Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Can horses tell time?

Went to the barn around lunch and rode Cici in the ring. I mentioned to her that we would not be riding for a long time and we would be done by 2:00.

After her initial testing, making sure I was certain I really wanted her to trot, she was soft and forward. Lovely out on the trails trot. We played with the cloverleaf pattern and my not picking up the reins for the turns. And most of the time she was willing to maintain the trot through the question box.

Then crossing the ring in the middle she slowed down and stopped. We were facing the long wall. When I lifted the reins for her to go forward she started to go sideways to the left. I love that she offers things so I shifted my weight and allowed her to continue. She went sideways past the tack room door. Kept going a bit further then stopped and swung her hind end onto the track and stopped.

We were now on the track with my left shoulder close to the wall. I glanced over to the wall and found I was sitting right at the clock. Eye level. And the clock said 2:00!

Laughed so hard I just had to get off. Who can argue with such logic?!?!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bath Day

Bath day! Its in the 70s already and its only 10:30. Now I'm not the sort of horse person who gives lots of baths. Okay I'm not the kind of horse person who gives any baths. Its a once or twice a year thing. Read this article about how daily or weekly bathing is bad for their hooves. This is good enough for me. Want great feet. No bathing.

I look at this as an expedition. Have to make plans about when to do it, have to gather up gear cause its scattered from my basement to my garage to the tack room to the storage stall in the barn. I don't give baths and I still have so much STUFF! How is this possible? Buckets, shampoo, sponges, scrapers, curry comb, nozzle, hose, horse. The list goes on. This morning I came across an article on How to Wash Your Horse. Great! More stuff.

As a Parelli student I figure I'll think of all the things I've seen the other people around do, and do the opposite. The "wash stall" is two posts on a patch of gravel surrounded by grass. Everyone walks their horse in, turns them around and ties them to the cross ties. I walk Cici onto the gravel, let her face "the back" and the grass and allow her graze as I soap her up. Article said I didn't need to wet her down before soaping. Thinking awesome, I get to skip a step.

Soap up one side and she is doing great. Standing pretty still and eating. Turn on hose and get a bit of a reaction from her, then she just stands as I rinse one side off. Then scrape.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I should have stopped here. But into "this is bath day" so plowed ahead. Cici was getting a bit restless and not standing still. I'm letting her wander and eat grass and trying to get her back onto the gravel. In the process, as she is headed for the bucket with soapy water, I think, "oh no, don't knock over the bucket!" She hears my focus of the bucket and over it goes.

Note to self: pay attention to where you place bucket of soapy water. Off to the side by the post would be a really safe place.

Side two is a bit more of a challenge. Oh she doesn't do much, just more movement and I didn't take the time to acknowledge what was happening. Amazing how those blinders snap into place. Well in the process of moving around a lot Cici is heading straight for the plastic container of shampoo that is lying on the ground. And YES she steps right in the middle of it and the shampoo shoots out in a beautiful arching spray.

Note to self: more careful attention to where you place the shampoo after it goes into the bucket of water. Probably off to the side by the bucket by the post would be a really safe place.

Maybe Cici is trying to tell me "Enough! No more soapy water and no more shampoo!" Hmm.

Rinse phase for side two goes relatively well. I'm wearing my tall muck boots with pants rolled over the tops. I'm wet only from my armpits down. Not too bad. Sunglasses still on, hat still on, hair is wet-but that is sweat. I am proud to say I left my iPhone in the car. I knew what was possible.

Pull out towel and rub her down. Do notice she does not like her hing legs wiped. Are we done? Oh no, she is stepping on the shampoo bottle gain - getting every little last bit out. Guess she didn't approve that brand.

Note to self: Consult with Cici in future brands of shampoo.

I reach out with hands full of soap (from rinsing the sponge and bucket) to move Cici off the bottle. Now she has soapy hands on her side and hind end. Have to rinse her off again. Scrape the water off. Towel her down. Flies they love a wet horse.

I'm done. Cici is done. And I look at the debris that is left all around the "wash stall" that I'll need to clean up once I get Cici back to her paddock. I let her graze a little to help the drying. She is looking all golden. Gorgeous.

Back to paddock she goes. She looks over her shoulder at me as she walks away. And then she drops and rolls. Flies love a wet horse you know. She knows what to do about that.

No wonder I don't bath my horse! All that effort. All the water. All that soap. All that sweat (mine). For what? 3 minutes of a clean shiny horse?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Horses and Husbands

Another conversational blog by Jamie Greenebaum & Jolene McDowell

Jamie: My husband is not a rider. I started to say not a horse lover, but that is not quiet true. While he is not comfortable around them himself, he totally supports my horse addiction, even enabling it.

I broke my arm a few years ago when Cici was stung by a bee on her belly and leapt in the air. I fell to the ground. As I was waiting for the bones to heal, Robert drove me to the barn every day. “Take as long as you need” he’d tell me, and he’d sit in the car reading a book. I would sit in the paddock with Cici and Casey.

“Why are you doing this? I know how upset you are about the accident and how you blame Cici.” His response? “You need horse time to completely heal.”

Jo said: What a heartwarming story, Jamie. A few years ago I was in the running for first place in State in my Hunter-Jumper division. Every competition counted. The week of our biggest competition, I got a call from my son, saying their second child was on the way. I wrote off the competition and hopped on a plane, arriving into town before the baby. I was privileged to spend the week with them, helping out.

Mentally I had given up the competition, but as my plane landed back in Salt Lake City my trainer called, “The competition is running late, and if you hurry, you can make it.” I started to tell her I was just getting off the plane when my husband buzzed thru saying, “Honey, I have been watching this competition and it’s running late. I got your clothes (out of the dirty clothes), I’ve warmed up your horse, and I think we can make it if you drive straight there.” I told my trainer, drove straight to the competition, changed in the back of the trailer, and got to the ring 30 seconds before my turn in the arena.

I think what we’re both trying to say is that whether they ride or not, whether they practice Parelli or not, it’s hard to do horses without support, and husbands can be a remarkable support.

Jamie said: I've noticed posts on Parelli Connect regarding husbands. How they have given their wives the opportunity to reconnect with their dream of horses. How they build things such as barns, slow feeders, cavaletti. Dig post holes and put up fencing. Even go ranch shopping! And how they are there for their horse crazy women.

Jo said: My husband calls himself “A Desperate Horse Husband”, but it’s always with a smile on his face.

We have different styles. He’s an old cowboy type, who was riding bareback from childhood. I think it’s important to support each other respectfully, no matter what our styles. While my husband doesn’t “practice Parelli”, I did notice him saying “Well, Parelli says . . .” when a friend mentioned a problem with his horse the other day. He had it right, so I just walked away quietly with a smile on my face.

Jamie said: I think my husband would agree with “Desperate Horse Husband”! While he is not involved with horses, he often tells me to “Go to the barn.” I pause and thank him for his willingness to share me with my horses.