Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Gates to Hell

Gabe wants me to tell you: Telephone poles are the gateways to hell and I am the devil incarnate.

Just so you know. Because he's still a bit peeved with me I do believe.

It was again a nice early morning ride. The arena work: Mostly workmanlike and fabulous. He did a little bit of playing around in the beginning but nothing unexpected and nothing I couldn't deal with. The arena was still a bit muddy so we did some big circle trot work, some lateral work and practiced transitions and length of stride within the gaits. We did no cantering because he still gets a little squirrely on circles and I didn't really want us to end up on our butts in the mud because he couldn't keep his legs under him on the corners.

So, out we go, down my driveway and along the back road. Which is rarely traveled, especially early in the morning. We walked and trotted a bit and he was good. Neck stretched down, back up, hind end working like a well-oiled machine, looking around but listening. Snorting at quail and rabbits, but paying attention to me.

In the distance I could see a truck rumbling towards us. A good-sized pickup. First vehicle we'd seen that morning so I scooted him way over into the ditch along the road. The grass has not been cut yet this year so it's high enough to tickle his belly and, well, hide things.

The truck is still coming at us and I spotted them as soon as Gabe did. A double whammy. A pair of telephone poles lying partially hidden across the ditch in the deep grass.

With flapping orange ribbons tied to them and a plastic bag caught on the edge of one of them, moving like a demented amoeba in the breeze.

I could almost hear him thinking: "THE GATES TO HELL!!! RUN SIDEWAYS NOW!!!" He had himself so convinced he could most likely smell the sulfur-breathing demons within, waiting to devour his sweet horsey flesh.

Oh. Crap. I felt him tense and grow about 6 inches taller so I laid a leg on him to keep him from scooting into the road and into the path of that oncoming truck.

That turd blew right through my leg and right in front of the truck while giving those horse-eating telephone poles gigantic googly eyes and big snorty nostrils.

Thank goodness I live on a road where most motorists are used to seeing walkers, bikers or riders on the shoulder.

With a big, dumbass Thoroughbred blowing through my aids I decided my only option was to wave my arms and my dressage whip around in the air like a lunatic and hope the driver recognized my attempt at a "SLOW DOWN!" signal for what it was.

She did. She hit those brakes hard, squealed the tires a bit and put my heart in my throat where it nearly strangled me. I couldn't breath.

We didn't get hit. That would have been painful and probably messy and would have ruined my whole day.

After she passed us the road was quiet and empty again and I turned to tackle those poles. Because spooking at poles and blowing through my leg is absolutely unacceptable and dangerous. Period. End of story.

He thought his work was over. He thought we were just out for a nice, relaxing ride.

He had another think coming.

Because for the next 25 minutes we went over, around and along those telephone poles until all he wanted to do was sit down on one and catch his everlovin' breath.

Telephone poles are no longer the gates to hell.

But I'm pretty sure I'm now his version of Satan.


  1. Wow! I'm so glad that truck had good brakes and the driver was paying attention. Amazing what spooky things lurk in the least likely places.

  2. Gah. It is especially good that you kept your own head.

    It's one of the things Bar continues to teach me--two bozos is not helpful.

    Glad it ended well and that the poles became the lesser of two evils.

  3. just reading this, my heart was in my throat. scarry. So GLAD the truck was able to stop in time.

  4. Isn't it funny that he wasn't scared by the giant loud truck but by the totally still and quiet telephone poles? You just never know what will set them off!

  5. Oh Lord. Thank God. I had a similar experience on Jackson (who had NEVER been spooky on any road in the three years I'd had him) and I bailed. This was a spooking horse and the traffic on said road IS NOT FRIENDLY. 80 mph is the norm. Just not worth the lesson I needed to teach. Pair that with this was one of the first times I had taken him from his barn mates and we needed to get down the road to a friend's house for a scheduled lesson, I felt justified in walking. He was spooky walking too. I blame this on the TB in him, not the Arab. :) Glad you were able to overcome it all and didn't end up on the truck's grille. Amazingly, I too, kept my head, but had too much speed and weirdness afoot to do anything but get off and lead him away on foot. Which in my case, on this day, really was a win!

  6. 'demented amoeba' , I'd run too! I was laughing as I read since I knew this wasn't 'ghost writing' and that you must have made it safely through those gates to hell.

  7. Oh my you tell a mean story that makes one pee thier pants for the freight of it and the ending of it too!Gabe...I am sure he wanted to sit down, somewhere!
    Man...am I glad all went well...man!
    Hope thinkgs are drying out fer ya's...we maybe startin' to..I PRAY!

  8. PS...Love your blue skies around here, on the wall paper!