I’ve been working with a big pretty Palomino quarter horse mare, who’s gone from being a bit of a spoiled bully, though not mean-spirited, to a nervous jiggy-trotting pasture horse. I wanted to check cows with her, to sort of get some of the excess energy bled off her so she could relax and walk. She had a tendency to get her head in the air and come up out of the bridle around cattle. I warmed her up a little at the barn and then took off at a long trot down the pasture. Down the steep hill we went, along with the noisy highway, through the deep creek crossing, chest deep in “coffee with cream” colored cold water. Then I detoured into a brushy area we call “hog heaven.” We dodged limbs, stepped over logs, and plowed along in pretty mushy ground. It reminded me of the story about the cowboy down on the coast who came upon a buzzard flapping his wings about thirty feet in the air, but not moving. The ranny finally noticed that the buzzard had bogged it’s shadow in the mud and couldn’t fly away. Well, we came to a slough, still water with scum growing across the top. Older cow tracks appeared to have crossed it. My deal is; if a cow can cross it I can too. It didn’t take long to disprove my theory. She went down, thrashing and rearing, I thought she would land on top of me. I jumped off, and nearly stuck myself before I floundered out on the bank, my boots full of stinking water. She was sulled down, and looked to have quit. I commenced jerking the rein and yelling. She finally floundered her way out, and flopped down in a huddle on the bank. After breathing a bit, we both stood up, I re-mounted, and we found another way out. She was walking, head down, like a show-horse from then on, even through the scarey cowherd and all the spooky objects in the pasture.
We’ve bogged John Deere tractors on this place, down to the axles. We’ve lost cows in bog holes on the creek, they died there before we could get them pulled and dug out. Needless to say I was pretty darn scared there for a while. But the mare seemed to have come through just fine. Oh she looked like an Appaloosa, with black mud splattered all over her yellow hide, but she worked like an old campaigner after that.The episode with the quicksand completely changed her attitude! Not that I recommend bogging horses as a training technique, but we are sure buddies now. I might have learned yet another lesson about crossing water; though Sallie doubts it