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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'm getting too old for this...

Another 'interesting ride'. I hadn't ridden Zeuss for 9 days and it was a nice day without the cold wind we've had for the last few weeks so I thought it was time.He lives in the paddock by himself ( other then the 70 roos..) and he's been stressing out a bit lately seeing gremlins and running around so he was tired and yawning when I got him.
We went down to the grassed arena and he went well although a little tired. As he was so tired and quiet I decided it would be a great day to get both our confidences up by venturing a  bit further afield.I decided to go out and along our gravel lane and let him visit the horses that live up the end.It started out nicely until we came across the neighbours herding a lame cow with footrot into the yards so they could inject it with penicillin.Zeuss freaked at this black limping blob ( even though he's shared with cows and sees them all the time). He was tense and stiff as a board , heart racing , snorting and just wanted to spin around and bolt home.Luckily he is very well trained and responsive.There is never any real control issues.I just keep him facing whatever freaks him and when we do turn away and he wants to go I just circle him and then ask him to walk..keep repeating until we get there.
So I decided to just face him up to it and wait until he realised it was only a cow and settled down and then I'd try & ride past.I even had him get close enough to the fence for the lady tending the cows to pat him but he was still freaking.It didn't help that the cow didn't want to enter the race as it knew it was going to get jabbed with a needle so the guy was yelling at it and bashing and clanging things to get it to go in.Then when it got in of course it was bashing around trying to get out..I handled sitting on a 500kg + timebomb pretty well except for a few minutes when I imagined what would happen when I tried to move off. Even though he hasn't bucked under saddle for c 4 years I still worry that when he gets ina stressful situation he'll lose it and I'll get bucked off..
 Eventually I decided now or never and it wasn't as bad as I thought.I had to circle him and he'd just spin around to face it again but eventually I managed to get him going past it. He settled down and I let him introduce himself to the horse up the road which made him very relaxed & happy.
We had to come back past the scary yards + cows so there was a bit of circling etc but I got him past . I decided when he had settled that I had better go back and walk him past them etc so he could handle it and wouldn't freak out next time we had to come past.So by advance and retreat , walk towards it , turn around towards home ,back up towards it etc I eventually got him so I could do some calm circles at a walk next to the yards. He even went over and checked out the cows who now out in the paddock and looked like normal cows..
He was back to his normal quiet self + tired so I actually had my first gallop for a year when we came up our drive..Boy he's fast!He can move!
I feel proud of how I handled it but I really am too old to need that sort of thing. It's my own fault.He hasn't been off the property for months.We both need to get out and about more and he needs to be ridden more but incidents like that turn me off the idea.I need someone I trust who is a sensitive rider to take him out and get him back to normal and then I'll take over! LOL"s.
I just got my expensive hoofboots ( which look like they might be too small) grr so I better start to get out & trailride to get the use out of them!

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