Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Long Lines of Irony

Listen to the Horse 

I was going to ride. I had a doctor's appointment in the morning and I went grocery shopping afterwards. (Got some Greek yogurt to try....yummy.) When I got back home it was sunny, warm and around 51F.  Lovely day.

Went in the house to have some lunch and do a few computer thingies, figuring I'd go back out around 3 PM or so to ride the horses.

Well. Talk about finicky weather. The sun ducked behind some clouds--or the clouds ducked in front of the sun and from nowhere, a brisk, chill breeze picked up.

OK, it wasn't really cold, but it sure wasn't 50 anymore.  I headed out, still intent on riding.  I brought Tucker in, saddled him up and headed out to the arena.  He spooked at something windblown in the woods.  But then he settled again, sort of.  I lead him over to the mounting platform and he balked, simply refusing to walk up beside it.

Now, it would have been a small matter to insist that he move up since he will respond very quickly when I insist, but something twirled around in my brain. I honestly think he was telling me, "Don't try to ride. I'm all riled up and I'm not sure I can behave.  Don't ride me. Not today."

I decided to listen to my inner voice. I took him back inside the barn and switched the saddle for the lungeing surcingle and the long lines.

Good move. Tucker was perfectly capable of working well and just as capable of simply exploding into random bucks and bolts in between the good work.  He never really tried to pull away or leap out of control. I had him well in hand, but there was no doubt he could not contain his leaps and bounds.

I am sure a ride would not have been pretty.

It is ironic because I just posted a comment on Caroline's blog that I have been just trying to treat Tucker like a "regular horse," which means, just kind of get on and ride--no questions asked.

Today, I asked questions, and I'm glad I did.  I think the weather change had just been too abrupt. As a matter of fact, by the tine we were done and I came into the house to put some hot water in nice bran mashes for the Boys--something I like to do when the weather turns suddenly--the wind had died back down and the sun was hinting of a return. It was a bit into early evening by then, so it never did warm up again, but it did calm down.

In my daring youth, I would have ridden anyhow. Not so anymore. There is no reason to take a chance when I just have a feeling it's not the right thing to do.

It was a good longlining session and a good lesson to remember.


  1. Good for you for listening to your inner voice. Sometimes you can just tell it's not a good idea to get on at any cost. In my younger days I would have too. Not anymore. I don't bounce as good as I used to. ;)

  2. The same kind of weather here today. Big blustery winds.

    My boarder rode anyway. Both horses were doing airs above the ground, and she shortly hit the dirt. No worries - she bounced - she's fourteen.

    I had no intention of riding. ;D

  3. Jean, I am so glad you long lined! NO MORE ACCIDENTS!

  4. Anonymous7:34 PM

    Weather changes, and wind, can lead to all sorts of unexpected behaviors - good decision to stay on the ground.

  5. Hopefully the long-lining workout will have him sobered up for tomorrow.

  6. There is NO regular horse!!!! Horses have their mood. My VERY level headed mare with this freak weather has become a real lunatic for a day or two, coming the day after, and she was the sweet gentle mare as ever, that I DO hack in strong winds.

    Horses can get agitated, can have a headache/tummy ache etc...

    They are not a moto, that you get on and ride!!! It is one of my pet peeve that people treat horses like moto.

    Okay Tucker can be Mummy's boy, he is a tad overfed *grin* ^-^

    But I believe from following your blog for many years (how many?) that you are an expert horsewoman, and you RIDE, not just sit up there pretty for a gentle hack!!!

    I am not saying that people should lunge their horses for 30 minutes before riding. But just handling the horse, leading him/her from the paddock to the tack area, grooming, then again leading the horse to the riding area. One gets a pretty good idea of the mental state of the horse, and decide according to their OWN criters (health, mental state, equestrian level) if the horse is rideable, or if ground work is better...

    IMO the priority number ONE is to be SAFE, if you are broken who is gonna pay the bills?
    TWO the horse must be safe.
    THREE both of you must have FUN, in the choice discipline: cross, jumping, dressage, reining etc...

    A bolting, spooking horse is NOT having fun....

    Sorry I stop my rant, now.