Posted by on 15 September 2007 at 10:25 am  Uncategorized
Sep 152007

Well, I just had a far more exciting ride on my mare Tara this morning than I would have liked.

My friend Melissa (also known as my fabulous house-and-beast-sitter) and I were enjoying a quiet cross-country ride on two well-behaved horses. Until we encountered pigs, that is.

They were in a pen about 50 feet away from our path. Melissa’s horse was as quiet as usual, but Tara was highly disturbed by the first pig, and then another appeared in the pen, and then another, and then more. Although I’d gotten off, she was growing ever-more agitated. She even broke away from me and trotted around the nearby field in alarm for a few minutes until I caught her again.

Unfortunately, removing ourselves from the vicinity of the pigs required walking down a tricky set of switchbacks. That was a dangerous undertaking in and of itself given Tara’s mental state. Yet even once we were down that hill and out of sight of the pigs, Tara was still bonkers. She would wheel around rapidly, half-rear, leap into bushes, and whatnot. It definitely wasn’t safe to be on her back, but I wasn’t exactly safe on the ground either. Attempting to walk along side her on the narrow, winding, hilly, and wooded path would have been foolish in the extreme. She was just too freaked out to pay much attention to me — or to her own safety.

So we were in something of a pickle. She was only growing more upset where we were, as she could still hear the pigs snorting. Yet I couldn’t safely move her forward on the trail, either on her back or walking by her side. Obviously, I didn’t want to endanger Melissa or her horse.

Tara solved that dilemma for us by suddenly jerking the reins out of my hands and trotting off down the trail. It was only about a half mile to home, but she did have to cross the main road in our neighborhood. So I was a bit worried for her safety.

I trudged home with Melissa. It’s the only time I recall, in all my years of riding, being reasonably happy about the necessity to walk home from a ride. (I really hate to do that, even when I have the ill-behaved horse in tow.)

Happily, I found Tara exactly where I expected: near the barn, as close to her buddy Jackson as possible. The reins were still over her neck — and, amazingly enough, still intact. Since she was reasonably calm, I climbed on her again, took her for a few turns around the ring at the walk and trot, then called it a day. She was clearly emotionally exhausted. I’m a bit worn out myself, I must admit!

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