Rusty Stirrup

From Peppy to Petered Out

This week’s ride started off with some unexpected visitors. As

By: Rusty Stirrup |

A rafter of turkeys hanging out in Luc’s field.

A rafter of turkeys hanging out in Luc’s field.

This week’s ride started off with some unexpected visitors. As I was trekking out to the very back corner of Luc’s very large summer turnout pasture, I came across a rafter of turkeys (had to look that one up). A group of 12 or so were standing amongst the horses. When they spotted Luc’s owner, my sister Jen, and I, they trotted off in that awkward way that turkeys do. Luc and the rest of his herd didn’t even raise their heads. Apparently turkeys are only terrifying when you encounter them on trail rides!

After haltering Luc and starting the tireless journey through mud and bugs and forest to get back to the barn, Luc started calling – which is really out of character for him. He wasn’t calling to his herd, oh no, he didn’t seem to care that we were moving away from them. I wasn’t really sure who the heck he was calling to, but as it turns out, I was going to find out.
After bringing Luc back into the barn and tacking him up, I headed out to the sand ring. It seemed like the safer choice given the amount of rain we’ve had recently. The grass field was just too slick. The sand ring wasn’t in much better shape, but it was still firm enough for a ride.

The second I stepped into the stirrup and swung my leg over I knew it wasn’t going to be a regular ride. Luc was dancing a little jig and completely not paying attention to me. But hey, at least he seemed peppy and was actually moving forward without mass amounts of leg and encouragement from me.

Luc and I had a rather sticky ride in the mud.

Luc and I had a rather sticky ride in the mud.

We got into the sand ring and Luc immediately started looking around. As it turns out, when I was bringing him in from the field he must have been calling to his new flavour of the month – a chestnut mare who arrived a few days earlier. She was playing hard to get and it was driving Luc nuts. He spent the entire first part of our ride with his head cranked one way, and his body going the way I was actually asking for.

After reminding him that I was in fact in charge, we got down to work. Sort of. All Luc’s peppiness suddenly disappeared when he had to do actual work. It completely petered out and I was left with a big grey lump who didn’t want to move forward. Looks like that rafter I came across earlier weren’t the only turkeys I would encounter!

I struggled through the rest of the ride, getting some walk, trot and canter in. Adding to Luc’s complete lack of forward momentum was the less than perfect footing. Luc is such a princess when it comes to that. I could feel him getting ‘stuck’ when it got even a little bit muddy. If given the chance he would have come to a complete halt. Now I should point out here that while the footing wasn’t fabulous, it was far from being dangerous, or even that bad. It was wet, but it wasn’t slick. The other horses in the ring (we kind of crashed a lesson) had no issues and they even had to do trot and canter poles.

After finishing up my ride I got off and untacked Luc. After giving him a sponge off and feeding him his breakfast we put him back out in the field. He called to his mare again, and she continued to ignore him. I’m liking this mare more and more!