Shadow Monsters in the Forest
I rode everyone out in the woods yesterday. Lovely weather and a nice day slightly shortened by a bunch of errands after church gave me at least two hours of riding time.
Trying to ride three horses in two hours is an interesting chore, especially since in-between mounts the unridden beasts went back out to the far side of the pasture. So each capture required a hike.
Toby and I went out first. About 30 yards into the ride, he stopped, threw up his head and stared worriedly off into the farther woods. I caught a glimpse of a leaping shadow which I presume was a deer. Deer are very dangerous to horses, you know. *VBWG* We call them "fangtails" around here because the real danger is that they run away, their little white tails pointing straight up looking ever so much like a shark's tooth. Thus, they are a terror....as they run in terror from the big horses. Don't ask me. Toby tries to go the other way when the deer are going another way altogether.
Fortunately, the shadow disappeared and we were able to have a safe ride.
Chance, all innocent and eager, was delighted to go out for his ride. He trotted a few times in his enthusiasm, but when I chirpped to him he came right back. Good thing. Without confirmed steering, I wasn't too keen on trotting amongst the trees.
Third ride out was Tucker. I opted for taking the trail from the opposite direction because I had spied a white paper plate in the trees, lying just so the sun shone on it. A shining white blob in the treeline, very visible is exactly the kind of thing that makes Tucker silly, so I decided to have it at his back on the way home.
We were over halfway through the ride when the leaves rustled up ahead and, from Tucker's head up "uh oh!!" reaction, I have to suspect the shadow deer was back again. I am no fool. Meeting a deer on Toby is bad enough, but to see one from Tucker's back would be to not be on Tucker's back for long. I nudged him a bit forward, patted his neck, got a stride or two more, then another balk, one of those head shakes of his and I decided to circle back. So we headed back down the trail we'd come on.
While I am a little disappointed, I am also content that I never pushed for a dangerous battle and, by circling off onto another little side trail to make the reverse, I made the choice of going back, not Tucker. This way, I never made an issue of his balk and just pretended we were heading where I wanted to anyhow.
Having been dumped off from one of his bucks, I can tell you, I do not want to repeat the experience too many times. It's far better for me to find a way to avoid the explosions. Since he was angelic for the rest of the ride, I will still give him good marks. He's not the perfect trail horse, that's for sure, but as they say, "He'll do in a pinch."