows for practice ;) Chasing cows is amazing when you feel close to your horse. He only got worried when the dumb ass, Jewel, started running towards the gate instead of joining us--I let her tag along most of the time we head out on a ride, since the two are best buds and don't like to be apart. That's when I had to "cowgirl up" and deal with his naughtiness from worrying about his friends. I managed to get his mind on the cows, but he still can be difficult when I want him to canter to get ahead--he wants to take control the faster we go and not listen to me, but he's better in our dressage tack. So, we have some work to do this summer, and I'm finally up for the challenge.

He was a very good boy today and seemed to enjoy the workout. I've found that giving him Smart Digest Ultra before we ride does seem to help calm him about an hour after I give it, so part of his anxieties may be due to ulcers, and that's also why I feed it to him before we ride. And afterwards, he earned an extra handful of grain, and then some grass.

He's shed out nearly every last winter hair.

I never have to worry about him stepping on his rope--
he doesn't get upset and just steps off.

A family of Canada geese has been growing up in the pasture dugout pond.

Lastly, I am making good progress on RACING THE ORAST BELT. I've written nearly 27,000 words of it, or around 2/3 done with the first draft. I am aiming to have it done in two weeks, but we'll see. I better get back to it. The day was eaten up by my trip out to work with Buddy after work.

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