Monday, January 11, 2010

King...err - Queens of the Road (?)

"trailers for sale or rent, rooms to let $0.50, no phone, no pool, no pets. . . I'm a man of means by no means King of the Road!"

All right, so Arabee and I aren't exactly ruling the road, but we sure have been spending a lot of time walking it. Also, I hope at least some of you are humming that song to yourselves while reading this post!

On Sunday I wanted to see how far 15 minutes of handwalking got us as we traveled south. I'll check the distance with the car maybe today if I remember, but we got past B & S's house to "the roost" and then past the north side of the field about 50 feet. I know this means almost nothing to anyone reading, but in another 5 minutes of walking we'd have probably reached the barn with the arena.

Which probably means that it wouldn't be too much of an advantage to trailer Arabee over there if I am able to ride in it again. By the time I'd get the truck started, warmed up, hitched to the trailer, put the tack in the trailer, loaded her up, drove down there, unloaded her, tacked up, got in the barn, rode, got out of the barn, untacked, loaded back up, drove back home, unloaded Arabee, unloaded the tack, parked the trailer, and unhitched the truck....I think it would take about the same amount of time to just walk down there! And I am out of shape enough it will do me a lot of good to do just that!

I am unclear though about the Rules of the road when it comes to walking your horse on it. Pedestrians are supposed to walk against traffic, with the right shoulder towards the road. Bicyclists are supposed to ride with traffic, with the left shoulder towards the road. My guess is that when I'm walking Arabee, we're Pedestrians, but if I were Riding her on the road, we'd ride WITH traffic, like a Bicyclist would? Does anyone know the law on this? I want to follow the rules in case an accident would happen we'd be in the right.

There isn't much traffic on the road, really. In a little over 1/2 hour of walking, only 4 vehicles came by. The trouble is that half of the time the vehicles were noisy trucks, which are a little more scary apparantly for Arabee than SUVs or cars. Judging from her current reaction - I could ride out a passing SUV or car if it slowed down, but it'd be a little iffy if a truck passed. Right now, I make sure we keep walking, and assuming traffic is clear, we turn around and face the vehicle as it approaches. She's fine as it approaches, but once it's behind her she gets a little fast/bouncy. It's good practice for her to be on the road while I'm on the ground.

Her hooves have been improving also since I've been walking her on the road - they look nice! It's so neat to watch the way they wear on their own.

I'll post more soon about the bitless headgear. I've ordered something, and it should ship tomorrow, but I'll wait until I try it out to post more about it.

Also, on Saturday (posting this since a lot of the point of the blog is to keep a log of what we do) I tacked Arabee up - saddle, breastcollar, and crupper, just to remind her that the crupper was okay. I wasn't dressed to ride, so I just walked her down to the house where Matt was unloading a wagonload of fire wood into our woodshed. He'd just finished up, and he fired up the old JD 50 tractor to put the wagon away. Rodeo time! So we walked (me) and bounced sideways (Arabee) along while he put the wagon away, then followed him back. She finally did calm down, but it took a little bit. It took longer than it should've, I think because she was feeling good and it was fun to snort and prance, and it was cold and brisk.

Anyway, I've been having fun gradually getting back in shape, and playing around with Arabee, even if I'm too wimpy to actually get on and ride in the cold right now! We'll get there, soon enough.


Anonymous said...

At least your getting out there. I did ride Sunday. But it was slick on the gravel road. The paved roads weren't bad. I took the new gelding and our still fairly new to us half puppy half grown dog. (he's part lab part german shepherd) He so LOVES to go with me but I have to keep an eye on him because he gets destracted; thinks about chasing cars, wants to run up to any person or animal that is out, gets stuck behind a fence and can't find his way out, etc. I did a good 4 miles of trotting with Shazam on the pavement. He was sweating a bit when we got back. Poor guy is so out of shape, but his mind just doesn't know it. He has a really strong desire to go go go. He will be a nice endurnace horse once he gets into shape.

Come out to my place and ride sometime if you want. When you finally get ready. I have a good 14 mile loop that I like to do that is really fun to ride and good conditioning for the horses.


Endurance Granny said...

Nicole. It is my understanding that if you are handwalking you face traffic as if you are (because you are) a pedestrian. If you are actually riding your becomes a vehicle and you ride on the right side, like a car.

Road riding is one of my winter goals and I'm afraid I'm going to run out of winter before I can get myself to Michelle's place. Have hand walked Phebes twice now and she is VERY SQUIRRELY! I've been thinking about leading her out, and riding her back, but first I need safe footing and I want to put gloves on her all the way around. They really wear hoof on pavement which is what I have.

Now that are way too young to even know that song and if it gets stuck in my head you are in big trouble! ~E.G.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nicole!

I rode for the first time last week after a three week"holiday"break.
My horse Synsation looked alittle bit shocked when I threw the saddle over him.We had a great four hour ride with some interesting animal encounters!First we cantered into a large group of pigs/piglets.Both horses backed up and snorted,but proceeded on when they scattered.
Then on the last loop(bordered by a deep canal,eight foot wide path)we come across a three foot iguana sunning itself.Synsation decided he would pass him and gave him "swivel eyes"as we continued on our way.It was our last mild day as the weather for the last few days has been highs of 40' south florida.


Nicole said...

Michelle - thanks for the invite! I'm going to wait at least another month or so before I haul out to ride. Luke is still just 2 months old, and I don't want to be away from him that long yet!

Nicole said...

E.G. - Thanks for the clarification on which side to ride/walk on.

As for squirrely-ness...I am choosing to wait to ride Arabee on the road until she stops going sideways when a loud pickup goes by. I have more control on the ground with her (you ride the horse you lead, says John Lyons I think - and I agree!) Arabee seems to take confidence from having my feet on the ground, as a herdmate, but when I'm up, she feels less sure. She's also always faster and more reactive when we are on our way back home, even on the lead rope, so I'd probably do the reverse of what you said - ride out, then handwalk back in.

I have pavement too, and I'm looking at it as an opportunity for her to self-trim! I don't plan on booting unless I have to for her comfort. I just think the structures of the hoof would provide a bit more traction on the road than the surface of the boot.

Nicole said...

Alicia - You're making me jealous! The most wildlife we find here in Indiana are deer and squirrels, no iguanas here! What a fun ride you had :-)

Endurance Granny said...


You are that I think about it I always have "more horse" pointed home than the other way.