Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011, was rainy, grey and gloomy. At the barn, Buckshot and I worked on our groundwork in his pasture, using our plastic cones. He was very interested and did a great job. After the groundwork, we walked around the farm letting him graze. He found some very tasty sections of grass!
On Sunday, the skies cleared and it was sunny and nicely cool, in the fifties. We planned to do a trail ride, and the main arena was wet but usable. I went up to Buckshot’s pasture to bring him to the barn for grooming. Several other horses were laying down in the delicious sunshine. I felt bad getting Buckshot from a siesta time, but, as is his usual custom, when I approach him in his pasture, he never moves off or acts like he doesn’t want to come with me. Well, he doesn’t come up to me either. But he never argues. As we walked by his pasturemate, lying down in the warm sunshine, I whispered to Buckshot, “I’m sorry to take you from all this, but we have important work to do! It’s very important work that only we can do.” I imagine he likes to do very important work.
I groomed him, tacked him up and took him out towards the arena. His energy was up, so we did a few exercises, and I worked on refreshing our clicker training to tighten the girth. He remembered it pretty well, the girth got adjusted, and we headed into the arena to mount. Then we began our walking around. Another boarder, who I hadn’t seen in months, was in the arena on her horse as well. The BOH came into the arena on his reining horse. The BO brought out one of her respected school horses and mounted her young grandson on him.
Then suddenly, without warning, the other boarder horse started bucking, sent his rider into the air, and then wildly ran out of the arena and into the adjacent areas, saddle flapping on his back! The rider got up, unhurt, and the BO immediately turned to help get the loose horse, who was running fast back and forth. Horses in nearby pastures started whinnying and running around, apparently excited about the adventures of the loose, fast horse. I slipped off of Buckshot and walked him up to the grandson’s horse and stood holding both horses (just in case the loose horse came back into the arena). The young reining horse stood very still. A few minutes later, the loose horse had been caught and his owner headed off to the round pen with him. Whew! A good outcome! No people or horses hurt!
We regrouped, remounted, and went on a nice trail ride through the lovely woods. If I may brag, I was so proud of Buckshot that he didn’t flinch when the horse started bucking and running loose. Maybe he has seen a lot of horse antics at the race track and so isn’t fazed by it. Whatever the reason, I was so proud of his calmness. He also calmly took the lead in the trail ride several times, and did great. (That hasn’t always been the case. When we first started riding on the trail, over a year ago, he would balk and hesitate when we led. But over time, he has changed and now takes the lead confidently when we have to. Good boy!)
After the ride, I praised him profusely and gave him his post-ride carrots. I walked him slowly back to his pasture, letting him graze on the way. Unfortunately, I had an unpleasant chore to do. It was time for his dewormer. He hates it so. But it has to be done. So, after getting him in his pasture, I held his halter and slipped the dewormer into the side of his mouth. He stood stock still, not moving a muscle, as I held the bottom of the halter and waited for him to swallow. It is as if he is thinking, I will not swallow. I will not swallow. And how can you be so mean? I will not swallow. I can outwait you, lady.
And so I stood there, not saying anything. Then I made swallowing noises with my mouth, and his tongue made a motion. I stood. He stood. I can outwait you, lady, he was still saying. (He is very persistent.) I made another swallowing noise with my mouth, and his mouth made another motion. Then I let go of the halter, and he immediately walked away, sulking. He spit some grass out of his mouth. He just stood, looking sad and sulky at me. I felt so bad. I had a treat in my pocket but sometimes (the only time) he won’t take a treat after a dewormer. I walked slowly over to him and offered him the horse muffin. He didn’t take it. I put it back in my pocket and started toward the gate. And he followed me, which surprised me, since I knew he was slightly mad at me for giving him something that tastes so terrible. I stopped and got the treat out of my pocket and offered it to him again. Again, he didn’t eat it. So back in my pocket it went and I walked away. And again, he followed me! At the gate, both he and Lucky were right behind me, so I split the muffin in two. Lucky eagerly took his piece and Buckshot finally took a piece. Then I told them I would fix their dinners and headed to the feed room to make them dinner.
(Secretly, without laughing at him, I have to laugh - he is so funny! My most willing horse becomes mad, and sulks when he gets a dewormer. I feel bad because it must taste just horrible. But it so funny to see how determined he is not to swallow, and to make sure I know he doesn’t like it or like me. But then, in time, he will come around. Poor boy!)
I hope you were able to have a ride or spend time with your horses, preferably without dewormers! LOL!