Monday, November 17, 2008

Sabumi (1); Cows (0)

We went riding Saturday and Sunday and took the camera for the boring day, apparently! Saturday was good, Sabumi was really heavy on the mouth and was fighting me on every turn. He would yaw his mouth open and fall to the outside of the turn. Eventually I gave up on trying to rein him and only used my legs to turn and he got 95% better! It was really great. He is a very sensitive and smart horse. We explored all over the back pasture and worked on crossing water (puddles). At one point I gave him his head and let him lead. He just wandered right into the area with the tallest grass and started exploring! I was very happy with him overall!

On Sunday, it was warmer than Saturday and was the perfect day for riding. Sabumi started out relaxed with his head low. I had him on a loose rein and was really enjoying the ride! I trotted away from John and Charley a few times and then circled back and caught up with them. It was really fun to work on straight lines and turns like that! As we headed towards the left side of the pasture we did more trotting and then once we circled back we walked with John and Charley a ways, then turned around to head to another part of the pasture. All of a sudden, I was on a Saddle Seat horse with his head straight up and we were about 50 feet to the right of where we had just been! Out of the corner of my eye, I was two cows running towards the fence... I tried to calm the horse who was rearing and spinning. Eventually, he stopped, facing the cows, with his ears forward as far as they could go. His neck was straight up, head up, nostrils flared, eyes wide. He was shivering and shaking from head to toe. He had his legs right under him and felt light, like he was ready to flee. I could feel my self shaking because of his shivering. I could feel his heart pounding between my calves. He was snorting with every shaking breath. He was terrified, yet interested. I was mentally chanting "Please don't moo! Please don't moo!" I was alternating between watching my beautiful horse and watching the boys bonding with the cows over the fence. Charley was sniffing noses with one and John was petting the other! Slowly, Sabumi took a few steps forward, stopped, and regained his shaking pose. He bobbed his head down exhaled, and stepped forward again. I just let him do what he felt safe with. Eventually, we were about 20 feet from the fence. John came over to us and rubbed Sabumi's neck. He stopped shaking and calmed a bit. Of course, he spun and spooked as soon as a cow moved a muscle. I was amazed at his curiosity. He went from being terrified to being curious in a matter of minutes. I was so proud. I have never seen a horse shaking like he was while at the same time taking steps towards his fear! With John standing next to us, I asked the horse to walk closer to the cows, he did. Eventually we were about 5-10 feet away. He was relaxed. I decided that was enough for today and we began to walk away. The cows followed us and Sabumi spooked again. I stopped him and the cows passed us. Then we walked again. When we reached the fence line, a cow mooed and Sabumi merely flicked an ear back. I was so proud of him!

We walked around more, and headed home. On the way home we encountered the puddle from the video on the previous post. He walked the whole length of it without hesitation. I think the cow experience was a confidence booster for him! I suppose it was for me too, every time I am on a horse that bolts, spooks, rears, spins, etc and I stay on, I gain confidence in myself. I never lost my seat as Sabumi did all of those things at once. In 15 years of riding, I have only fallen off twice. My nickname as a kid was 'stick tight'. At a 4-H show when I was probably 8, my mom overheard two cowboys talking about riders in the class. I rode by and one said "That one is gunna be a good rider some day". I hope I have lived up to that prophesy.

When we finished riding, we untacked and I cleaned Sabumi's feet and put Copportox in them. He is a little sore over gravel since his hooves were trimmed shorter than the last guy did them. Copper hardens hooves and I am hoping that it and time will strengthen Sabumi's hooves until he has no problem on any surface! We also have been giving the horse strawberry yogurt in the deworming syringe. We have done it 4 or 5 times now and it is still a struggle. He doesn't like the idea of it, I think. He backs up and tosses his head, but after a short struggle, he patiently allows me to put it in his mouth. I assume he likes the flavor, but can't be sure. I will keep trying on this one and hope it continues to improve until it is time for the real dewormer on January 1st!

Oh, bridling has become a one person job. I can put the halter around his neck, give him the bit, and bridle him by my self. I did it both Saturday and Sunday. I took it right in stride, but then I read some older posts and really began to appreciate how huge that is! It used to be a colossal battle to bridle him with two people with his halter still on!


oregonsunshine said...

Have you tried maple syrup in the syringe? I've used that to teach horses to worm. Kinda sticky, but it works ususally.

Heather said...

I tried molasses today since I already had some out at the barn. It went a little better. Sabumi sniffed it and lipped at the syringe before I gave it to him. When I tried putting it in his mouth, he still struggled some, but his reaction afterward was much better! I think you have the right idea on trying something sweeter!