Monday, May 25, 2009

Channeling Cowgirls Past

"Don't screw with me fellas.
This ain't my first time at the rodeo."
— Lulu Bell Parr (1876-1955)

Friday — Don't Screw With Me Fillies
When I got home, flies and mosquitoes were driving the Gurlz to distraction. They looked as if they were having spasms, kicking and biting at themselves. I looped a lead rope around ringleader Vera's neck and had Mike hold her so I could spray her. So we thought. She threw her head and swung her pretty spotted butt and refused to stand still. I slapped her on the shoulder, but she wheeled hard, spinning Mike around, snapping the catch of the lead rope so it jammed Mike's thumb. She grabbed tagalong Amber, and took off to the opposite end of the property with the lead rope swinging on either side of her. I was pissed, because now, I had to grab a halter, trudge out there, and catch her.

If there's one thing Heather has taught me, it's this:
always win.

Captive fashion templates

Amber wants to be sweet, but looks to the 6-months younger, bossier Vera to dictate her every move. Although they did not approach me, I walked right up, haltered Vera, and Amber followed. All that for a little fly spray. I had intended to give them grain after I released them, but Vera herded Amber and both did a beautiful grand jeté across the dry creek bed. Amber saw the buckets and wanted to come back, but Vera wasn't buying it.

Although I enjoy watching the fillies fill out and become more social, what it's really doing is making me miss my own horses. All our animals are goobers after you get to know them, and the Boyz are no exception. The Gurlz seem to take themselves so seriously. They don't run and play like the Boyz. They don't drop and roll the second they're turned loose from grooming. (Hmm, I may have to give that more thought. That part's kind of nice.) The Gurlz aren't goofy enough. We miss our big, goofy Boyz. But they will stay where they are for at least another week. More about that in a later post.

Saturday — Off to the Farm
Heather tilled the arena, and I laid out barrels and ground poles. Heather rode Doodles, her dad's horse. Nita, on her first ride since messing up her knee, rode dependable Jaz — I bought Jaz from her. I rode Pokemon. I told Heather my main goal was to ride a relaxed horse, even if we walked the entire time. I am still having tack issues, and both my Boyz are out of shape, so we only rode about 20 minutes. I need to be patient and persistent, and continue doing short sessions like that to break in the saddle. Heather watched us and says the saddle fits and his movement is not being restricted, but he's not feeling the love. There's no way I can determine if that saddle is going to work in the long run unless it's broken in.

I walked Poco around the course first. He was very happy when he saw Jaz come into the arena. We all played and tried to get our seats back after so long (rain!) not riding. I didn't have to fight with him at all. At one point, I was stopped, waiting for Doodles and Jaz to go over the ground poles, which we had just done. Doodles went first, then Jaz. I wasn't holding Poco's head, and he turned himself around, lined himself up and went over the ground poles again, as if to say, "Let me show you how it's done." Too funny.

No photos — too busy having fun.

After the ride, we gave Crash a MicroTek bath to clean up some mane itchies. He's a yearling, so it was also a good lesson in patience and manners. I was very wet.

Champion Lady Bucking Horse Rider of the World (Lulu's title)
Nita had overdone it with her knee, so she went back to the house to relax. Heather and I were talking about horses (what else) and the subject turned to Scorch, her 2-year old stallion, who is also Rico's full big brother. Scorch is a big marshmallow. For as huge as he is, he's very gentle and well-mannered. He is a draft cross, but although he's got the height and substance, he's not heavy and drafty. He's built like a Hanoverian or Dutch Warmblood — big and meaty. I have walked up to him in his catch pen as he was lying down, sat on him as I groomed him, and he never moved a muscle. I tease Heather that I broke her skeery stallion for her.

So, as the conversation turned to Scorch's first ride, I said, "C'mon, help me up." My weight isn't going to hurt a 16hh massive 2 year-old for five minutes. We put a hackamore on him, I climbed the fence and threw my leg over him. He didn't move, and his ears remained soft and forward. I got on and he just stood there. Heather got him to take a few careful steps forward. He was okay with me being there, but not so sure about the shift in my weight when he moved. The funniest part was when Jim went by on the mower, and we waved to him. He waved back, then did a double take, and stopped the mower to watch the breaking of the monster stallion. It was a non-event. Sorry, Lulu.

Sunday — Clean Fillies
I couldn't muster the energy to drive back out to the farm, so both Gurlz got a MicroTek bath. Amber really needed it. Being an amber champagne, her skin and haircoat are so odd. Her skin is a dark, livery pink, with black freckles. Her coat is slightly thinner, slightly finer than many horses. She has a skin condition that makes her really "crawly". I have always had good luck with MicroTek products, but as soon as she was dry, it was as if the skin on her back curdled, in that lacy sort of way. Still, it seemed to soothe her a little, so I applied several good, soaking coats.

I don't know nuthin' about nuthin', so did some internet research. I believe she has equine exfoliative eosinophilic dermatitis (equine cradle cap), which is actually a form of seborrhea. I had that as a teenager. It's basically coagulated body oils that irritate the skin. Next time, she'll get a bath in a pine tar/sulfa shampoo, and I may look for a cortisone cream to help soothe it.

A big brag on my friend Heather and the way they work with their youngsters: the fillies' manners were impeccable. They stood well for the bath. Amber went first, so she was tied for over 2 hours. I was even able to scissor-trim their ears. Both seemed to enjoy their spa day, and neither of them has rolled yet!

Heather told me the woman who bred Amber sold her because she didn't feel Amber was suited to either of her two main disciplines — reining or barrels. I think she was right. If Amber could, I think she would come in the house and lay on my lap while I watch TV. This girl wants to be someone's pocket pony. Incredibly sweet, quiet.

Vera has a good, quick mind, and is more athletic than Amber. She has her mother's 'tude, but I predict Heather's going to have a fine, reliable mount when she's 5-6, or has foaled.

The rest of the day was spent puttering around the house and a few luxurious moments parked in a lawn chair, catching some rays.

Monday — Second Verse, Same as the First
I have a few chores to do, then I'll head out to the farm again today. I'll ride Poco, then I may saddle Quaker, back from a brief lease. I bet Nita won't ride today, so if Heather doesn't ride Jaz, I may get on him too. Both Jaz and Quaker are much more tolerant of my ineptitude than Poco. Everybody knows how I feel about Quaker.

I hope everyone is having a nice long weekend. Don't forget to smooch your ponies.


Cactus Jack Splash said...

Wow,a bunch of adventures. A bunch of fun.

Leah Fry said...

I have more fun than anybody :-)

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Those fillies are looking really good. Wanna come bath about 20 more head? Holy Moly-I have so many manes and tails to wash. My mom says she doesn't know why I bother, but Megan and I do enjoy scrubbing everyone up and making them "pretty".

Leah Fry said...

There is the "pretty" factor, but there's also keeping various skin irritations at bay, which some people don't think about. Besides, the Boyz don't stay pretty for longer than they're tied.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Wow, what a full weeked you've had. Makes my Gin Blossoms concert on Saturday seem as boring as eating a bowl of oatmeal. :)

I hope you have a great time riding today, too.


ps I didn't hug my painted pony, but I hugged a pregnant I kinda hugged two ponies!

Paint Girl said...

Busy weekend with lots of horses!
I love a clean horse! But mine will go and roll immediately after a bath! I can't believe those 2 don't do that! But that is really cool they don't, they like being clean!

Anonymous said...

Ugh, my horses look like filthy mongrels from a third world country. You have inspired me to get after the girls!

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