The day after our temperature soared to 80*, it fell to the low 40s, overcast and windy. And wet. We got a lot of rain and wind as a cool front moved in overnight.
On the 80* day all the horses were standing around, miserable in their winter coats, I'm sure wishing those long hairs would just fall off and disappear. I didn't ride, not wanting to overheat the poor guy who was already standing there sweating and looking quite drained.
Instead, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to ride in the chilly wind. Down the road (the arena is too slick and sloppy). Just me and Gabe. We haven't gone out alone since Jacquie left...I usually cajole my daughter into riding with me or ride in the arena.
Did you know Gabe can turn donuts AND lay rubber? He can! That boy has more athleticism than he is usually willing to tap in to. Everything was scary: The water-filled ditches with trash floating in them (yuck! I hate litterers); the plywood on our pump house that moves in the wind; the pallets I moved out of the garden; the hay shed; the tarp snapping in the wind; the ducks on the pond; the wind whistling through the power lines; the loud truck that drove very slowly by us (thank you!); the water-filled hoof divots in the yard; the seagulls in the fields; the cows half a mile away; the dreaded peacocks.
He exploded sideways and spun to face the scary things. He scooted forwards like he was breaking from the gate, snorting and blowing. He flung his head and squealed and pranced and crow hopped. He flung green-tinged slobber into my face and all over his chest (at least he was soft in the mouth and listening to me!) I found some of that slobber on his butt and spattered on his back legs while untacking. What a special boy.
Everything was out to get him and his whole body was a mass of quivering, explosive energy. He wasn't really scared of anything out there (he's seen it all a million times), he was just brimming over with excitement and energy and needed to get it out. So, down the road we went, picking up a nice, brisk trot with walk transitions to be sure I still had a stop if I needed it and making adjustments within the trot to keep him paying attention. I just hung on and prayed and tried to keep him too busy to worry about all the scary stuff around him.
It worked. We rode about four miles and by mile two, he was definitely more focused on me. He was still high as a kite and brimming with excess energy to burn, but at least he was listening and a wee bit more relaxed.
When my husband asked how my ride had gone, my only response was "Exciting!" Gabe wasn't bad, he was like a kid at a birthday party who had eaten too much cake combined with an excess of stimulation: Way too much energy to keep contained.
I'm hoping tonight's ride is a little less "exciting!"