Friday, 15 March 2013

Time and Patience

T and I rode out together recently – the first time I have ridden this year.  Dee seemed quite keen to go out and we soon settled into a comfortable ride.  One of the nice things about riding out with T is that she is an experienced rider and happy to ride Red, so I am able to ride Dee.  Usually I am with less experienced riders and have to ride Red.  I love him, but I do miss riding Dee.

All seemed well, when suddenly Dee panicked.  I have no idea what scared her but she suddenly lost her confidence, whipped round and headed for home.  I think I got a bit tense and forgot to release and then ask her to slow down, hanging on to the reins a bit too much instead.  This did not help to calm her.  After a couple of minutes I remembered and released and asked, released and asked – and then she calmed down and slowed down.  T eventually realised that we were no longer plodding along behind her and Red, and came back down the trail to find us.  We tried to go on again but Dee was not having it.  There was something frightening down that trail and she wasn’t going to check it out.  The slightest urging produced little rears and backing up – her usual napping reaction when I try to take her out on her own. I was very glad it was me on her back and not a less experienced friend.

There was nothing we could do but head back to the yard.  When we arrived back at the beginning of the Wenallt trail, we took them both a few metres up the pedestrian trail that we are not supposed to ride – just so that we could end on Dee moving forward as asked rather than going straight home.

She is quite edgy at the moment and she has lost some tone in her hind quarters because she is less active in the winter.  Hopefully in a few weeks when the weather gets warmer and there is spring grass she will feel more confident – though spring grass can seem to create a spooky horse.  We’ll try taking her out again soon and hopefully get along better.  I am not ready to retire Dee yet as I am sure she will still be up for a few more years of trail riding if I can build up her confidence again.

The photograph is one of my favourites of Dee, taken in 2008.


Christine said...

I wonder what spooked her! Indeed, lucky it wasn't a beginner on her :)

Nor’dzin said...

Thanks for you comment. There did seem to be an unusual amount of brightly-coloured debris in the undergrowth - probably because of the high winds we have had. I think Red went out of sight for a moment round a bend in the trail and it was all suddenly too much for her to cope with.