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.