Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Watching for a Hurricane

Hurricane Earl Approaches

The last few days my thoughts have been on the impending Hurricane Earl. It is supposed to hit the East Coast. I am worried. We in central Virginia have reason to be worried. Seven years ago, another hurricane came inland here and it was devastating. So anytime a hurricane is headed up the East Coast we are all on alert. And while the prediction currently is that it will stay offshore, anything as big and as powerful as a hurricane can make a several- hundred- mile shift in direction rather easily. So we are worried. Preparations are being made. Relatives are being contacted. Prayers are being said. Fortunately, I am not too worried about Buckshot, my horse, as he is at a very good boarding farm, with lots of other horses, and a very secure stall/turn-out barn that will give him good shelter if needed. I sure hope this thing passes by and stays out at sea.

Weekend Riding

Hurricane aside, Buckshot and I had some great times this past weekend. On Saturday, we did our round pen work, and he was very responsive. I swear he can read my fingers now! He also finally cantered all the way around, in one direction. I was very proud of him! The other direction, which is his weaker one, didn’t work so well. But I was pleased with his effort. When we then went to the arena, we practiced our exercises and patterns. I tried something new and added the canter to two of our patterns, and they went great!

We then went on the trail with several other riders. At one point, nearby hay balers could be heard. They sounded like huge monsters, crashing their way through the woods. Buckshot thought they were coming right for him, and would eat all of the horses on the trail, so he got very, very nervous. His energy quickly approached panic level. In front of us was a rider on a new horse for her, so I didn’t want Buckshot to run into them. We were surrounded by dense woods, so running through the brush wasn’t a good idea. So I quickly jumped off of him and led him by hand. It took him several minutes to relax and realize it wasn’t his day to be eaten. We walked the rest of the way. I tried at one point to move him next to an upside down water tub, to try and remount him, but he wasn’t cooperative. So we walked back to the arena. Then the class walked through a harvested cornfield adjacent to the farm. Buckshot had never ridden in this area, but he remained calm and didn’t get nervous. Overall, a great day.

On Sunday, it was beastly hot and humid again. Oh, will this weather never end!! I am so tired of it. Although Buckshot and I worked in the round pen again, I didn’t work him as hard, due to the humidity. We had an okay time in the arena. His energy level was low in general, which I guess is to be expected on particularly hot and humid days. Still, I was a bit disappointed in our canter circles in the arena. Whether it is due to my aids, my riding, or him, Buckshot didn’t want to stay at the canter on a circle. So I have asked the BO for more private lessons. I need her expertise to tell me what I am doing right, or wrong. And how I can cue him more effectively. Or if it will get better just with continued practice.

After riding, the farm was focused on getting a load of hay into the barns. So it was a long, hot, tiring Sunday. Do the horses know how much work we humans go through for them? (smile) Certainly they are worth it. But it is a lot of work to keep the hay in store for their eating pleasure (smile).


Anonymous said...

Getting off and hand-walking can be just the trick to help calm a nervous horse on the trail - good thinking!

Carol said...

Sounds like you're doing REALLY well. Good work with the canter, and you handled the horse eating baler incident beautifully (it can be scarey when they are on the verge of panic).

Grey Horse Matters said...

Glad to hear that you're making progress with the canter. Sometimes it's really hard to get it down. I think you did the right thing hand walking him, now he knows he can depend on you to save his life from man-eating hay baling dinosaurs.

I don't think they know just how much work we do to keep them safe and happy. But I'm sure they'd notice if it stopped, not that it ever will.