The Things That Make Your Horse Go Hmm……

Horses are unbelievably amazing animals. But they are instinctive and sometimes prone to spooking. Sometimes at the silliest things. What makes your horse go hmmm?

 

Last night as I was laying down to sleep I remembered something from the day’s ride and started laughing. Delight and I were riding in the indoor as the weather was iffy and thunderstorms looming. I’m not afraid of rain, and Delight isn’t fazed by thunderstorms, or much at all. As we trotted by the pigeons outside the window flew up and Delight pinned his ears and warned them away.

We were dying!

Some horses would get spooked in this scenario. But not Delight. He has very selective situations where he gets startled.

Context

 

I ride in a Kentucky-style indoor that is a historic landmark. For those of you who are unfamiliar, in a Kentucky-style barn there are 16 stalls in the interior with an outside exercise track that can fit 2 horses side by side. There are open windows and multiple gates for easy access.

For our horses at Lancaster Equestrian Stables, the indoor is their “safe place”. Chipmunks, swallowtails, pigeons, even a raccoon have found their way in and out without creating much of a fuss.

We were chatting as I trotted on, working on extension, that Delight is steadfast and true. For those of you just joining my blog- I have a confession. I’m in love with a horse that is not mine. He’s my trainer’s horse and I live in permanent fear that she’ll sell him to someone else before I can convince my husband to let me buy him. We joke at the barn that I’m his step mom. Thank goodness my trainer is cool with it.

I’ve been riding Delight for almost two years and while I was nervous to ride him at first- 5 year old off-track thoroughbred– I quickly learned the stereotype was false. He has taught me so much about my riding and about confidence that I may not have learned with another horse.

Delight

 

I’ve ridden spooky horses and learned to laugh at their antics rather than fear it. Delight is the opposite of spooky. He is confident, and only prone to spooking in the oddest circumstances. This created the giggles last night.

Not So Scary

Here is the funny thing, we’ve had mares in season that haven’t turned Delight’s head. A few months ago one of the ponies in the neighboring paddock jumped the fence into the ring where we were riding and proceeded to gallop around us bucking and playing. Delight just stood there possibly thinking “What is his deal?” Kids running and screaming?

Delight sleeps.

Delight is the horse we place next to a spooking horse. He’s HUGE. 16.2 HH but long…..another horse spooked, backed up into me and Delight and we stopped him dead. He had nowhere to go.

What Makes Delight Go Hmmmm?

I can count on one hand the amount of times Delight has spooked with me or his owner. They are all hilarious and all occurred outside.

1. Riding in the ring together Delight and I were cantering along. Apparently there was a cat in the bushes outside of the ring who got scared by the pounding of the hooves and took off away from us as we past. Delight, having no idea HE was the scary one, decided the cat was scary and galloped off in the opposite direction for about four strides. He’s pretty easy to bring back. Were we laughing hysterically? You betcha. Delight has no clue how large he is.

2. Our barn is quite large with multiple rings. After a lesson I hacked Delight down to the bottom barn where his stall used to be located. Something we did all the time. As we passed a small bush a bird flew past his nose- he completely freaked and jumped sideways.

3. Butterflies. Period. End of story. Delight does not like butterflies.

scaredy cat

4. The Imaginary Ghost. This is my favorite Delight story of all time. Robin, his owner, was riding him on the trail and I was riding just behind. We were on our way back to the barn when out of NOWHERE Delight jumps up in the air. Straight up, all four hooves off the ground, back arched. Have you ever seen a cat get scared? Exactly like that.  But that’s not the best part. There was nothing there. We think perhaps he stepped on a rock or something. But the best part was that after he landed he continued walking sedately like NOTHING EVER HAPPENED!!!! I mean, what? He was completely calm, half asleep, and we are peeing our breeches laughing. Writing about it I swear I’m crying it was so funny.

Our horses are all individuals. We all get it that they are instinctive animals and prone to reacting in different situations, real or percieved. We just have to laugh about the small things and work on desensitizing them to the big things.

What makes your horse go hmmmm?

 


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