Sunday, July 2, 2006

Equus Ennui-us (Bored Equines)

Sunday July 2 2006

Do you ever get bored with your job? Ever feel like just not doing it? Rather just sit around the house drinking beer or sipping espressos? Ever get bored with your partner and don’t feel particularly motivated with him or her? That was Raffiq and Spice Saturday on our ride. Boring trail (though they hadn’t been on it yet this year), it was too hot, it was too uphill, it was just a good day for staying home and eating hay all day.

But no, here were their dang humans, dragging them to the trailer, saddling them up, (bribing them with grain), stuffing them in the trailer, unloading and mounting up and smooching them on up the trail. All that, and not letting them eat grass ALL THE WAY up the trail!

First one horse would stop, pretending to have to pee, then the other would stop, pretending to have to scratch their nose on their leg (while really grabbing for grass), and then subtly try to turn around and go back, in case we humans wouldn’t notice. One time we were trotting along so slowly, a butterfly outran us, and he wasn’t even fluttering in a straight line.

Things briefly got a little exciting for Raffiq once we hit the top of Big Eagle and started heading down – the scrub aspens can grow quite thick in there anyway, but now there were numerous places we had to pick our way carefully around off the logging road, and one place I had to actually pull the downed trees off the road. I made a quite scary commotion down in the trees, pulling scary trees off the scary overgrown road. Aspens aren’t my favorite trees (I’ve had to crawl and stagger my way through some gnarly aspen thickets on hikes), and Raffiq sure didn’t like them, as they grabbed and clawed and poked him as he ducked blindly through some of the overgrown paths. I led him on foot through several tunnels, and he ducked behind me as closely as he could. Once we heard something (small) rustle off the trail and Raffiq tried to bolt – he was convinced there was a bear hiding somewhere in the aspens.

Even heading home the last mile, both horses just putzed along – until we came to their usual grazing treat spot, then they hit warp trot speed for 20 yards, and then put on the skids that would make a reiner jealous.

Friday’s ride with Raffiq and Buddy was a bit livelier – we think Raffiq and Spice just get way bored with each other, and the slower one goes, the even slower the other goes, till it becomes a contest as to who can move forward in the most drag-ass motion possible.

But it was still a gorgeous ride, high up into the aspens and Jeffreys, across a couple of raging creeks, a nice sunny but not too hot day in the Sierras. And even on this busy weekend, we avoided all human beings!

Today’s ride was a flat easy fun 7 mile ride to Twin Lakes and back. It was Spice and Buddy, who motor right along and don’t get bored together. It’s best to take a crop along when riding Spice – she doesn’t want to go in the lead unless it’s HER idea, but the crop convinces her that it IS her idea. Bitchy Spice we often call her. When she doesn’t want to do something, she’ll back up – not a good thing, as a horse doesn’t pay attention to what he’s backing over when he’s backing away from something – and the crop will stop the reverse immediately. She is a bit spookier in front (as are many horses), so you really concentrate harder and use your legs more to stay in the saddle and keep her steady. Buddy isn’t a spooky horse out front. In fact nothing much bothers him – except water. Dreaded water crossings! Some he will go across; some he will NOT stick his feet in the water. Today, for the second time at the same creek crossing, we could not get him across this one. It’s best not to give up and let a horse win, but if you’re risking getting hurt proving your point, it’s not worth it. Last time that happened, we turned around and took him on the Water Ride – where he had to cross numerous streams. (It seems to be certain rushing, noisy creeks that he’s afraid of). This time, we just backtracked a ways and continued on our fun ride, just avoiding that creek crossing.

Another fun, successful weekend of riding!

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