Why TLH was in Radio Silence for four days (sorry);
- Hudson is fine.
- I’m fine.
- We need some backstory. Bear with me?
One of the best things my mother ever told me:
A person’s worst qualities are usually their best qualities, magnified.
She said, “It’ll help you understand people. And forgive them.” Pause. She couldn’t resist adding: “And Jane? It’ll help you figure out your own annoying qualities.”
(i.e. You might appreciate a person’s expression of gratitude for showing her how to use a button on her cell phone, but want to strangle her the next day when you receive your third thank you call, thank you text, and thank you note shoved through the mail slot. It might make you wonder: “Geeze, is THIS what she expects ME to do if I ask her to move a blanket for me when my arms are full??” FYI: No. Wouldn’t even cross my mind.)
Drive-by Day was one of Hudson’s best qualities magnified.
Hudson has Super-Hero hearing. He can hear a butterfly land on a cherry blossom in Japan, while chewing in a moving trailer. His hearing has alerted me to many a potential ‘situation’, and we’ve avoided disaster.
Loud, unfamiliar, noise is the only thing I know of that scares him. He’s smart, and learned to dismiss his fear when he’s figured out what it is. I can ride him next to a working backhoe, bucket lifted, with dirt shaking out. He knows what noises to expect.
As we know, Hudson has a Death-Penalty-Is-Too-Good-For-Them hatred of weed whackers. But he’s not afraid of them.
The day before The Big Melt Down, I rode him on the access road, between 2 weed whackers. On the buckle. Granted his lip was curled, and one eye cocked at me in disdain, but we walked right through.
He’s SO good.
I still wasn’t worried when he knocked the trash over. Dumping trash is Hudson-speak for come now. Problem: things that are urgent to him might not be urgent to me. His entitlement to post-ride cookies, for instance.
I rolled my eyes when I realized he was alerting me to weed whackers. I look at him. He’s not afraid. He just hates them. But he doesn’t knock over the trash often. So I pay attention. While shoveling...ewwwww…what WAS that….back into the trash can.
Whackers are coming closer. I look at him. Still good. Not afraid.
Suddenly, it was just as Hudson described:
KaPOW, Zing….POP pop pop pop pop
It sounded exactly like rapid gun fire.
I unsnapped him before he had a chance to do much…except grow a hundred feet tall and find his inner stallion.
Apparently, the nylon line from the weed whackers was catching the small drainage pebbles under the edge of the barn, and ricocheting them against the wall and off the tin roof.
Hudson was Out. Of. His. Mind.
I didn’t want to kill him because he was afraid. I wanted to kill him because I was afraid FOR him. Shed row style barn = lower ceilings. He’s a tall horse. Correction. He was a tall rearing horse.
Thank God I’d once owned an OTTB with only 90 days of retraining. When Hudson went up, I knew to yank him down sideways, so when he went up again, he’d miss splitting his head open on the support beam. Most of his rearing and spinning was on the rubber mats. But the only exit was the cement barn aisle. I did not want a rearing, spinning, bolting horse scrambling on cement.
Solution? I tried to make him walk (and feel less trapped) by spiraling us forward. Fine on dirt, not fine on cement. Instant scrambling. Sparks from his shoes striking. SO not a teachable moment. (No moment is “teachable” when the horse is out of their mind.)
I got us pointed toward the exit, and let Hudson haul me down the aisle. It’s true. I was acting as a drag, and waterskiing! But it kept him from going faster than a trot, and he didn’t go down.
If you ever come across a lead rope with panic snap (hard to find) BUY IT. It’s the first thing I searched for when I got Hudson, despite his Least Likely To Need It status. I believe it saved him.
He was completely unharmed, which is a major miracle. Once he calmed down, I worked him out lightly, to get the acid moving out of his muscles and prevent soreness. Gave him some Bute, in case. (Horse Aspirin, for the non-horsey)
The next day: misery. All the muscle micro-shifts of a panicked horse, plus balancing in terror on a slippery surface, and acting as a Formula One speed boat for me, left him so stiff and achey that walking was ouchy. Even with a complete rub down. I got off and ponied him instead (Thanks, Dinero!). He’s needed Bute, hand walking or ponying, rest, and massage for many days to get back to normal.
I’ve need lots of little paper umbrellas to get back to normal. And neck massages. Who knew waterskiing was so hard on your neck?