Saturday, February 16, 2008

Tigers in the bushes

I rode Lena Friday and while she's better trained than Bar in some ways, she was not on her best behavior. It was definitely a tiger-in-the-bushes type of night from start to finish.

Granted, it was dinner time and I pulled her away from a nice pile of alfalfa without even giving her a little grain first. (I knew Steve had been out earlier to ride Bar and both had gotten grain then.)

It was also prime predator time - dusk - and there was a nice cool breeze blowing in from the south/southwest, carrying the smell of water and who knows what else from the water treatment plant next door.

But - if I was figuring out horse brain correctly - the real problem was fluttery trail markers dancing in that breeze.

Every time we went over to that side of the arena, she acted like a tiger was going to come leaping out of the the bushes and she would either scoot forward or scamper sideways away from her perceived area of danger. Normally, it's a relatively small area, but Friday it was the entire far side of the arena. This meant we had to go around and around, down that side of the arena, over and over, until she got over it.

Well, mostly over it. Tigers are always lurking in the shadows of a horse brain, and that's hard-wiring you are not going to undo in any horse, let alone one as alert and ornery as Lena. Best to figure out how to get around it and get your workout done in spite of the tigers.

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