Thursday, April 10, 2008

What was THAT?!

When my horse spooked and bolted, I have to admit that I laughed. I really didn't take Kaswyn seriously and figured he was just being a boob. He was really agitated but I was able to get him slowed down and under control. Albert was freaking out too.

Susan and I had a quick discussion and we decided that there might indeed be a bear nearby and we should probably get the hell out of the woods. Kaswyn took the lead and I think that paniced poor Albert because instead of hopping over this one log he launched himself so high and hard that Susan damn near fell off. I was still laughing, but Susan was not. She kept saying "What is wrong with him? He never gets like this. He must have seen something."

I told her that I thought it was because Kaswyn was all freaked out and that Albert was feeding off of that. I tried to slow Kaswyn down so Albert wouldn't feel like he was getting left behind, but Kaswyn just wanted the hell out of there. He started doing a very nice piaffe, and when that didn't work he decided to canter in place. Not really what I was after, but it allowed Albert to catch up.

Eventually we made it out to the street. I thought this would calm the beasties down, but it did no such thing. In fact, Albert was more wound up than ever. He kept going sideways and bouncing off of Kaswyn's butt and flying into the road. At one point a car came up behind us and of course it's someone we knew. We chatted for about a minute but then it was clear that we really needed to keep moving or our horses might bust out of their skins, so we said goodbye.

By this point Albert was beyond reason. He started swinging his butt one way then the other and ended up getting one of his rear legs stuck in the deep mud in the ditch. I watched in horror as he tried to pull himself free, but failed twice. On the third try he got out, only to leap onto the road. Even though he was barefoot the pavement was slippery and his feet were sliding. Then he decided that he was just going to run backwards.

Susan jumped off of him before he could fall down. She was SO pissed at him, and I kept telling her that he was scared and not to get mad at him. She smacked him on the neck and walked him down the road for a minute or two. He seemed to have calmed down a little bit, as had Kaswyn. I offered to switch horses with her so Albert didn't think he could just throw a fit and be hand walked home.

We walked into a driveway and made the switch. Albert immediately took off trotting towards home. I would not let him trot, but kept on giving half-halts until he walked. He was not happy with me and was really strong, but he was obedient. Kaswyn was a very good boy for Susan, despite the fact that he was rushing a little bit.

When the crisis seemed over, we started talking about what happened. I think they saw something, or smelled something that they didn't like out there in the woods. Yes, I really do think there was a bear close by, because neither of our horses gets rattled like that. When they got scared in those woods they started feeding off of each other's panic until Albert just went over the edge. Susan thought it was not excusable for her horse to act that way, since he's so trained and never does things like that. I think she's a bit too hard on him sometimes, and I told her so. She didn't agree, and thinks he just needed to be disciplined. Then we starting laughing about the whole episode. Of course I couldn't resist and said "Aren't you glad you wore your helmet?" and she said "Yeah but I'm not glad that my horse decided to be an ASS!"

We were almost home when a big dog came running out from behind a house. It was tearing towards us, barking and posturing, clearly on the offensive. I looked around the dog's neck and I saw a radio collar, so I waited for him to reach the invisible fence. Sure enough the dog knew it's boundaries and slid to a halt, still barking. I commented to Susan about the fence and collar and she said "Thank God, cause we don't need any more drama today."

Two houses later Susan says "Uh oh. I know these three dogs coming up don't have invisible fence because they've chased me before. Kaswyn, I hope you're okay with dogs!" Sure enough three giant labs bounded out into the yard, barking their fool heads off. The bravest one got about fifty feet from us, but luckily didn't come any closer. Our poor ponies had already had enough for one day.

Finally we made it home. Both horses got bathed and then returned to their safe stalls to relax all evening.

I'm sure next time I suggest a ride down the road that Susan will think twice. Or just beat me over the head with something. And if we decide venture off the property again, I think that we'll just leave that nature conservatory to the bears.


Rising Rainbow said...

I hate when stuff like that happens. You can have the best trained horse in the world and something can set them off. They are horses.

Glad it worked out ok and everyone was safe. It could have been a real wreck.

Mrs. Mom said...

Having ridden in bear country, I would say you did the right thing in getting the h*ll out!

Dont let your pal beat you about the head too hard next time you deicde to wander off together and enjoy a quick ride ;)

Unknown said...

Bears? Oh man, I don't live THAT far away from you... I think a horse would have to be mentally delayed or something to not be spooked by a bear. I'm glad everything ended well for you guys!

Dressage Mom said...


Yeah, we are all fine but there were some pretty tense moments. The dogs at the end were kind of a funny note to end on.

Mrs. Mom,

I didn't actually see a bear, but I think I would have peed a little (or maybe a LOT) if I had!


I was as surprised as you were to hear that there were bears around here. It's not like we live in the mountains or hardcore forest or anything...

Katee said...

Horses are prey animals. You might be the leader, but if the prey animal is smelling an actual predator nearby the leader's advice to not worry is going to be pretty much impossible to follow. Discipline isn't going to help that a whole lot. I'm glad everybody is ok and that Kaswyn got to bust out some advanced maneuvers in the heat of the moment!

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