Monday, July 07, 2008

A Manure Barrel!

Brought to you by guest blogger booksbikesbeer
While Robin is in sunny, hot, and dry Arizona for the week, I told her that I would check up on Steen. I had a wonderful 4th of July weekend that involved multiple BBQs and nice bike rides, so on Sunday I was more than happy to take an easy ride out to see Steen and maybe even ride him.
The ride out was nice, a little warmer than the past few days, but not bad. Changing into jeans and boots out of wet cycling clothes was not that much fun, though. After that I just couldn’t stop sweating, and my glasses were sliding all over my face. I thought it best to just go outside and get Steen.
He was in the biggest pasture and hanging out in the second farthest corner from me. He picked his head up immediately when I called his name. He then took a couple steps towards me. But that was it. I had to go in and get him. Despite his unwillingness to meet me halfway, he was still happy to see me and had no problem with me putting his halter on and leading him out of the pasture.
After walking out the gate, through the owners’ yard, and up to the barn entrance with no problem, Steen just decided he would go no further. I had never encountered this in a horse before; easy and congenial following, and then staunch refusal and pulling back. And there was no way I could out pull him, any shake of his head brought me stumbling back. So I made him do some backing, just gently pushed on his chest and said ‘back.’ You know, just to show him who’s boss.
And he went back fine. So apparently I was only the boss sometimes. And I could guide him in all directions but forward. At this point I was feeling silly and thinking that I would have to return him to the pasture without any grooming or ground exercises. And right when I was feeling silliest a cute, young horse person comes out and smiles at me. Great.
I explained that I was the novice horse boyfriend trying to work with the experience horse girlfriend’s Paint. She took pity on me and asked if I needed help. I handed her the lead rope. Steen continued to give her a hard time and I didn’t feel so bad. But slowly and patiently she led him up to the door and let him sniff the piece of farm equipment that was sitting near the entrance. A small, insignificant little barrel (compared to a horse) that apparently isn’t always there. That is what freaked Steen out and I didn’t notice it at all.
After that Steen was great. He was still on edge, but he conceded to my slow and clumsy grooming and even picked his feet up before I asked him to. That was rather amazing. I saddled him up and we went into the arena to do some groundwork. After the manure barrel fiasco, I had decided that it would be best not to ride him that afternoon, so we did a lot of walking and trotting exercises. Occasionally Steen would get a little worked up at various noises, but for the most part he was really calm. And when I unsaddled him and took off his lead rope to let him role in the dirt (which he loves), he would only follow me around.
Even though I didn’t get to ride him, and felt silly much of the time having a horse drag me around, it was still really good for our relationship. Despite being nervous(Steen, that is. Well, mostly Steen), he did everything I asked him to and was really happy about it. And when I turned him back out into the pasture, he was semi-reluctant to leave me. What a softy. I only hope on Wednesday the manure barrel is gone so that neither one of us is nervous and we can ride.

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