Don’t MAKE or TEACH assumptions should have been my motto last Saturday. It will be on the forefront of my mind from now on!
After the Horsin’Around meeting, Linda met me at the barn with Jesse and Tink. We decided to finally go on a trail ride since the bugs are mostly gone and it was a beautiful day. I had the bright idea of riding to my Grandma’s house, she is only 2.5 miles down the road. So we played for a while and saddled up and headed down the road. I wasn’t sure what was going on exactly, but there were these HUGE trucks going down County D about every 3 minutes. I could see some of them were filled with manure and some with grain I think. Now, they were big trucks.. taller than your average semi and they were pulling into a very large farm about a half a mile down.
Now, here is where I made the assumption – I have been avoiding riding Charm outside mostly for 2 reasons. A) I’m lazy and B) I usually ride by myself so I don’t want to risk being out on the trail alone and something happening. I had just ridden Charm in the Shanty Days parade so I ASSUMED that she should would go just fine for me on the way to my Grandmas house. UM.. Wrong!
Charm stated to get really tight and spooky about the trucks. So I relaxed and gave her all the rein I could. As the truck drove by, it was slowing down to turn into the driveway and that was when my usually cool, calm and collected Charmer exploded into a series of bucks! OMG!!! Well, I should have fallen off but out of my own stubbornness, I was hanging on the side of her and managed to first stop her and had control of her head, then I managed to pull myself back up in the saddle. I remember screaming in my head “I am NOT falling off!!” Some how I was still relaxed and noticed that another truck was coming toward us.. I relaxed, gave her all the rein and she started bucking again. This time I was half expecting it, so it was a lot easier to ride and I quickly did lateral flexion and had control. After the second time, my heart started racing and I hopped off. What the HECK!?! That was the first time she had EVER bucked. Well, after thinking about it now, I think my first mistake was letting her watch the truck come up toward us, she got really RB and froze.. I could tell that Charm had left the building and a terrified prey animal had emerged. I should have kept her busy, so she had to think and focus on what I wanted. Lesson learned.
Linda’s horse Tink was also acting up so she hopped off too and we ended up leading them down the road about another mile. When we finally turned around, Charm was still jumpy, but had calmed down a lot. She wanted to walk fast.. and the worst thing you can do to a RB horse is hold them back.. so I walked quickly beside her in zone 3. This time, going by the scary barn was not as bad.. most of the trucks didn’t bother her and only one time she jumped around a little. I think driving her from zone 3 really helped in this situation. I am glad I have enough savvy to know when to be, where to be and why to be. Once we approached her home field, my Charmer was back, I could see her face soften and her eyes sparkled again.
I was feeling rather unconfidant and stupid after this whole ordeal. I felt bad that I put Charm in a situation that caused her to go right brained. I had many questions running through my head… Did I do the right thing? Could I have done something better for Charm? Is she going to buck every time she gets scared now? Am I going to have enough confidence in her to ride out again? Is Charm still going to view me as her leader? This side of Charmer was very new to me and I was concerned since I have recently been dealing with my fear issues.. I don’t want a situation like this to come along and squash all of my recent progress. On my way home I needed to talk this through with someone and I decided to call Fran. I knew she was at the Kansas City Tour stop and wanted to also see how that was going. Fran has a horse named Crest and I know that she has had her share of situations close to this one. Well, Fran gave me plenty of encouragement and agreed that I had done the right thing for Charmer. She also suggested that I talked to Farrah Green (Farrah was on the Savvy Team and Fran was staying with Farrah at the tour stop). I talked with Farrah for a few minutes and she made some good points that helped me understand the situation even better. I really appreciated Farrah, that she took the time to talk to me.
So, wow! Such a deal. I am a little nervous because we are riding in the Alaskan Trail ride this Saturday. Last year, it was so awesome. We probably had one of our best rides.. so I hope this year is a repeat and that Charm is having an EXTRA confident day!