Monday, April 28, 2008

Fun With Bo

Bo, the lease horse at the Little Valley* where I ride, is known for being grumpy when groomed and saddled. It looks like we're all determined to melt his crusty heart. Last week one of Susan's students took a few minutes of fussing time to braid his long mane. He looked rather disgruntled about getting a chick hairdo... but he always looks a little disgruntled when he's supposed to stand still and be fussed over.

I taught a lesson on Friday afternoon with three kids on horses.  How did it go, you ask?  Well let's just say that I'm still learning how to teach, and the next one will go much better, and leave it at that!  We're dealing with three kids all at different levels of experience, so if I can get this little group organized, I'll be a much better instructor for it. 

My son Bucky the Nerd got partnered with Big Bo.  Bucky announced soon after Champ died that he would never ride another horse other than his own mare.  He hasn't ridden Phoenix yet and says he won't.   I told him he'd be riding the only boy horse.  The biggest horse.  The cool horse.  

He reluctantly agreed.  

We got Bo into the crossties and got busy with grooming and tacking.  The horse is mellowing out just a tiny bit, although I doubt he'll ever get into it like Skyla, My Current Favourite Pony.

Bucky loves the goofiness of horses, and he loves to brush their faces.  When Bo was cleaned up, I told him to go ahead and brush Bo's face.  He seems to tolerate that after the big grooming is done.  And yes, Bo was kind enough to lower his head for the Boy to reach him!

The first thing Bucky did was to brush Bo's forelock straight up.

I laughed and said he looked like Conan O'Brien!

Bo didn't laugh.  He just gave us that look...

Oh, but Bucky wasn't done yet.  Not nearly.  His next great idea was The Emo Hairdo.

"Hey!  I'm not Emo!  I'm totally badass hardcore rapcore metalcore dude!"  Whatevs, Bo.  I think you're a lot more of a sweetheart than you'd like to let on.

This horse was quite well mannered with my son.  I was pleased.  Susan has good horses and this guy, despite his occasional grumpiness, is a good fit with the little herd.  It won't be so hard to encourage the 11 year old boy to get back on this horse now that he's had a ride.

When the two grubby boys took off to run around in the woods, my Girl and I decided to keep Bo out for a few more minutes.  We were having too much fun to quit!

I think she looks absolutely lovely on this big ol horse.

She's a very pretty rider.  Maybe it's natural, maybe it's those Wednesday night ballet classes, or maybe it's just that it's so much more fun than trying to pay attention in math class.  Possibly horseback riding is excellent for kids with ADD, or as we would rather call it, ADOS (Attention Deficit Oh Shiny).   I just love watching this kid ride.  She says she wants to learn english.  I told her good, but she'll have to wait til she can afford to pay someone other than me to teach her... in the meantime, she'll be learning western from me!

I couldn't quit for the evening without taking Bo for a little spin myself.  He is a ton o fun. 

He's getting into a jog much easier now.  I think already with a few short rides on him, he's gaining back his muscle tone after a year off.  Eighteen is on the old side for a horse, but definitely not used up.  He just needs to be worked gently until he's in shape.

He got a lope around the ring in each direction and that was it for the day.  I really haven't ridden many horses as tall as him.  

Years ago, my favourite lesson horse at a trail riding ranch was a grade Draft mare. She was massive! Her hooves were like dinner plates, her legs were like tree trunks! Riding her was like sitting on big couch. And her lope! World's biggest rocking horse...it felt like I wasn't moving forward, but I knew I was because I could feel the wind slapping me in the face, and the other horses and riders were being sucked back behind us as we passed them. Crazy cool! Bo isn't quite that extreme, but he does cover more ground than the petite mares I'm used to riding. 

I don't like looking at pictures of me on a horse because I am too critical.  I rarely approve of my leg position, my hands are too high or too low, my back doesn't look right... I can get the job done though, and I know I'm improving.  My horses are usually fairly happy, and isn't that the goal?  

He got lots of pats and affection at the end of the ride.  I think he's going to have a very good summer here at the Little Valley, don't you?  

* I'll be calling Susan's place the Little Valley from now on. Just for clarification, these are not my horses.  Susan is a Western Riding Coach, with two mares, a filly, and the big borrowed gelding.  My horses are the two Appaloosas.  So, if you're not sure who's who, the easiest way to tell is the scenery.  Red horses surrounded by trees?  Little Valley.  White horses with brown legs and brown dapples and spots, surrounded by corn fields?  Those are my horses, out at Grama's farm.  Wow, I just realized again how lucky I am...


coffeypot said...

Beautiful horse! I wish I could ride anything other than that damn quarter horse I told you about.

JKB said...

You are a lucky girl. I would kill to find a horse even to cuddle here, they are bloddy expensive and the people are snotty to boot.

One very strong reason to move somewhere where I can have a horse. I miss them lots.

You lucky thing, you. He is a nice looking boy.

Heidi the Hick said...

Coffeypot, the good thing about your "quarter horse" is that he doesn't poop as much as these guys do!

Jkb, I am lucky. I've got parents who are willing to keep my horses around just because they like them, and after a decade in the burbs, found a friend who is willing to take me on as a project. I mean, I went looking for a good coach who ran a very small place, had healthy horses, and could be a cool person... and a found a friend! And her horses are awesome! And on top of that, she's willing to train a doofus-head like me!

It's made such a difference in my life. It still sucks that my own horses are a long car ride away from me, but being able to clean a barn and ride and learn how to be a good instructor, all of 20 min from my house, has made me a more content person.

I hope you can find some horses to cuddle.

And thanks guys for the compliments on Bo. He isn't mine, but it's still nice to hear!

Tod said...

So riding a horse is like sitting on a couch? I can do that! ;)

Heidi the Hick said...

Exactly- a big warm couch that has four legs and snorts a lot.

Actually we've compared this horse to a Cadillac. Big, stretchy, comfy, not particularly good with tight turns, and has lots of momentum when moving forward!

Olly said...

Big? Stretchy? Comfy? I've never been on a horse before, but that wasn't what I imagined, lol!

Bo is pretty cute. Does he bite? My unfortunate experiences with horses always had me jumping out of their reach just as their teeth clomp together where my arm had just been!

Heidi said...

great photos! I think Bucky and I would get along well! :)

Glad to see you happy again!

Heidi the Hick said...

Olly, he's not a biter, but he does like to get his lips on anything in reach. My old gelding was like that too.

I hate biter horses. Hate it! It's such a dangerous behaviour. They bite each other to establish dominance!

Thanks Heidi! (Bucky does have a sense of humour!)

Nicole said...

Y'all look so pretty, and I love the horsie bed head. But where are the helmets!?!

(Sorry, it's the riding marm in me. Can't help it.)

Heidi the Hick said...

I wasn't wearing a helmet (I don't all the time, I know I know I should, but I just hate them) but the kids were wearing helmets. I didn't have pictures of them because I was too busy directing that crazy lesson to take pictures.

My Girl's helmet is actually very nice. It's tan with black trim, not bulky at all, and is the most comfortable helmet I've ever worn. I might hate it less than all the others I've tried...!

Heidi the Hick said...

I'm surprised nobody teased me about the bandanna around my head.

My neighbour calls it my babushka.

dilling said...

Bo is a man of action, then, eh? No cuddly feel good stuff...just go go go. There's lots of guys lke that!!!!

dilling said...

tell your neighbours to quit calling your Grandmother or Old Lady! it's not very nice.

Nicole said...

I thought the bandana was totally cool. If I had hair like yours, you can bet I'd be doing all sorts of fun stuff with it.

But I don't.



Heidi the Hick said...

Ha ha Dilling... yep, he's a typical guy!

(my neighbours say it affectionately so it's okay. At least I think they're affectionate.)

Heidi the Hick said...

Nicole, one of the little ongoing jokes at the Little Valley is my long hair obsession. The pretty red QH mare has her mane trimmed in show-ring shape. It looks good on her because she has a lovely neck, but I can't help but think how nice that thick red mane would be all grown out and long! We all agree on long tails though. Just love the long tails.

then of course, I like my men (uh, my MAN) with the long hair!

Susan sent me a photo she took of me riding Bo with all of our manes flyin in the breeze. "Here ya go. You match!"

billie said...

LOL about the forelock styles - we do this too. Our QH has the Rod Stewart look most of the time, but our favorite is the "Elvis." You take the forelock and curl it under so it makes that roll thing Elvis had. Keil Bay looks absolutely evil with his like that!

Trailboss said...

How many hands is Bo? He looks all of 16 1/2 or more!

Heidi the Hick said...

Billie the best part is that they just stand there and let you play with their hair!

Trail Boss- yep, he's 16.1hh. Much bigger than what I'm used to!