It strikes me that I am either incredibly lucky in my horses, or I am just too dumb to know that there are things I shouldn't be doing. Maybe I blindly expect too much - what do you think?
- There's a dark, scary bridge for a four-lane highway that we have to go under to reach some of the trails we like to ride on. Sure, the first time they went under the bridge, Red was leading and his eyes were on stalks, but every time after? No problem, even when it's almost dark out and you can hear the cars go by overhead. I think it's normal for them to be totally nonchalant about it, but is it?
- We walk on the road a lot at night these days, because it's too muddy to go anywhere else. There are people with dogs, people with bikes, holiday decorations, and deer by the bucketload. My horses don't spook at any of this stuff, although they gave the mechanized reindeer decorations a few doors down the old hairy eyeball. Is that weird?
- Sometimes when I walk them at night, I ride Red bareback and pony Saga (and in case you think I'm totally crazy, I wear a helmet, hi-viz vest, and flashing lantern, and have my phone on me). Then we go past the aforementioned skeery stuff. I'm not worried that anything is going to happen, except that the neighbors might laugh at my belly-flop-onto-Red's-back mounting technique. Should I worry more about the multiple ways I could die?
- We just got 170 MORE bales of hay (pictures to come) and now there is a one-horse-wide walkway in what used to be my barn aisle. I lead the boys through there like it's no big deal... but should it be? Except for the rampant snacking, of course.
I get that some horses don't want to or cannot do some things - for example, Cash cannot go foxhunting. I took him once years ago, knowing it was a bad idea, and boy was I ever right. We spent the entire 3 hours fighting with each other about speed, and it sucked BAD. Of course, he also has always gotten worked up on trail rides, and a foxhunt is just like a large, fast, trail ride, so it makes sense that he would have issues. I also get that every horse has the OMGWTFBBQ! moment about "that corner" of the arena (or the mailbox, or the trash can, or the hose, or the...). My boys do too - in fact, there's a spot on the trail where all of them are consistently weird, and Taran SWEARS that man-hole covers are actually horse-eating black holes. However, I don't go about our rides trying to guess what they might find odd - maybe because I don't expect a spook, I don't get one? While it's important to be aware of your surroundings (in case that crazy barking dog jumps the fence and comes after you), I try to be pretty relaxed about things, and the boys seem pretty relaxed too.
I must have gotten really, really lucky with my boys, because I just don't even think twice (once maybe, but not twice) about doing half the things I do with them on a day-to-day basis. I'm sure my day will come, but until then... am I just being stupid, or do I expect too much?