Friday, January 27, 2012

When you are ready, part 2

Part 1

With the water obstacle off my mind we went out for our workout on Saturday morning. I was going to push him past where we had trotted to before and put a little more distance on our route. Going out we encountered the garbage truck coming up from behind us (what is it with the garbage truck???) and a bicycle coming at us before we had really even gotten away from the house. I stopped Kat on the side of the road the bike would be on, got out of the cart and stood by his head. Not that I needed to, but I felt safer doing it and once everyone was past us, we went on our way.
We trotted down our street and out to the end of the 'hood where I found we can pick up the side of the road and take off. It is wide, soft and welcoming for driving.  We were trotting along when a suburban pulls up and the woman driving introduced herself and asks if I could come show her how to hitch their mare up for driving. They have the cart, harness and mini, but don't know how to put it all together. She took my number and off she went for an appointment she was late for. Funny thing is, at first I thought she was my next door neighbor. Which caught me a little off guard until I realized she wasn't.
When we came to the corner the first time out this way a driver in their car honked at us. Lucky for me, Kat is not bothered by this. He has also showed no issue with the 4X4 trucks, trucks pulling trailers, motorcycles or any of the other craziness coming down the road while we were out. I almost laughed at the driver as I thought, Is this person really that self absorbed and think that they are really that important, that they must honk to get MY attention, so that I may acknowledge Them for looking at ME? Get over yourself, you could have caused a HUGE accident.
This time as we came to the corner, there was water in the small ditch that we were trotting alongside. There was also mud with some water running across our path and another small stream going as we turned to get up the hill and onto our intended course. Kat was eyeballing the water and wanted nothing to do with it. I figured my muddy boots, was far more safer than an accident in the mud. Sure it would be softer landing, but can we skip it? I got out and led him through the mud. He wasn't happy about it, balked, then scrambled a little, but we got through it. I scolded him a little and told him he drinks the water, plays in it and gets a bath in it too, why can't he go through the water? *eyeroll*  I got back in the cart and off we went.
I have to say he was a bit heavy this time. He didn't quite go forward with the perk and enthusiasm like he had before. He was a bit more cautious and sluggish. Which was all fine & good, but move out there, would ya...  We went past the point we had trotted to before and as we pushed on, there were gunshots out in the desert. Nice!  The first few 'pop's caught him off guard and startled Kat, but he settled right in and kept on trotting as the shots continued to pop off.   We also passed a pile of crap dumped on the side of the road containing a large mattress and other junk- he never gave it a look, just walked on by, happy to have turned around towards home again.
This time as we approached the mud, I thought about going around it. I decided screw it, you're going through it and pushed him on.  Kat was a little hesitant about going over the first part of the water, but it was narrow and he was over it before he knew it. We came down the slight hill and made the right hand turn to where he was facing the bigger section of mud.  He had a major dilemma now. How to get over or through the mud as quick as he could without stepping in it? Hahaha, nice try there bud.
He looked at the growing puddle to the left and that was just not an option. Hooray for that because the road was not far from the water.  He tried to move to the right, but my left rein and a tap of the whip told him he shouldn't.  He balked, danced around, fidgeted and tried to explore any and all options he could think of. I talked to him and told him to just move on and things would be fine. I pushed him on with only my voice, using the whip and reins only to keep him headed where we needed to go.
Finally he leaped forward and to the right towards the bushes and a barbed wire fence. I tried to keep him aimed forward and he managed to land in the middle of the mud and began scrambling like hell to get through it and out of it.  He was running almost in place as he slipped and slid with every step, but we were still moving forward. The right wheel of the cart hit a soft spot and sank, but he was determined we were to keep going.  When he finally started to gain traction and get out of the mud, he was still scrambling for all he was worth. I let him go for a few strides before bringing him back down to a trot.

I chuckled a little as I heaped on the praise. I told Kat how proud I was of him for him going through the mud and called it good. We even trotted a ways down our road towards home and when we got there- he still, no longer had white socks. His legs were brown, the boots were brown and the right side of the cart was covered in mud.  There is even mud on the seat where it flipped off the wheels and landed on the seat as we trotted along.

The neighbor? I rode the bicycle over there on Sunday and helped her put the harness on, explained how and why of each piece while making sure it was all in good order and fit right. I ground drove the mare around, then she ground drove her some. We put her to the cart, again explaining the how and why of where the straps went, what their job was and how they should be adjusted. Again we ground drove her mare a little before climbing in the cart.

Within the hour I was driving the mare around in the arena. Her owner was thrilled and was also soon driving her as we went around the arena several more times.  She said watching us go around at the trot and riding in the cart at the trot was a totally different feeling than what she had expected.  She may still need some guidance here and there and until she gets the hang of harnessing up and putting to the cart down pat, but I am happy to help and will enjoy the company out in the desert when we drive together. 

*** Just to clarify things, the mare has been trained to drive, was shown and was used to teach beginners to drive before they bought her. It has been less than six months since she had been driven so the ground driving was to get everyone on the same page, the owner comfortable with things and the mare used to her cues. Above all, when driving it is best to do what you can to keep everyone safe. *** 


fernvalley01 said...

Ecxellent! Go you and Kat, that little team, you have become with him just keeps getting better and better. It is so great when you click and know when and just how far to push!

Cut-N-Jump said...

Not all of us have that bond with our horses, and a few of us are blessed to have it with more than one. Kat and I have come a long way.