Let me paint the picture for you. I have the day off from work. It's gorgeous out. Sunny, blue skies, no wind. I have to pull off my long johns when I get to the barn. It is unseasonably perfect weather. Naturally, I wanted to ride outside, and I figured that since I had ridden outside at my clinic last week it wouldn't be that big of a deal for that big brown
So we get out to the arena and I set up a few small jumps, figuring we'd had two good flat work sessions this week and I'd practice what I learned at my clinic last weekend. Tucker followed me around like a dog, as per usual, ears at half mast. So I bring him back to the mounting block, tighten my girth, throw the reins over his head, pull my cooler halfway back, pull down one stirrup, and then pull down the other.
For reasons that no human will ever understand, the sound of the second stirrup hitting the end of the leather (a sound no horse has never heard before, obviously) signaled such severe and significant danger that Tucker leapt from a standstill to a gallop in a nanosecond. In part of that nanosecond, I still had one finger on the reins and contemplated possibly hanging on to him. And then he kicked out at me. Yeah. That's right. Attack the mother. Good idea. Thanks a lot buddy.
As he galloped a circle around me, depositing his (newly laundered) cooler neatly in a mud puddle as he went, I thought I might be able to head him off at the in-gate and prevent a complete disaster. I, of course, thought wrong, because a human trying not to run and frighten her horse is obviously much slower than a 17 hand warmblood barreling forward at Mach 10 on high alert. And out the gate he went.
My first thought of course is on the riders in the indoor, who were probably not expecting a large brown
I head out after him, realizing as I go that my
So after an exasperating few minutes worthy of a three stooges skit, chasing my
After making sure that the poor frightened mare turned out in the round pen had been caught, and seeing that the horses in turnout were quieting down, I march him back across the property to the outdoor ring. He is still snorting and prancing and generally carrying on like he's just been extremely brave in the face of certain death. I grab my lunge line out of my trailer as we walk past. He begins to humble at the mere sight of it. He knows what's coming. After a quick discussion about how we do not LEAP or STRIKE as we walk away from our mother on the lunge line, but rather we walk calmly in a circle until we are asked to TROT, and not GALLOP, Tucker finally begins to re-inhabit his own body. As I watch him trot around and around, I can see the old familiar "but I HATE the circle game... this is soooooo stoooooooopid.... whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy...." expression on his face. After a few more minutes of this torture, mostly for my own edification, I let him walk for a bit and then climb aboard.
The ride was great. He was actually very well behaved. And I made him work his little tail off. We did not, however, get to any of the little jumps I had set up, nor did I work on too many of the things I learned in my clinic, other than practicing not slouching. I did, however, get a good reminder that we should always ride the horse we have today, and sometimes that means scrapping our plans. (There's a life lesson in there somewhere too.)
I'd ask if anyone wants a nice big brown horse, free to a good home, but I know there'd actually be takers... and I know I won't stay mad at him much longer. I did just buy a bag of carrots, and they're going to go bad if I don't feed them to him.....