Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hard Work Hardly Pays Off

July 13

Another horsey day at the ranch! A great breakfast of home made waffles was followed by 2 full hours of working with Herman. We did the normal routine of roundpen work before putting him through his paces bareback. This time, we tied the halter differently so the pressure would be on his cheeks rather than lower on his head. This would give the rider more control and it would confuse Herman less. He did very well, better than the roundpen, that is. We brought Chap in the pen for some work and I rode Herman around the corral (which contains the barn and the other horses). Or, tried to ride him. He would not listen and kept trying to go back to the barn or the roundpen. Basically, he didn't think he had to listen because he was in the place where he, usually, is free. Others got on him and he did the same thing. After Chap proved just as difficult, we turned Chap out and took Herman out of the corral to be saddled. This time we didn't attempt applying the bit or bridle, just the saddle. By then it was the heat of the day and the South Dakota sun is unforgiving. Herman was already breaking a sweat, but he still had about 45 more minutes of hard work left!! I got on him, and took him to the pasture. It's riddled with hay bales and this is where the horses spend their nights, free and without close-range fencing. He didn't seem to want to listen here either, being stubborn and fighting any command. He pretty much just wanted to go back and relax! But oh, no, not one bit! He was just earning himself more time under a rider. For a horse that did so well in the roundpen, it was hard to believe that this was the same gelding. He was just so stubborn and I could tell he only wanted to take off towards the barn.

The men got on him, thinking maybe they'd have better luck-- how wrong they were! Of course it may have been the flies plus the heat, but Herman started kicking out even more than he had with me. After trying and trying, we decided he needed a break! (So did we!) The big guy was sweating buckets, but it was good for him to be worked so hard. He isn't worked often so he needs the excersise.

After giving him a drink, we turned him out to the corral. It took a few minutes but he finally rolled as we had expected. For such a large animal who is always on their feet, it was funny and strange to watch Herman roll and stretch upon the ground!

LATER, when it came time, we let the horses loose for the night. Of course we don't send them off without a goodnight snack! Apple treats and carrots are their favourite. Devil, Rojo, and Chap come all around and between us gently, but Herman just pushes through like it's nobody's business. Little Devil has been increasingly tolerant of us, and we even were able to feed him treats! This, you must understand, is a big step for him. He's skittish and very shy, but we think that it's because of the added horses that he has warmed up to us.

[from near to far: Prince Herman, Little Devil, Chap]

~Peace Always,

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