Saturday, March 27, 2010

Chase the Horsey

Today, when I went to ride with Sierra, Cibolo decided he preferred not to come to me. This is probably the worst he's done - sometimes he'll come right up, other times he'll step away, but give in relatively quickly.

We all want our horses to come up to us in the field. When they don't, it's a bit of a rebuke. But I'm not going to take it personally.

(okay, I'm going to TRY not to take it personally)

Yesterday he'd had a spook fest with my friend Stephanie and she pushed him through it. I'm not sure if he was still in that mental space, or if it was just hot, or if his feet are sore, but we had a nice long game of chase the horsey.

There were three horses in the paddock and I sent them all running. I'd get Cibolo cut out, but he was high headed and jumpy. So I decided to try something different. I chased them around for about five minutes longer, really getting the other horses (who knew I wasn't there for them) tired of messing with me.

I'd cut Cibolo out of the herd and he'd stand there looking at me. I'd meet his gaze, then turn my back on him and went send off the other horses for another run. Basically, he was rewarded for standing still.

He was pretty surprised. He'd join up with the herd as I sent them around again, I'd cut him out again. We'd face each other, I'd exhale and then turn my back on him.

I did it three more times. Sort of like a "I don't want to be with you. I'm just ordering everybody around, because I am in charge" attitude. On the fourth round I turned to him and he took a step toward me. I walked to him, petted him, then walked away. His jaw dropped.

(I swear, they are just like men)

Anyway, one more time and he was like "PLEASE, can I go with you now?"

He was a bit spooky on our ride, but I kept bending and turning and really working on giving him plenty to do. We did more obstacle work and had a grand time. He was slow as molasses, tentative with everything, maybe it was his hooves, maybe the sudden heat of the day, maybe his game of chase the horsey wore him out. We'll work some more tomorrow, I hope.

After a good rinse off, gusts of wind came up and he worried some more. All the horses did. He danced a bit in the alley, but was calmed down with a bit of conversation.

So much to do... I'm re-reading through a great email on barefootness from Mrs. Mom (thanks Mrs Mom!!), dreaming of a new saddle I'm bidding on, enjoying my new riding pants (although this will be the last time I use that company to order from), wondering about my horse and if we'll be playing chase again - and why we did today.

Time, as usual, will tell.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Interesting method dealing with Cibolo's hard to catch edisodes. Sounds like it was successful.

I hope you get the saddle you are wanting. Tell me more about your new riding pants (and why you won't order from 'that' company again)


Leah Fry said...

I've been known to pull that maneuver with mine. I've even been known to say, "Go on, I don't want you anyway." Snotty ponies.

Gail said...

I am learning alot reading your post. Thank you.

Jocelyn said...

lucky for me Star 99% of the times come s to me, but when she WONt, I chase her until she thinks she is going to die :)

Susan said...

Star, our palomino, used to be hard to catch. One day I went out to catch him and he wasn't having any of it. I pushed him out of the herd and as far away as I could on foot. He ran around me of course, but I kept doing it and after about half an hour and a good workout I successfully caught him. Horses don't like being separated from their herd, so it's up to us to provide a safe place to be by being good leaders when they don't have the safety of the horse herd.

allhorsestuff said...

I loved your tactics!
I have has success just making the evasion very uncomfortable...though my mares LOVES to run...the last two times she ran with the other horse to evade my asking her to come on and join me...I whip the rope end...she ran with the other horse, to the other end of the field and hid behind him...but as he stood tired..she came trotting back across the filed to me! Last two only took a few years...I am happy with that!