Pat and Miss B enjoying a ride near Lake Grapevine
A sunny day, a soft breeze and blue skies blend together for the making of a memorable trail ride for you and your horse. Whether or not you realize it, all of your skills and rapport with your horse may be called upon in the blink of an eye to instantaneously deal with a potentially catastrophic event. This could be a bee sting, a tree branch crashing down nearby or something as simple and commonplace as joggers or bicyclists unexpectedly approaching you and your quick-thinking partner.
On your next trail ride, pay attention to the multitude of signals that your horse is sending to you. You can listen to her with your eyes and your body contact. Horses have an excellent sense of smell, much better than most humans. There may be a bobcat in the bushes and you will never know it, but Miss B, our horse in the photo, knows that there is a predator nearby. She will tense up a bit, prick her ears and stop in her tracks. She wants you to know that there is something to be concerned about.
As an experienced trail rider, you will ackowledge her communications and then ask her to move on. When you are riding a horse that trusts you, she will put her faith in your confidence and continue on down the trail. That's the ideal scenario. However, life is like the bowl of cherries, you will run into some pits sooner or later. The more preparation and thought that you have put into your riding skills and horse training prior to this day may make the difference in how successful the both of you are in dealing with the unexepected.
Worst case scenario, a dog charges out from nowhere, your horse spooks, spins and next thing you know is that you are on the ground without a horse. This can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere regardless of age and experience level. So, go ahead, be hard-headed. Wear your helment and don't forget to listen to your horse.
For more info: www.horse-sense.org/stories/