Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Fog Must Be Crazy

Today the weather was warm (34) and foggy. Brian and I headed for the barn around 10:30 to meet Gay and take the horses out on the trail.

I had a feeling things with Steen weren't going to be great, but hoped the presence of his buddies, Cal and Doc, would get him through with minimal agitation. Things did not start well. Steen was an absolute basket-case while I was tacking him up, and I had to go through my old process of tying him for a while, then untying him, doing some circling and yielding exercises, then tying him again. After a lot of pretty deplorable behavior on Steen's part, we got the three of them outside. Steen calmed down almost as soon as we stepped out the doors. I don't know what has got him so upset about being in the barn right now, but I need to get to the bottom of it soon.

Outside things at first seemed to settle down. Steen stood while I made some adjustments to his saddle. We all mounted and headed off down the strip. We made our way along and I tried to relax. Steen relaxed too.

We got to the big downhill and the next thing I knew, Steen was on his knees in the deep snow drifted up against the hillside. I thought he'd lost his footing, and jumped off to help him get back on his feet, but then he went down onto his belly and flopped onto his side. He was trying to roll! Since I was lying on the ground next to him, I kicked him in the butt with the heel of my boot so he wouldn't break the tree of my saddle. He stood up very calmly and waited for me to get back on.

I got back on my feet only to realize Cal had done the same thing to Brian. Luckily he too managed to get clear before she flopped onto her side. Cal then made a half-hearted escape-attempt, but Brian caught her with a deft rein-catch and he and I climbed back aboard.

After that we figured the worst was over, but we had continued into the corn-field only a few hundred feet when Doc popped up on his hind-legs and spun. It wasn't a rear. It wasn't a strike. It was a sort of a fast pivot on the hind-end with front legs raised. Now, Doc is usually the steady one, so this behavior was entirely unexpected.

Gay got him back under control, and we pressed on. I, personally, was taking a lot of deep breaths and trying to keep from getting tense. And from that point forward, Steen was actually pretty good. Other than a few little instances of breaking into a trot unasked, and a few other times stopping when he was supposed to be walking, he performed remarkably well considering he hadn't been out in a long time.

The rest of the ride was less bizarre, but pretty tiring for Brian. Cal kept falling behind and then breaking into a fast trot or lope to catch up. Doc did the hop-spin a few more times. We did our normal ride, though, and made it back to the barn intact.

I kept Steen inside, alternately tying him and walking him, until he was completely relaxed. While I was doing this, we did figure out Cal was most definitely in heat. When we put everyone back into the pasture, she and Doc immediately launched into big-time courtship behavior. So, the crazies partly came from that, I'm sure. The rest of it, I'm just going to blame on the fog.

2 comments:

  1. Ah, what I call "spring horses". Seems like after the first of the year, my horses have a brain freeze. Always a few "fun" rides. Glad you got to ride... I had hoped to, but it didn't happen. :(

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  2. Glad to know it's not just a local problem. :)

    Good luck getting out soon!

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