Monday, May 14, 2012

A Different Track

This past weekend super hubs and I were supposed to be spending all weekend horse camping and trail riding on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Except that we wanted to test the strength of the portable electric corral we created first.

So Friday we set the corral up and put the Spotted Beast in. I moved Seneca way over in another pastrure where he couldn't see her.  We needed to know if when agitated enough would Cowboy escape.  *Le sigh*  Of course he did. No less than three times.  The first time he just bent his neck down shoved the electric tape up and Shetland ponied his way out.  So we fixed that with another line of tape along the bottom. That worked for a little while longer than the single top row of tape.  But within minutes the Spotted Beast flashed his talent and jumped out over the tape(It was at least 3 feet high).

But Cowboy will only jump out if there is no other option so we figured if Seneca was actually in the corral with him he wouldn't be tempted to jump. So in goes the mare-beast.  I went to get some buckets of water, but as it was late evening the High Queen thought dinner was being served and immediately began beating up on Cowboy, who's only alternative to getting bitten and kicked was to leap out of the corral again, this time dragging the tape with him and breaking a good half of the poles. *face to palm, epic fail*

So knowing that my husband was not going to be physically up to riding the trails on Sunday (He has only just gotten back in to riding and his butt was going to make major protests about two long trail rides in a row) We decided to just drive over to the trail ride for the day.  It started out well with the High Queen leaping in to the trailer at the first attempt(always a good sign).  Then when we got there and our horses saw the 250+ other horses, trucks, trailers, people they were understandbly unsettled.  Seneca not only snapped the trailer tie ring(the whole reason I bought extras after she snapped the first one) she escaped two more times before I actually got her saddled.

The first half of the trail was miserable for me. Seneca would not settle and spent the whole first half jigging, cantering in place with that whole "I am two seconds from bucking you in to a tree" attitude and basically yanking my arms out of my socket. But there was nothing I could do.I couldn't ride ahead giving Seneca other things to think about. I even tried leg yielding down the trail.  I had to stay with my husband and Cowboy and Cowboy has decided he likes to lead.  Then I hit upon the cure, althought it came back to bite me in the butt later. I simple let the reins go slack, and put my hands on the pommel of my saddle.  Seneca put her nose directly on to Cowboy's tail and traveled sedately that way the rest of the ride. She even went so far as to use his butt as a scratching post.

After that life was calmer and we had fun.  Getting down to the beach was a little crazy. There was a pretty steep drop off a sand bank. Cowboy refused, Seneca wasn't happy about it either. In the end I got off, led Seneca down and Cowboy then jumped down after her.  I remounted using a log and we went off to play in the waves and sandbars.  We even got some really nice photos from the professional photographer(I'll post them when I get them back)

After the beach we rode for another hour and a half, had lunch provided by the local fire department, then rode another 30 minutes back to the start.  This is where letting Seneca go as she pleased came back to bite me.  Because I'd let her think she was in charge for a couple of hours she now thought getting back in the trailer was not on her to do list. *GRRRRR*

This is inevitably what happens.  She's fabulous about getting in at home where there are no witnesses, but in public she wants other people to think I abuse her. It took me a good twenty minutes at least to convince her to get back in. Meanwhile I got several offers to help. I tried to be polite and rebuff them, telling them that I had worked with this mare for over a year and my way was the only way. But my anxiety level raised every time someone asked because now I can imagine them sitting there watching us and laughing at me.  We circled, we walked, we stopped, I did submission/release bending of her neck to her side, we walked, circled, stopped some more.

Super hubs loaded Cowboy in to the first slot in the trailer as encouragement even though that is typically where Seneca rides.  Finally she deigned to get half way in the trailer. I glared, kept a tight hold of the chain lead shank and firmly told her if she did not get her big brown butt in the trailer that I was going to make the alleged horse abuse a reality. She blinked at me then got in the trailer.  15 miles of trail riding logged, a slight sunburn, photos, and lots of smiles. Not too bad for a days work.

Yesterday I did more trailer loading training with the High Queen(I don't think I will ever be able to stop practicing) She resisted the first time I asked and she got the business end of a chain shank yank and she decided it was in her best interest to get in.  She got in perfectly the second time.  I will be practicing all week in hopes she won't embarass me at Kelly's Ford this weekend.

Yep finally decided to go do the Maiden division at the Kelly's Ford Recognized HT.  I've never been to a recognized trial, even to watch so I plan on trying to go early to see couple of friends take their young horses in the reg. divisions then try to make it through all three phases in the 2ft division without eating dirt or getting eliminated.

Here's hoping.  Keep it between the flags everyone.

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