Monday, January 9, 2012

Ear Pictures Make Me Jealous

You know the ones I'm talking about.  Most of you have probably even posted a few.  The picture of the scenery from between the tips of your horses ears.  I've seen green pastures, snowy fields, deserts, ditches, jumps, grass, trees and the blue sky of a perfect day.  I want to have ear pictures!  But even if I was able to snap a shot while I'm riding, it would most likely be a picture of an arena wall.  My barn is wonderful.  The care of the horses is impeccable and my pony gets to live outside.  The arena has sand footing that gets dragged regularly and two open ends, so there's fresh air.  But there's nowhere to ride outside.  Or at least nowhere that feels safe to a chicken rider and a green horse.

We are on the end of a gravel road that is probably thirty feet (I'm terrible at measuring distances and such, but it's not super long).  I could ride down this road, which is lined with threes and has minimal traffic.  There's only one other house and then the barn at the end.  But it opens up onto a quieter, but paved, road which then goes onto a busier paved road with no shoulder.  I've heard you can cut through some places to go ride in the quieter, housing development roads in the neighborhood.  The idea of falling (especially as my bones go all old lady on me) is hard enough to swallow without introducing pavement into the picture.  Add to that a green, spooky horse who doesn't wear shoes and it feels like we will be stuck inside FOREVER!

Everyone says that to keep their green horse interested, they hack out at least once a week.  How can I accomplish this when I have no truck/trailer and no access to any actual trails?  Should I just start hand walking her down the drive a few times a week to start?  At this point, remember, my horse is so nervous that if she changes stalls or goes to the other side of the barn she starts to tremble and over react.  We've been visiting the 'scary' side of the barn regularly, but she still has quite a reaction, especially to the goat (OMIGOD THAT THING IS GOING TO LEAP OUT AND KILL ME WITH IT'S SCARY GOAT EYES!  I CAN'T WALK PAST IT!  IF I TAKE MY EYES OFF THAT SLEEPING GOAT, IT WILL SOMEHOW JUMP ME LIKE A COUGAR! ).


  1. goats are rather creepy i dont blame her...
    With my guy we play games that get him thinking in a different way than training does. We go into the arena when it is empty with a Big ball (like a pilates workout kind) and i will push it around at first he will watch me like im a retard then he will join in the full pushing it around and stuff.
    Just little things to help build our relationship, that might be a safer bet while she is so nervous, and keep you relaxed as well! Its also tons of fun i kill myself laughing everytime!

  2. I find goat's eyes unnerving. Before I was brave enough to go on trail rides, I hand-walked my horse up and down the long driveway of the place I board at. In the summer, I would take him to a grassy spot and let him graze. In fact, I still walk him up and down the driveway. It still gives him a change of scenery and over time it helped me build my confidence.

  3. I agree about trying hand walking. I do that a lot with my greenie mare - we hand walk it first and then ride it. Seems to give my girl and I both more confidence. Or, if you are lucky enough to have another horse and rider strike out with you - as long as the other pair are calm and quiet.

  4. Hand walking. Took a nervous OTTB once and after a couple months of hand walking, he was actually awesome on the trails (we had walked them all many times).

    I admit, hold off on riding in the paved roads for awhile. Moon is a steady-eddy on the trails, but when a truck whips down the road the wrong way, even he gets a little nervous.

    But if you work on it slowly and gradually (starting where you're most hand) and progress from there. And if you're nervous about him running away when you're leading him...I often use a longe line so you have a bit more time to react to spooks. Often they just go a few steps and it gives you a little more length of lead). : )

    Good luck. Hope you get those pics you're dreaming of!

  5. Sounds like some hand walks are in order. We'll see if the weather will cooperate (of course as I'm at my work desk, I'm staring out a gorgeous sunny day right now...) and we're going to start heading out into the wild world! Instead of ear pictures, it looks we'll starts with shoulder pictures. :)