Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Woodland walks

Monday night I zipped out to see the horses for a bit as I knew it would be my last good chance to do anything with them until I return from my trip to CO. Weather Monday was nice and I wanted to take advantage of it as it was (and did) supposed to turn come Tuesday.

Because my legs were jelly from working Q the day before, I decided it would be in my (and her) best interest to not ride again that night because I would likely be frustrated at myself and transfer it to her. And really, giving her another work out before I let her hang out for another week plus really wasn't going to do a ton for her fitness level - I figured I would just wait for my return to start our 2013 conditioning.

And thus, I decided I would take Griffin on a walk. No plans to where, but just a walk to get him out to see things.

He showed up first at the gate per his norm and I let him into the barnyard while I fed the peacocks and chickens. As I finished the birds and walked toward the barn (Griffin following freely) I was surprised to see Q standing at the gate by the barn with eyes and ears focused on me. She NEVER does that. Surprising. I gave Griffin a little grain and offered for Q to come in, but by that point the other horses had come up to the gate and chased Q off because they thought I was going to feed them all. She didn't go too far, but still stood and watched my every move. With a little reluctance, I decided to let her stay in the field and stew and watch, Griffin is usually in that position after all, so it seemed only fair. (Having two horses is so difficult sometimes! I wish I had the time to devote to both of them every time I went out.)

Griffin and I set out from the barn with Kenai leading. He leads very well, giving me respectable space while still keeping up with me lagging ever-so-slightly off to the side and behind my right shoulder. We crossed the creek (which has really changed in character with the winter storms and large melting events) and headed across the field. I had decided to see how bad the fallen trees were on one of the short trails that looped to the horses' upper field. The entry to this trail has a short, steep-ish dip, crossed an intermittent stream, and then continues into the woods.

Griffin. Hates. This. Creek.

There is no reasoning, he just does. Okay, well, the reasoning is likely that he is uncertain of the footing and dislikes the contrasting color of grass/soil/leaf litter. But other than those reasons, I can't craft a reason why he shouldn't cross. He crosses the big creek with zero issues (and tries to always stop and play in it) and he crosses super mucky, muddy, the-kind-that-sucks-your-boot-off puddles with zero issues. But this little stream? NO WAY.

We did pressure and release for forward movement/head lowering to investigate. We did pressure plus annoying tapping from a stick and release. We did lunging work and then return to stream with pressure/release. I even made numerous attempts to back him into it, and I tried to get him to cross at different points within 10 feet of the "problem" area. All of this to no avail.

In fact, do you know what the little snot did? He ran me over! He was in a right mood about things and had been tossing and throwing his head (never had he done this before) and when I went to make him move his feet the second time he bowled past me, pushing me out of his way. He learned VERY quickly this was not the answer, as he had to move his feet double time for that. But despite this, minutes later, in his attempts to avoid placing his feet anywhere near the god-forsaken stream, he did it again. Le sigh.

The sky got dark in a hurry and visibility was getting dangerous for me, so I found a small positive point to end on and left it at that. We're going to go back and conquer this damn thing upon my return from CO. And I fully plan to tackle it at a time where I have hours of daylight. I am cautiously optimistic that Griffin will be in a less bratty mood and will be more willing to cross the evil little creek. We'll see.

Oh. And a surprise positive moment when I returned to the barn and let Griffin out? Q came galloping across the field to greet us as we walked up the drive. She met us at the gate when I let him out. She waited while I gave him his scratches and then she approached and let me scratch and love on her for a good 5 minutes or so. We both stood watching the light fade from the horizon and the windmills on the adjacent ridgeline. She slowly inched closer and closer to me while I scratched under her throatlatch until we were both standing like old friends watching a sunset side by side. Hell, if she'd been a boy we'd probably have been holding hands. That was how the moment was. I enjoyed getting to see that she can be a little loving and sweet with me. I love her work ethic and manners, but a little sweetness under all her fire is a nice discovery.

1 comment:

  1. Mares. They can be so fickle-they want you most when you're ignoring them! Q has so many quirks that remind me of Lily. :)