Well as you might be able to guess from the title of this week’s blog, my ride on Luc was not one of our better ones. In fact, I experienced some of the worst behaviour from him ever with me in the saddle, with perhaps the exception of that disaster of a first attempt at a trail ride I wrote about a number of weeks ago. He was a very bad beastie.
My time at the barn started out as it usually does, with me getting all our gear together before going outside to grab Luc. That’s where things started going downhill. At first it had nothing to do with Luc and everything to do with the weather. It seems the cold weather is truly on its way now, and I am completely unprepared for it. I shivered and shook in my non-winter breeches (might need to invest in some of those before the nasty weather really rears its ugly head) and sweatshirt, doing an odd sort of interpretive dance that can only mean the cold is coming. I definitely should have worn a coat!
Then the rain started just as I was heading outside. It was only a light drizzle, but coupled with the fact that I was already freezing my tush off, well it didn’t put me in the greatest of moods. Seeing Luc in the field did cheer me up a bit, as it usually does since he’s just so darn cute, and I tried (in vain it would seem) to brush off my downtrodden mood and think of sunshine and rainbows and cute cuddly puppies instead.
Perhaps I would have been better off with a puppy instead of a horse this week. The grooming and tacking up was mostly uneventful, but the second we stepped into the arena I had that ominous feeling that things might not go my way. Luc hates the arena. He has made no secret of that in the past, and I have first-hand experience dealing with the invisible monsters that he thinks dwell inside it. Today was different though. He wasn’t scared, just entirely fixated on the open door at the end of the ring. Okay, no biggie, it’s not like Luc isn’t often distracted when I first start my ride. I could work through this. Keeping that power of positive thinking going!
He stood nice and still for me while I got on using the dreaded bright orange milk crate contraption I refuse to call a mounting block. I miss using the picnic table! He responded nicely to my leg when I asked him to walk on and we were off. As we approached the dreaded open door for the first time I sat a little deeper in the saddle, you know, just in case. Apart from cranking his head to the outside to get a look at what was out there, no issues. Same thing at the trot. With a little work and some encouragement, we even managed to walk and trot past it with a nice inside bend, instead of whipping our head about to look at the shiny car passing by, or the people walking in the field, or that tiny blade of grass that was blowing in the cold breeze. I was feeling pretty proud of myself by this point actually. That’s when Luc felt it was time to put me back in my place.
I asked for the canter at the end furthest away from the door, and was pleasantly surprised with what I got. It was smooth and forward and round. Then we approached that darn open door, and Luc immediately broke to trot. I picked back up the canter as soon as I could, which unfortunately was already passed the door and did a circle to try again. Same thing. This time when I tried again there was some rather loud growling from me, a good kick in the side for Luc, and quite possibly a few choice words that aren’t fit to be repeated here (again, from me). Still no luck!
Back to the circle we went again. Again we failed, but this time when we went to circle and I gave Luc another swift kick to remind him just who was in charge, he squealed and tried to buck me off. More not very polite words escaped my mouth as I thankfully managed to right myself and not land in the dirt. I’m fairly certain I referenced a euphemism for donkey several times in reference to what I thought of Luc.
Okay, so trying to buck me off may be a bit of an overstatement. He rounded his back and lifted his legs (I’m convinced it was both, my sister says just one) about two inches off the ground. But still, the nerve of him! For anyone that knows Luc, this is a classic tantrum on his part. He is more than capable of cantering past the door like a normal sane horse, he just didn’t feel like doing it for me that day. I was not going to accept that as an answer. Back up into the canter we went, and this time with a lot of effort on my end we cantered past the door. Then we did it again just to make sure the first time wasn’t a fluke.
Of course, we’d still only cantered in the one direction, so I had to have the same fight going in the other direction, because well horses are just like that. It was a little easier cantering the other way, which is amusing since it was his worse direction. After just one failed attempt we cantered past the door in an acceptable manner twice and I called it day. I was taught to always end on a high note.
I should mention that I got not one, not two, but three nickers when I went to get off. Luc knows he misbehaved (the squeal was a dead giveaway) and wanted to make up for it. It worked. I’m a softie and love him no matter how much of a pain in the butt he was during my ride. It was also oddly encouraging that he was so bad. I know, a little weird that I think the fact my horse misbehaved is positive, but it means he doesn’t view me as the total beginner he needs to pack around anymore. I am worth challenging! Go me! I just hope he doesn’t plan on challenging me too much. I’ve seen what he can do with my sister on board and it’s a lot worse than an itty bitty baby buck.