Friday, October 24, 2008

Today is a beautiful day! Sunny and warm and perfect for a ride. I saddled Tonka up and we had a wonderful ride here at home all by ourselves. Normally I hate riding around here by myself. We rode to the round pen, opened and closed the gate, then went down to the creek. He was afraid of the erosion control cloth so I got off and led him across the creek. Then we rode the fenceline on the other side of the property. Something I've wanted to do for years! Finally did it, now that the banks are manageable for crossing.

We have an eating problem. He eats grass constantly, snatching it whenever he can, to the point where he'll fall on his face if he has to. Yesterday he frustrated me to no end. It was a beautiful ride, but I spent most of the ride frustrated with my horse. So today when we got into the grass that was tall enough to tickle his nose, I started backing him a long ways every time he took a bite. I won't say it cured the problem completely, but it made a huge difference. I haven't done anything like that on the trail because when you trail ride, you're going somewhere. I think I'm going to have to start telling anyone I ride with that there's a potential I'll have to do some "work" and will hold up the ride a bit at times.

We trotted some circles and serpentines, trying to get up enough sweat under my dad's saddle to see if it's a good sweat pattern. Then rode back over the creek and trotted some more and went home. He was an angel. I felt like we were being a good team for the first time in a while. He's been kind of a pill lately, flipping me subtle attitude. But he was a cuddly sweetie after our ride today. Hmm... Maybe it's the saddle change. He didn't sweat under the saddle today though. Just on his chest, which doesn't help me a bit. I still think it's not a perfect fit because of the way he travels, but maybe it's better than the other saddle.


spottedmules said...

I think that's a really good way to deal with Tonka's eating. I do the opposite with Chico, I make him go forward faster. With Cody, I swat her. Catlow doesn't try to eat too much, but when she does, she's easily discouraged with a gentle tug on the reins.

I thought Tonka has a pretty nice hip too. Catlow has a bubble butt. Tonka's hip looks like Chico's...they are super stout hipped..kinda wide across the top from point to point, but they don't bubble out like Catlow's....they are smooth. I think that Tonka has a great face...with beautiful mane, and his gentle eyes. He's a very cool laid-back horse. I had a great time too! Maybe we can see if it can happen again before I leave. Once more would be nice. And I don't mind if you train on the trail when we ride. :)

Linda Reznicek said...

Funny that you bring it up--my husband's horse, Shadow, was ripping my friend's arm off on our ride Wednesday. (He let's him eat grass and has developed a bad habit). My husband and I get into this a lot, whether to allow them to eat or not--I don't, but he likes to make his own decisions with his own horse.

spottedmules said...

I personally let them eat, as long as they do it politely and keep moving...but it does seem that once you start that, they just get worse and worse. Chico got worse and worse, and I was getting so frustrated with him that I finally said absolutely no eating while we are riding. After several rides, he quit trying as much, but he does still try...I have to be vigilant to prevent him. But it's so much better now. It's a hard decision to make...I like to let them graze, I want them to enjoy themselves out on the ride and their pasture has no grass, so it's a nice treat. I just have to make it be certain places like when we stop to rest.