Yesterday, I was riding Archie and he spooked.  Spooks are normal.  Spooks are fine.  Spooks keep me attentive.

Except when I'm on the right lead canter.

And then I shut down.

I didn't have his whole brain and I knew that.  One of the herd of mothers came by with two little toddlers.  I wasn't sure if she understood when I said previously that I would not stop working him to say hello.  So, anyways, I'm trying to do trot work and I see them out of the corner of my eye.  When Arch sees them, he slams on the brakes and his head shoots straight up.  It was all I could do to get him moving and to keep him moving.  Even after they receded back across the street to their mansion on the river, I had a hard time getting him to focus.

A catering van drives goes down their driveway and he scoots at the trot.

I had warning; I should have been better prepared.

I asked him to canter and we were on the "little lap", which doesn't go the full parameter of the pasture and doesn't go down the little incline or back up.  It's my cheater's route.

The catering van shot back down that gravel driveway, this time behind us.  He spooks, bolts forward, yanking me out of my two-point and further onto his neck, then he slams on the brakes and starts bucking.  I'm so off balance at this point, on his neck, with my feet starting to slide through the stirrups, that I think it's pure luck that I stayed on.  Maybe not.  Maybe I am actually sorta good at this.

By some magical force, I got my butt back in the saddle, got my heels down, and pushed him forward.  We were on the second lap of my intended three, so I pushed him on to that third lap.  And then did another.

Today, no part of me wants to canter.  But I know I need to because I will let this become an issue otherwise.   So, after as much trot work as I think I can ask him to do, I ask him to canter on the "big lap."  He almost immediately spooks, but it's a shuffle to the left and I ask him to go back on track to the right and he complies.  Then it's over and we finish the two laps.

By the time I got to the canter, tracking right, I'm a nervous wreck.  He's spooked again at the trot.  And I'm looking for excuses to not canter again:  we did it a lot yesterday, he was good trotting, he cantered well the other direction, we should end on a good note.  I'm already starting to think of what would happen if I fell off.  Would D's boss be my surgeon if I fell on my ass again?  Would I want him to see my butt?  How much time would I need off work for a surgery like that?  What if I broke my arm?  Could my husband drive my manual vehicle back and forth to work or would we need to get a rental?  Before I really realize what's going on, I'm preparing my horse for the canter, shortening the reins and checking my seat.  And, with thoughts of falling, I ask.

And it was perfect.  He broke a few times, but picked it back up with gentle cues.  I didn't stay in two-point, more like I hovered.

After all of that, I wanted to take him on a little trail ride.  BO had parked some stinkin' expensive car with one of those tarp covering things outside of the pasture.  I took pictures.  Arch was horrified.  I had to dismount to go through the gate because Skinny Guy was following really closely.  I'm glad I did because Arch did some weird child pose with his butt in the air and the mass of his body as far away as possible.

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  1. Oh man I got worried halfway through your post that you'd fall. I'm glad you didn't and that he was perfect!

    1. Dude! He was such a shit before and after. I'm really, really surprised that I didn't die and I'm also a mixture of happy that no one saw me almost die and disappointed that no one saw me recover. The second day? Totally almost worked myself into a crying anxiety attack just to pick up the right lead. No bueno.