That’s the question I’d like answered this week. What happened to my nice steady eddy Luc who happily packed me safely around with very few cares in the world? Fall – that’s what happened. The fall friskies have taken hold and instead of a steady eddy ride, I got one on a rocket ship headed to the moon.
From the moment we pulled Luc out of the field he was unfocused, spooky and just all over the place. By the time he was tacked up and I was headed outside to mount up, I was seriously doubting if we would both make it through the ride alive. I became even more concerned when he spooked at a leaf falling from a tree while I was trying to get on. Thankfully, I’m a lot faster getting into the saddle than I used to be, otherwise the ride might have been over before it began.
Walking down the driveway to the grass ring was far more intense than it should have been. Every blade of grass seemed out to get us. Luc was tense and ready to jump sideways at any second. He even spooked at the horses in the paddocks as we walked by – and he used to share a field with one of them.
As soon as we stepped into the grass ring I immediately tried to get Luc’s focus on me and not his surroundings. To be honest, I wasn’t really that successful. There were dogs barking, horses galloping and wing blowing and it was just too much for poor Luc to handle. It was one spook after another.
He was even spooking at things he’d had no issue with all summer, like the jumps in the field and trot poles on the ground. The worst of his spooks came while we were riding down one of the long sides where there was tall grass, a few shrubs, and some purple flowers. I’m pretty sure Luc was convinced those purple flowers had the ability to eat horses. He was constantly staring at them and jumping sideways – but then he’d realize the very scary jump (that wasn’t scary at all in the summer) was on the other side so he’d leap back toward the flowers and the pattern would repeat itself.
It would have almost been funny if it hadn’t been such a difficult ride. I spent most of the ride channeling my inner German – riding with a deep seat, heels way down, shoulders back and full contact. And even with a firmer grip on the reins, Luc still tried to bolt a number of times and refused to listen when I asked him to come back to a trot or walk.
On the plus side, he’s certainly feeling better. His feet have vastly improved and he’s no longer foot sore, which meant I was able to work him at the walk, trot and canter. After about 30 minutes Luc was still wound tighter than a drum, but at least he was no longer trying to bolt every time he had to go down the side with the tall grass. I called that a win and headed back to the barn.
Untacked and turning Luc out was thankfully uneventful. I can’t say I’m overly surprised by the horse I had today. While it wasn’t the relaxing ride I was hoping for, it was predictable. The weather has cooled down, Luc’s just coming off some time off (walking in the field doesn’t really count as work) and it was windy. All things that tend to wind Luc up. It happens every year.
Even though it was a challenge getting him focused and listening, I ended the ride smiling. Not because Luc was good – far from it in fact – but because I was able to handle it. I wasn’t nervous, unsure of myself, or doubting my ability to handle things. Instead I rode through it, dealt with the horse I had, and ended on a positive note.
Sometimes you just can’t ask for more than that.