The other day I took Cash out for a cool evening ride. It was my first ride after returning from a quick trip to Florida. I was only gone three days, but I now believe geldings hold grudges just as mares do. Lol.
He managed to make a huge mess out of his hay while I was gone. While cleaning his stall when I got back, he would look at me, and shove the hay out of the rack and onto the floor. It was almost cute until the third time I had to clean up hay.
For our ride I decided on a 5 mile route that we’ve taken before. This time, however, we went the opposite way. I’m not sure if it was the gloomy weather, me being gone for three days, or the backwards route, but Cash was “off” and had a case of the spookies. He would stare at objects while sidestepping as far away as possible, only to spin around at the last minute.
Cash also caught the attention of quite a few drivers. Almost everyone waved at us. One boy stuck the whole upper half of his body out the passenger window to wave as he drove by. Another girl rolled down her window and yelled “HI!” while waving. It was a good experience for Cash.
I took Cash out again the following day. He still seemed a little off in the beginning, but did much better and was less spooky! Again, we took a bit of a backwards route just to mix things up. Once we got close to home and reached the creek, I had him go down the bank where we usually exit. He did wonderful, taking each step carefully and purposely. After we made it up the creek bed to where we usually enter, I decided to take a quick lap around the pond prior to returning to the barn.
I’ve been wanting to see how Cash would do in our pond despite knowing it’s pretty mucky. I was feeling confident and decided to just go for it…an attitude that has usually turned out well in the recent past. Not that night though. We made it through the weeds to the water’s edge. Cash wasn’t too sure about stepping into the water, but I urged him on and told him he’d be fine.
Well, that pond sure made a liar out of me! Cash took one step forward and immediately dropped all the way to his face! This caused his other front leg to step forward. There was algae, muck, and water splashing everywhere. Somehow I remained calm and told him we’ll be okay and that we just need to get out of the water. He turned around, sinking with every step. I flew forward in the saddle and mucky water covered the left side of my saddle horn bag and splashed onto my cowboy hat. Next, I felt his upper body buck forward in attempt to pull himself out of the muck. Thank goodness I had a hold of the horn…or I probably would have went swimming!
As soon as we cleared the water I hopped off to check his legs. He wasn’t favoring any of them and walked fine. I was so relieved! I didn’t even remount. Instead, I walked backwards all the way to the barn to further evaluate his legs.
I had mucky water and grit up to my thigh on my left leg and up to my knee on the right. Cash was covered in the same on all four legs, his chest, and left hindquarter. My saddle, girth, and breast collar were gross, and his rope halter, bridle and reins were decorated with smelly green algae. We were a complete mess!
So, although my ride ended fairly early, I ended up being at the barn for another two hours to bathe Cash and clean up all of my tack. Someone was not a happy camper and did not appreciate the cold bath.
Although the whole experience was less than ideal, we learned a couple things.
- I’ve conquered the ability to stay calm, even when I can’t fully comprehend the situation at hand. I didn’t scream or panic, which allowed Cash to think and take action with distraction.
- Cash will take care of me in any situation. He made sure that we both made it out of that water together.
- Our pond is NOT horse friendly, and we will not be trying that again!
“Teach your horse to trust you, so when the situation arises in which you lose control, you can trust your horse.”– Heart Horse and Hoof Blog
Have any of you had similar experiences with bodies of water? I would love to hear about them! (Please tell me I’m not the only one that’s misjudged a pond or river!)
If not – please learn from my experience and trust your gut! When Cash was unsure about entering the water, that should have been my moment to take a hint. But, we live and learn! We’re extremely lucky all we walked away with was a whole lot of mud.
Until next time,