That was the theme of this week’s ride. It was a beautiful day, albeit a bit windy, and I had been planning on another day of no stirrups work. Luc, however, had other plans. After mounting up I headed down the driveway to get to the entrance of the grass ring. Every other step Luc would stop in his tracks and stare wide-eyed at something. First it was the dogs, then the quad (which was parked), and then the new fence posts. I knew right then and there this was not going to be an easy ride.
Things only got worse by the time we actually made it into the grass field. You know that pile of wooden fence posts I mentioned last week that Luc had been so fixated on – they’d been moved into a different location in the field. And OMG they were still completely terrifying! I managed to push Luc past them but then he noticed the pile of fencing equipment covered by a tarp in another corner of the ring. Did I mention it was windy? Which meant the tarp was blowing. Which was the SCARIEST THING IN THE WORLD! More spooking ensued while I worked my butt off trying to get Luc past the next corner in the ring.
The third corner was uneventful and I have to admit I was grateful for the brief rest. Too bad it was so shorted lived. Heading down to the fourth corner of the ring Luc noticed the gate at the entrance of the driveway. I’m sure it wouldn’t have been that bad, but then it moved. And it was PETRIFYING! We couldn’t possibly go near it. Didn’t you notice that it had moved? It was alive!
After eventually winning that battle I started all over again as we were now headed to the corner with the wooden fence post piles. And so the cycle continued. It didn’t matter how many times we passed each of the three scary corners, or which direction we were headed. Luc spooked at them over and over and over again for the entire ride!
His spooking at the canter was the worst. In addition to his ears going up my nose, he would hollow his back, fixate on the scary object and completely forget what he was doing with his feet. This resulted in a lot of tripping, which led to cross cantering, which led to having to bring him back down to a trot or walk and starting all over again.
We were both breathing heavy by the time we finally made it all the way around the ring at a canter without breaking to walk or trot, cantering at a pace that felt like we were going backwards, or scooting past the scary corners like they were out to get us. Riding one giant spook for an entire 30 minute ride is exhausting!
But I have to admit while it wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had riding Luc, it was another good confidence booster for me. I had no problem getting after him for his antics and continuing to push him past the things he was pretending, because let’s face it that’s what he was doing, to be scared of. It felt great to know I was able to ride him through it.
That doesn’t mean I’m not hoping next week isn’t a little easier!