I got to ride yesterday! With all of my horses, before I mount up I have a routine of walking around the ring. I do this for a variety of reasons. The first is so I can gradually tighten the girth. I find if I walk the horse a little, it’s easier on both of us. The second reason is so the saddle can settle on the horse’s back without me in it. The third is so I can check out the footing and make sure it is good. The last two reasons are related: so he can have a chance to look around a little, which then allows me to see what kind of mood he’s in.
Well, yesterday, PJ and I are strolling nicely around the ring. I stop to tighten his girth a hole. We walk on. Then all of a sudden, I no longer have a bobbing head next to me but a giant black giraffe behind me with his head in the air, his tail over his back, and snorting. (His reaction to everything is to raise his head in the air as high as he can – I’ve heard it’s a Friesian thing.) The object of his attention is one of the blue barrel jump standards that had blown into the woods. Telling him he is being a silly pony, I walk him up to the barrel. Okay, he realizes that that barrel isn’t so bad but the other one down the hill is going to eat him. And he jumped back 10 feet.
Figuring once we’re back in ring he won’t see the second blue barrel I just lead him away from the first barrel and make him pay attention to me by jiggling the reins, talking to him, and making him walk at the speed I want. He calmed down enough for me to get on.
Once mounted, I put him right to work, so he would forget about the scary blue barrels. And we ended up having a fabulous ride. I wonder what he’ll think of the blue barrels today…