Sunday, September 29, 2013

Worth his weight in gold

Soon really proved his worth today when it counted.  He and I paired up with another horse/rider combo from the barn and did a five mile hack on the surrounding roads.  It's all country gravel roads, surrounded by soybean and corn fields.  Soonie gets more and more chill with every hack down the road.  Today we walked and trotted out, turned down another road, and took a little trot/canter detour between two fields he was fantastic as usual, even cantering behind the other horse.  While the canter jazzed the other horse up, Soon fell right back into a loopy rein walk and we continued further down the road.

We trotted down and back another mile or so into new territory.  Soon was content to stay in the back, and he trotted along in a beautiful, forward, and relaxed trot.  He even spent most of the trot stretching down into the contact all on his own!  We turned back for home, stepped back into a trot, and all the way he was like a 20 year old trail horse who had been doing it all his life.  No jigging, no drama, just relaxed, happy horse.  Lovely boy.  :)

The scary parts were where his great mind and temperament really came in, though.  On the way home, we encountered a large farm tractor hauling a very odd, yet huge and terrifying, piece of field equipment.  We all stopped in a nearby driveway and hung out about 15 feet off the road for it to pass.  Unfortunately, the driver did not bother to slow down.  The sight/sound of the oncoming beast freaked the other horse out, and he promptly lost his shit.  He began to fling himself backward and into the oncoming tractor.  I swear that horse/rider missed it by probably six or so feet.  The horse then jumped forward and just about collided with Soon, who stepped out of the way.  He was perfectly well behaved and I cannot say how much I appreciate that!

Just afterward, a red pickup truck came along from behind us.  We made our way to the very side of the road, getting as far over as we could.  I signaled politely for the driver to slow down, but instead, he decided to buzz us.  Not only that, but as soon as he came up behind the other horse (who was behind Soon and I at this point), the asshole stepped on the gas and sped off right by us.  Unbelievable!  The horse behind us didn't flip out like before, but it didn't help him.  Soon, meanwhile, didn't miss a beat of his walk as the red truck flew by.  It is so, so nice to have a horse that is level headed.  Situations like that, with horses spooking and throwing themselves into traffic, get very dangerous, very quickly.  Soon really proved something to me today, and it's that his quality is something incredibly special.  I am very thankful for him.

Having said that, I am totally aghast at the lack of common sense and common courtesy I have seen with drivers on those roads.  Coming from back east, it seemed folks had a little more awareness, but here, I feel like a target on horseback.  I  wish I was packing heat and that Wild West rules still applied.  It would have been nice to shoot that truck's tires out.  Can't drive a vehicle responsibly?  Fine, don't drive it.  That's why you can't have nice things.

Otherwise, it was a beautiful day with perfect weather, and despite the near death experiences, a lovely hack.


And just to make myself feel better and not throat punch the next person I encounter, here's a cat in a shark costume riding a Roomba, being chased by a duck:

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