"PUMA!" (Tucker begins spastically scrambling at a noise in the tall grass outside the ring.)
"No... that's a sparrow." (I begin making efforts to regain control without further escalating the situation. He is now hopping up and down, in a motion not unlike that of a confused sparrow.)
"I am a WILD UNCONTROLLABLE STALLION! I am galloping through a white water river to rush us to safety! I cannot be stopped until the coast is clear!"At this point, I managed to get him back to a walk that more closely resembled that of an equine, rather than, say, an injured kangaroo or a cat after a cold shower. We continue sounding the alarm to other (non-existent) members of the herd through a series of snorts and huffs and similar high alert noises. I pat his neck, which is now a solid coil of tense muscle. I wait until I can no longer feel his heart beat bouncing my knees off my saddle.
"No, you are a ridiculous gelding splashing around in a puddle, and you may be about to fall down. Please stop, before you hurt yourself."
The coast seemingly clear, I resumed my canter a little further down the ring and made a slow, controlled circle. Tucker gave me a heavy sigh and came back down into the bridle.
"Definitely a puma," he mumbled under his breath.You have to laugh at moments like this. They sure make it impossible to stay mad at them.