It Was The Best Of Times…

… and then there are times when you almost run over your husband.

I went out to ride last night, and I could tell right from the moment Mike clipped Willow onto the crossties that we were going to struggle. Normally when we bring her in to tack her up in the evening, she all but falls asleep on the crossties. She’ll stand there and drool until I put her bridle on, then do her normal head up in the air because she really hates it when the bit touches her teeth then shove her head straight down to the floor in an effort to be ‘helpful’. Not tonight. Tonight she had ants in her pants. She would dance sideways, scoot forward, wiggle backwards, and swish her tail around and around in a circle. I’m glad that I’m skilled at saddling a moving target, because it was the re-emergence of the Willow of months before.

She’s just excited to get to work, I told myself as I zipped up my boots. I will channel this energy into a positive work, I promised as she almost took a chunk out of Mike’s uniform while I was tightening her girth. She’s going to be so forward, it’ll be great, I said as I buckled my helmet (and tightened the chin strap a little extra).

I’m so screwed, was my final thought as I had my leg swung half way over her back and she lept forward, promptly tripped on a clup of grass, fell on her face, then attempted to hot foot it back to the barn. I got her stopped, dismounted, and tried that again. She stood, then when I asked her to move off, she promptly tripped on the same clump of grass and fell on her face. *sigh* We regained ourselves and off she went to the barn. I got her turned around and she promptly halted. I asked her to go forward. *tail swish* I insisted. *ears pinnned* I demand. Her head snakes around and she takes another chunk of leather out of my boots.

Yup. Screwed.

We finally got moving into the arena (after a brief steering blooper and a detour through the manure pile) and onto our circle. Her ears were going about a million different directions. I remember telling Becky, I don’t have her head at all. I pushed her forward and attempted to flex her jaw a bit left, asking her bend around my leg. No way, man, was her response. I gotta keep an eye on that guy in the camo. He could be a monster!! (never mind the fact that he brought her in and helped tack her up.)

We did a few drunken circles, and I decided to do a break check before we started trotting. Our breaks have improved ten fold. She stops. She doesn’t argue. I asked her for a halt. Nothing. We just kept walking. I insisted on a halt. Nothing. Not even slowing down. I demanded and she finally (after much head tossing and tail swishing) stopped. Then stood, totally relaxed. *eyeroll*

Trot work time! I asked and she stepped right into it, no problems. We did a circle (she was still keeping a close eye on that camoflauged maybe-monster) and Becky asked us to change direction. By trotting the length of the arena. We got down the first long side and Willow stops dead. There is a barrel down there. It’s lived there all year and she grazes right next to it. It. Could. Kill. Her. She snort snort snorts, I boot her forward and we pick our trot back up. She bolts does a lovely lengthening down the opposite side then stops dead to snort at Mike some more. We tiptoe past him and ask her to trot again. She picks it up no problem and we do a few circles asking her to flex in the jaw. Not happening.

We go across the diagonal and change direction. She trots through the scary end of the ring no problem. Totally chill. ($(%*#(@()$?!?!?!) Then Willow spies her little friend, Rio, hanging out watching. (The ring is surrounded on three sides by pasture.) We detour off into the grass, almost get electrocuted on the fence, then stop dead.

I joke that our quarter has run out. I cluck and ask her to walk forward. Nothin’. I squeeze. Nope. I kick. Nada. I pony club kick and beg a little bit. Ha. I dissolve into giggles, while telling Becky, It’s like I’m riding a 17 hand pony, I feel like I’m back in pony club! She is laughing pretty hard as well. We regain our composure and she walks over to provide some encouragement from the rear.

Willow LEAPS forward. I’m still giggling while asking her to whoa, and easy. Pfft. Our breaks broke. Becky is encouraging me to go with it, so I try to sit quietly and steer her in a circle as she power trots away. I don’t have power steering, but at least we aren’t heading into the wild blue yonder. We fly around in a circle and all I can see in front of us is camoflauge.

Yea. We came aboutthisclose to running my poor husband over like the time I accidently flattened that chipmunk family with the truck. Didn’t even feel the bump. And Mike, like the chipmunks, didn’t even see it coming. He was bent over the arm of his chair, putting his soda back on the ground. We sail past him with about a half inch to spare, and I finally get the train hauled to a stop after another circle (in reality I did nothing. Mike moved again and she stopped dead to snort at him). I’m laughing to the point of tears. Becky is still giggling. Mike is totally oblivious to the fact that he almost died.

We walked another circle, did some stopping and we decided that maybe it was time to call it a day. She was standing, totally relaxed and drooling while Becky and I chatted. I scritched her star, like I always do at the end of a ride, and dismounted.

You accomplish something every ride and we did do a little drunken baby figure 8. We also didn’t kill my husband, which I think is a success. She also proved to me that, even if she loses her mind, she’ll relax back (even if it’s just working on softening her jaw at the walk) to work.

It’s all about rolling with the punches, knowing when to quit, and having a good sense of humor.


Having kick ass, matching game faces helps too…




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