Rusty Stirrup

The Feeling of Fall

Fall is most definitely in the air. It was another crisp sunny mo

By: Rusty Stirrup |

Luc and I enjoy a fall trail ride.

Luc and I enjoy a fall trail ride.

Fall is most definitely in the air. It was another crisp sunny morning when I headed out to the barn. Luc and I are both on the mend – and thankfully, we’ve both been cleared for light work, so it seemed like the ideal day to head out on the trails. Despite the fact Luc wouldn’t have a buddy, I wasn’t overly concerned. My sister Jen, Luc’s owner, had ridden him the day before out in the field bareback and in a halter and hadn’t had any problems.

I mean, after all, we were only going to be walking. How much trouble could we really get into? You know how in movies that kind of talk always happens right before a big unexpected event that throws everything into chaos. Well, it turns out that’s true in real life too.

Things started out well, we were enjoying each other’s company, walking at a nice sedate pace through the fields. I was thinking to myself how great it felt to be back riding. Even though it’s only been a few weeks, getting back into the saddle really felt like coming home. Then the monsters came and that thought flew right out of my head as I desperately tried to stay atop the horse who was now galloping away with me.

Now for anyone who knows Luc may be questioning that last statement. Luc, gallop? I don’t think so. This is the horse that never goes anywhere in a hurry, even when he’s spooking. Well not today. Today, there were apparently invisible monsters in the trees ahead that were hell bent on eating us. Luc, being the noble beast that he is, spun and galloped away from it like a maniac – I’m sure valiantly trying to save us both.

Or more likely, trying to save his own hide as he didn’t really seemed too concerned with the fact that I lost both stirrups (darn that slippery dewy grass that made my boots all wet before getting on) and was clinging on for dear life. There was one brief moment when I thought the ground and I were going to get reacquainted – again. But thankfully I was able to haul myself back into the tack and deal with the next problem. A horse that seemed in no way inclined to slow down, let alone stop.

I give Luc a pat to help him relax.

I give Luc a pat to help him relax.

I’ve never experienced that before with Luc, and I’m 100% convinced that had I really hit the dirt, he would have been galloping all the way back to the barn in the blink of an eye. As it was, I had a hard enough time getting him to stop. It took all my strength and balance (still didn’t have my stirrups back) to haul him up. And haul is the right word. I’m not one for pulling on a horse’s mouth, but Luc gave me no other choice. I pulled on the reins, and turned him around, and once he realized I wasn’t going to allow him to gallop on home, he finally relented and stopped. Although he did spend the next several minutes dancing a jig on the spot, making it extra difficult to get my stirrups back.

Not willing to let that be the end of our ride, I walked Luc back toward the area where he spooked. I’ve never felt Luc so tense. I was sure that any second he was going to explode out from under me again. Thankfully my soothing tone and comforting pats seemed to help keep his mind off the monsters until we were clear of the area.

I don’t think this was one of those times where he pretends to be scared to get out of doing work. He seemed legitimately concerned over whatever he saw in those trees – whether there was actually something there or not.

We finished our walking trail ride without any further incidents. Even though it was a little more on the exciting side than I had hoped, I still had a good time. Although, I’m sure it would have been less good had I actually fallen off.

Here’s hoping the next trail ride goes a little better. I’d hate to start developing a habit of bailing in the field – once this year was enough!