Sunday, January 25, 2009

Acting out

Although this was going to be a busy weekend, I had planned to try to squeeze in a horseback ride. Too bad I hadn't checked the weather when I made those plans! Our run of warm weather has officially ended: Today was about 20 degrees with some snow flurries here and there.

(It had snowed Friday night, too, but yesterday was so warm that I didn't expect it would get cold again so soon!)

So unfortunately, instead of going out to the barn to spend time with Panama and ride, Michael and I went out to the barn to put on his blanket. He was very jumpy, as he always is when the weather changes abruptly — perhaps even more so than usual, due to my long absence. It had also been a while since he wore his blanket, which didn't help his mood any.

Panama's behavior leads me to believe he was a little cross at me for not spending enough time with him. First he ran away from me when I brought out the halter, but he ran into the back pasture, where the horses don't really hang out but where I always spend time with Panama. Once back there he stood still and put his nose into the halter, just like he always does.

After I put the blanket on him (without incident, thankfully) and secured all the straps, I untied Panama and tried to lead him away from the hitching post. He turned to face me, took several steps closer to the hitching post, planted his feet, and stared at me stubbornly. I think the darn horse was protesting that I hadn't even brushed him!

I tried to get him moving, but twice he planted his feet and refused. Then he freaked out for no apparent reason — though now I think what happened was the hitching post brushed up against his blanket, startling him. He took off and ran in little circles around me, straining to "run away" as fast as he could despite the fact that he was on an 8-foot line. He wasn't pulling very hard, though, so I just hung on and yelled "Ho!" at him over and over. After a few moments he stopped and stood there, tense and quivering, while I walked around him and spoke soothingly.

When we started moving again, his walk was visibly tense and exaggerated, but he did walk at least. I released him in the front pasture, and kept an eye on him as he followed me back to the barn, in case he tried nipping at me from behind. (He does that when he's annoyed that I'm leaving already, but he won't do it if I'm looking.)

Tomorrow isn't supposed to be any warmer — if anything, a few degrees colder — but I'm thinking I may have to suck it up and spend some time out at the barn anyway, for Panama's sake.

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