Rusty Stirrup

Beware the Winds of Change

Or in this case, the winds of silliness. It was a very blustery d

By: Rusty Stirrup |

Luc bolts thanks to some geese.

Luc bolts thanks to some geese.

Or in this case, the winds of silliness. It was a very blustery day at the barn this week when I showed up. The wind was howling and the horses were wild. More than a few of them were running around their fields. Luc was not among them, instead sunning himself as usual. But just because he was all calm and quiet in the field, didn’t mean our ride was going to be that way.

Jen, Luc’s owner and my sister, brought him inside and tacked him up. Unlike last week, where there was absolutely nothing going on inside but Luc was a basket of nerves, this week he was happy to stand like a good pony, even with the door creaking and banging from the wind. That’s a good sign, right?

Wrong. Not more than three steps outside the barn and he was spinning and staring bug-eyed at everything. Blankets flapping. Horses moving. Leaves rustling. You name it and he spooked at it on the way to the sand ring. It took me three tries just to get him to stand still enough for me to get on. The first few laps around weren’t any better.

Refusing to let his lack of concentration ruin my ride, I pushed him forward and put him to work. Bending, leg yields and then up into a nice forward trot. Which quickly turned to bolting into canter down the long side when some geese in the adjacent field decided to take flight. Thankfully, the dirt and I did not have another meeting—I’m quite happy to stay estranged for a little while longer. But instead of bringing Luc back, which would have been pretty darn easy as he’s not much of a runner, I made him keep cantering. It took two more times around the ring before we could canter past the remaining flock of geese normally. Once that happened, I let him come back to a trot.

We trotted around in each direction a few more times before I brought him back to a walk for a bit of a break. While we were walking around on a loose rein, he spooked again. This time at the jacket I’d taken off earlier falling off the mounting block. He didn’t bolt. He just shied sideways. When I asked him to walk up to it, he did so with only minor encouragement. What a good boy.

With our little break over, Luc and I went back to work, cantering in the opposite direction and working a bit more on lateral work at the trot before calling it a day. The rest of the ride was uneventful, and I was glad for it. Sometimes you just don’t want to have to deal with the fireworks.
When I hopped off him I was treated to some very loud nickers. Oh how I do love this horse!