Thursday, November 11, 2010

a ride at dusk and the herd goes wild

Addendum:  When I went out this morning I found a 12 foot, 1.5 inch thick, solid oak board kicked cleanly in half and lying in two pieces in Cody's stall. :0  I suspect Keil Bay did the kicking, but not sure. No injuries on any geldings, thank goodness. I'm thinking instead of buying a new mower we should probably buy hitches, harnesses, and farm implements and put this crew to work!

Yesterday I had a chiro adjustment and massage scheduled for the middle of the afternoon, so decided I would ride immediately upon arriving home around 5 p.m.

A quick note about regular massage and chiro work: last week I had a massage. I'm currently getting chiro with massage after every other week. On the off weeks I'm getting massage only. Last week was the first week that I was able to get a "wellness" massage, meaning there was no specific issue to work on. I was so excited - feeling great and happy that my body was in such a relaxed, balanced place.

The massage was wonderful, as usual. I floated out of the office and came home, and was so relaxed and happy I decided to fold the mountain of laundry and just enjoy the weightless feeling of my body. I was in the living room in front of our smaller sofa, happily folding, unaware that a certain Corgi pup had placed himself right behind my feet. I took a step back, sensed him there, lost my balance, and literally fell flat on my back on the hardwood floor. All I remember thinking was "damn, the good feelings from the massage are getting ready to end."

The funny thing was, after I hit the floor and got over the shock, I realized that I couldn't really tell what part of my body had hit. I could tell I'd fallen, but nothing was especially painful. I decided to use an ice pack from the neck down and just try to alleviate bruising or swelling. I never had bruising or swelling. Or any serious impact at all. I think I was so relaxed when I fell that no part of my body tensed. I didn't twist in any way trying to stop the fall, or break the fall. I just fell like a tree.

So, back to yesterday. The chiropractor adjusted several places and the massage focused on my back. I walked out feeling fabulous again, and came home ready to ride. As I walked through the house I decided not to change into riding breeches to save some time. I called out to my daughter to come out and help me with mounting, put on my riding boots, and went to the barn. Keil Bay was waiting at the gate. He came in and I did a quick grooming, tacked up, put on the bitless bridle, and went into the arena. As he did the day before, he lined himself up by the barrel. But when I got up on the barrel he turned his head back to me, and Cody came up on the other side of the arena fence. Suddenly I was standing on a barrel with two big horse heads sniffing my legs.

Daughter hadn't come out. I got down and tried to get Keil lined up again while I also tried to shoo Cody away. Meanwhile, the sun had set and it was getting shadowy. The arena light came on. In a moment of total frustration, I grabbed the mountain block, shoved it with my foot into place by Keil Bay, and climbed on, the regular old way.

Keil looked back at me, like "now wasn't that easier than the barrel?"

And it was.

I think the bodywork was a huge factor in my hopping right on instead of fidgeting.

Our ride was a lot different than the day before. Keil is not fond of riding in the arena at night, although he generally doesn't do anything crazy. He's just super alert and ready to go at the slightest hint. We warmed up in the entire arena, with me focusing on keeping one of his ears on me as we went into the two darkest corners. I could hear deer crashing around every few minutes, and Keil was acutely aware of every sound, but he did a great job.

Given the increasing darkness, the very active deer, and the fact that I haven't been in regular work with him lately, I decided to work in the middle 20 meter circle in the arena. At first Keil wanted to cut the circle on the back field side, but we eventually got a correct circle and decent bend. We did a lot of walking and changing direction inside the circle, and then took a break around the entire arena, plus a circuit through the very dark barnyard and back. I'd left the gate open so we could easily do that.

We ended with some trotting in the circle, both directions, and then walk/trot/walk around the entire arena. While I'd rather have ridden in daylight, it was a nice exercise in connection - no need for tuning up response to aids! The deer in the woods took care of that.

About the time I dismounted my daughter came out. She smiled when I told her I'd hopped on from the mountain block.


This morning my husband came in from the barn exclaiming. The herd had broken the paddock gate and spent at least some portion of the night in the barnyard. One of them went in the hay tent and brought the entire round bale core out into the middle of the barnyard and UNROLLED it so they all had plenty of space to stand and eat.

I've seen Keil pick up an 80-lb. square bale with his teeth and toss it like a jolly ball, so it wouldn't surprise me if he's the culprit. I have no idea who rolled it out - but I guess I should be thankful one of them did, since that allowed the entire herd to have equal access!

There is never a dull moment around here.


Anonymous said...

Deer crashing?! He was very good to put up with that.

Funny story about the round bale - we have some hay bale tossers in our barn, too.

billie said...

I agree that he was good with the deer crashing through the woods - but it's not like he doesn't hear that every day and night of his life since we adjoin forest on two sides!

The one thing that seriously freaked out my entire herd was when my dad visited the barnyard with his walker. They all thought that was the weirdest thing (and sound) they'd ever seen/heard. It totally surprised me that they reacted so strongly to the walker.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Glad to hear that Keil Bay was so good for you. Also that you weren't hurt by your fall. But the biggest news is that you got on by yourself only using the mountain block. That's great news!

Funny story about the hay bale. I'll bet it was the big bay who took it out but he may have had some help rolling it out by some donkey brothers. They can always find something to get into can't they?

billie said...

Arlene, I did it again today - I think my stubborn streak has kicked in. :)

And I'm right there with you on who did the rolling out. Pushing it out with their noses sounds exactly like donkey doings to me!

Valentino said...

Great job mounting the "traditional" way Billie - glad you're spending some quality time with Keil Bay :)

The round bale caper would be fun to see a video of!

billie said...

The entire mounting thing would be so easily solved with a 3-step mountain block. I don't know why I am so stubbornly hanging on to the 2-step, or going to the extreme of the barrel, which height-wise is fine, but it's slightly precarious.

In any case, I seem to be back to the 2-step mode w/o much drama, so I'll go with the flow and see where it ends up.

ponymaid said...

Billie, glad to hear your equines are so good at foraging for themselves, to extent of removing and unrolling a round bale core. You'll never have to worry about them starving. The Woman had a mounting milk crate but Molly tried to stand on it and crashed through. It bothered her not that she had a large plastic square attached to her leg - she just stomped around til it came off in pieces. Keil sounds much more refined.

billie said...

Sheaffer, that begs the question: should a future horse be 16.2? Or 14.2?


Have you heard the story about Keil Bay breaking into the feed stall the first time I went out of town after we moved to November Hill?

He broke in, dumped a big bin of feed, and then got his hoof stuck in a wood pallet that the bin was sitting on.

A lot of horses would have then panicked, but the Big Bay simply lifted the entire pallet off the ground with his hoof and began to bang it quite hard against the barn wall until my husband came out to see what the heck was going on.

He had to cut the pallet off Keil's hoof, and when he vacuumed up the feed with the Shop Vac to approximate how much had been eaten, it turned out not that much. So Keil Bay went without his dinner tub but otherwise there was no harm done.

I'm not sure I'd call that refined - we're lucky he didn't knock the barn down!