So, I get to the barn on Saturday afternoon, very much looking forward to a nice ride outside. I hadn't seen Tucker in a couple of days, and the rain was holding off. Perfect recipe for a great Saturday. Couldn't wait for some quality time with the best horse in the world.
Just one problem. As we exited the barn after tacking up, Tucker morphed into full-on, high alert, neon-sign-flashing-DANGER, drama-llama mode. Okay, no problem, I'll lead him down to the outdoor ring and get on there. There was some construction happening and apparently all the loud noises were blowing his mind.
Little did I know what was in store for me.
We get down to the outdoor ring and I found myself having to hand walk my now-possessed beast in circles, which, at the time, was a lot more like flying a kite than leading a horse. In his defense, there was a little more going on than your basic construction. They were delivering big, pre-fab sheds on the end of a flat bed truck, and they were unloading directly in Tucker's line of vision.
Finally, sick of staring into the whites of Tucker's eyes and listening to him snort above my head, I decide to climb aboard. After a few minutes of dancing and prancing, he settled down into a somewhat normal walk, though he continued to arch his neck, twitch his lips around and stare wild-eyed into the distance.
I decide to try and communicate. Get his mind off his, um, troubles. I head to the point of the ring farthest away from the sheds that are clearly going to kill us, and we do some spiraling in and out circles, some leg yields, and he eventually starts to relax and even stretches down a little. He takes a big deep breath and I finally feel him starting to bend around my inside leg and start tracking up. His back was relaxing. Phew. He's finally back to normal.
So, I ease him up into a trot. OH MY. He responds by stomping his front feet, shaking his head from side to side, and squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeling. Uh... not exactly what I was expecting. Okay, okay, okay. Walk. Just walk. Calm down. Please.
He walks and almost immediately settles back down. I figure it's a fluke. We do a little more working walk and when I feel him getting bored to tears again, I cautiously ease him back into a trot. Feet stomping! Head shaking! Squeeeeeeeeeeee-eeeeeeeeee-eeeeeeeeee! Oh dear lord. Walk. Please. Walk. Just... walk.
Me: Um, Tucker?
M: Mind explaining what the HECK is wrong with you?
T: What's wrong with ME? What's wrong with YOU? It's not safe out here you know. We are in a very, very dangerous position.
M: Didn't realize that. What exactly is unsafe about the outdoor ring?
T: (He scoffs) No, no, not the outdoor ring.
M: Okay.... I'll humor you. Where is the danger, exactly?
T: It's the houses. They are dropping houses.
M: Oh, well, I really don't think we need to worry about that. They're not going to drop any houses on you.
T: You don't know that!
M: Actually I kind of do. There's really no chance that one of those houses is going to fall on us.
T: Not on my watch, that's for sure! But I can only do so many things at once. And I can't watch for falling houses while we are trotting. I mean what am I, a magician?
M: I see. So that's why we can't trot.
T: Now you're catching on.
M: Since when do houses fall on horses or people?
T: Haven't you seen the Wizard of Oz?
M: Tucker, there are no horses in the Wizard of Oz.
T: MY POINT EXACTLY! Horses are very intelligent creatures. We don't stick around when there are falling houses. Dogs, lions, flying monkeys, that movie had everything except a horse. And that's because horses are way too smart to get distracted and wait around to have a house fall on their heads, so some filly can come along and steal our shoes.
M: I see. Let's try trotting one more time okay?
M: *Sigh.* Nevermind.
I don't really think anyone would have believed me, except that when I got back up to the barn, I was explaining how the ride went to someone: "Ugh, he was a NUTCASE today. Every time I tried to trot, he'd shake his head and stomp his feet, and sq--"
"eeeeeeeeeeeeee-eeeeeeeeeeeee-eeeeeeeeeee!" He was then kind enough to demonstrate for us.
Once again, my horse has valiantly saved me from the brink of danger. Thank heavens I have him to protect me at times like these. Quite sure I would be lying under a house somewhere otherwise. And some strange girl would have stolen my shoes.