Which horse to ride first today? I decided to start with my newest horse, Piper.
A minute into our ride, he tripped (spooked?). Piper rushed forward to catch his balance and proceeded to crow hop. He tossed me straight up into the air. Fortunately, I landed right back in the saddle. My back still upright. My feet still in the stirrups. Now I am awake!
I was planning to take a few “between the ear” snapshots during the ride. After the crow hop, I abandoned those plans. Best not to let my focus wander in this case.
Despite beginning with the unexpected bucking bobble, the rest of the ride was mercifully boring.
On to my next mount of the day, Mr. Shiloh.
Shiloh was his usual calm and casual self under saddle. While we started walking, I took through-the-ear photos, trying to capture some “mane in the wind” shots.
About the time I put my camera away and was ready to practice some maneuvers, it started to rain.
Like the kind of rain that makes your horse hold his head at funny angles. Argh! Sigh. I did not quite outrun the forecasted precipitation of the day.
So my plan B turned to quickly dismounting and hightailing it with Shiloh to the hay barn. My saddle tells the tale here:
It kept raining even as I let Shiloh back in the pasture, although not quite as strong as before.
Bear waited at the gate for me, like he wanted to be picked to do something (or maybe he just wanted a snack?).
As the rain dropped down to a light drizzle, I took Bear to the round pen for a brief bit of in-hand work. Then we went into the hay barn for a treat. I thought I better cover all the bases. Bear agreed.
After returning Bear to the paddock and then hanging his halter up, I turned around to see Shiloh asking for a treat. See him standing on the tire (filled in with dirt and rocks)? This is what he does when he wants me to bring food.
I sometimes come out of the house at feeding times, only to see Shiloh standing on the pedestal tire. I always wonder exactly how long he’s been standing there waiting.
So Shiloh got a horse cookie, of course. I’ve clearly done a terrific job of reinforcing Shiloh’s strong association between standing on the tire pedestal and me appearing with food. Who is training whom?
Finally, the last critter of the day to want attention (and food) was my barn cat, Saul. He showed up several years ago, around 2018, as a feral cat. Completely unapproachable.
You know how most horse people have dogs that follow them around the farm? Not me. It’s a long string of barn cats that have kept me company over the years.
So in keeping with my tradition of taking in stray cats, I got Saul trapped, neutered, vaccinated, flea treated, microchipped and released back home. It’s been over three years since that day.
As often happens in my experience, this cat decided he would stick around.
Saul finally joined the horses in knowing the pleasures of being dotted on by an attending human.