It’s always a good day when you don’t die.
I took ZZ out for a neighborhood walk with her saddle on. Everything was going fine until the trip home. We passed out of the paved dead end road onto the grass easement on the side of the busier road. This two lane has cars going by from 40 to 60 mph and she has always been good at ignoring their passing. Of course, I’m sure as you can guess…. until today.
I was relaxed and complacent. Then, she bolted forward, going head down, butt up for a kick – luckily because I was now in a Really Bad Position being right in the line of her attack, she tucked her hindlegs and did not strike out. I threw down the whip to take a two handed grip on the leadrope – my glasses had already flown off my face.
If she got loose she would cross traffic and be killed.
I was not going to let go.
One thought as hind legs flew by was: kick me in the face but I am not letting go.
If I let go – she would have headed right into traffic – and dead horse was going to happen in two seconds.
I felt a slackening but didn’t let go on the grip. I tried bringing her head back to me, as that would push her hindquarters away – but she was too strong and bucked again. For some reason, a horse will calm and then go back into a bucking frenzy again if they are truly panicked.
I don’t know what set her off. I am wondering if it wasn’t a dumptruck/garbage truck or just the loudness of the car coupled with the fact the wind had picked up? I also wondered (later of course) if having the saddle, coupled with panic, didn’t make her think she was being attacked by a lion!
She calmed, trembling and shaking. I wasn’t much better but kept my voice soothing and fed her a bit of grain. Another set of cars passed and she shook, and tried to bolt again. This time I was better able to synchronize with her, in parallel we moved but more slowly and settling quicker.
We walked back and forth, up and down the easement as more cars passed. She did not trust them but calmed enough to graze. We hung out for awhile and once she was truly “over it” (this time) we walked back to the gate that would take us down our quieter lane.
Some things to learn from this:
1.) Horses are always primal animals with hair trigger instincts.
2.) Horses are always dangerous no matter how peaceful or calm they may appear.
3.) Groundwork – Groundwork – Groundwork — If I had been riding there would have been a good chance that a.) I would have been thrown, ZZ would have been free and killed by traffic; or b.) we both would have headed into traffic to be killed or severely injured.