Thursday, June 19, 2008

Things my horse is afraid of

Yesterday afternoon Panama and I went on a trail ride with the barn's owner and her horse. We rode for a little longer this time — about an hour and a half, as opposed to our usual hour ride. Basically, we took the usual loop, then crossed the street (the open space is on both sides of the street) and did a small loop there, too.

It was Panama's first time riding the trails on the other side of the street, and the wind was blowing, so with the combination of the two he was a little jumpy for the last 30 minutes of the ride. I think he jumped half a dozen times at least. The good news is that I've become quite good at keeping my seat, and despite the fact that my heart lurched up into my throat every time, I didn't fall off once!

Here is the new list of things that my horse is afraid of — the little ninny:

1. Manhole covers. Yep, still afraid of manhole covers — particularly the green one.

2. The wind. I don't know what it is about wind that gets horses so jumpy, but Panama got really jumpy at one point when the wind picked up. Two or three of his half-dozen jumps were during this stretch.

3. Prairie dogs. I'm not positive about this, but we were walking past a prairie dog village when the wind was blowing. I'm not entirely certain which he was spooking about, but I do know that he's afraid of rabbits, so being scared of prairie dogs too isn't really a stretch of the imagination.

4. Cracks in asphalt. We tried to cross a little asphalt parking area during our ride. Panama stepped down off the curb without too much of a problem, but then came to a long surface crack running through the asphalt. He balked, then tried to find a way around it. Unfortunately the crack ran the width of the parking lot, so he danced back and forth, uncertain of what to do but unwilling to cross the crack. It was rather comical in retrospect, because I could totally follow his train of thought by watching where he was looking as he tried to find a way around this quarter-inch-wide crack.

In the end, Karen had to walk Lily back over to us, and we had to go back up the curb and walk around the parking lot in the grass.

5. Little white butterflies. He hates those things! He's always tossing his head at them if they are nearby or — heaven forbid — fly across his nose.

6. Graffiti. This is probably the funniest one, though it was scary at the time. To get back from the second loop, we took the bike path under the road. Unfortunately, the tunnel under the road is also a blind curve, with the creek on the left side and a heavily graffitied concrete wall on the right. You're supposed to stay to the right, but Panama was clearly terrified of the graffiti. He refused to walk next to it no matter what I did, so we went through the tunnel on the left side of the path, with me hoping and praying the entire time that no one would come roaring around the corner on a bicycle.

Quite a list of perfectly harmless things, isn't it? The good news is that there were several areas where Panama actually surprised me (pleasantly). I'll write about that in my next post.



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