There are two ways to look at this:
- I’ve been riding Ginger for Laurie.
- Laurie has graciously indulged me by allowing me to ride Ginger.
I think the photo below shows that #2 is the correct pick. They’re beautiful together:
Ginger is an orange ball of fire: opinionated, believes “forward” is an understatement, and is…impatient…with the idea of anything approaching what she would call ‘sedate’. Anything less than Mach 10 is sedate to Ginger. Slowing down takes far too much time and energy. She’s also a total glamor girl. Think Lucy before her comedic talent was discovered.
She’s also a mare’s mare. She reminds me what it feels like to be a hormonal teenager: out-of-sorts and crampy, making a benign issue a problem because we girls just feel like THERE IS A PROBLEM. THAT THING I JUST SPOTTED MUST BE IT. FIX IT, dang it.
I so get this.
During a recent ride, Ginger decided the wash rack that butts up to the arena was The Problem. There was a hose. Water was coming out of it. WATER. Do I understand what she’s saying?!? WATER at one o’clock!
This is a horse that loves her baths.
We went backward, forward, skittered sideways, bounced up and down, and in general showed our displeasure at having to pass near running water at a speed below Mach 90. I identify. When hormones are involved, I do NOT back down once I’ve staked out an issue, true or not.
Fairly soon, we’re standing quietly opposite the wash rack, while the water is running, talking to a friend. (We know it’s still going to kill us, but we’re very brave.) We try to focus on the conversation. Sparrows are flitting in and out of the arena, picking up hair for their nests. All the horses are shedding.
A bit later, we quietly go to work, and it’s awesome. We are cantering nicely in our least favorite direction when it happens.
Two sparrows come tumbling over each other into the arena, straight at us. I don’t know if they’re fighting, or it’s spring baby making time. I feel a wing hit Ginger’s belly. Birds whapping near one’s privates are definitely an allowable meltdown issue. Ginger pays no attention to the birds. Not even a blip on her radar. We keep cantering.
This is where Chaos Theory comes in.
The birds should have tumbled out, right?
No. Because we hit a Chaos loop. Running water scared us, therefore the universe hurled us squalling feathers. Her hooves gathering upward in the canter pushed the rolling ball of birds up and in between her front legs. I feel them tumbling and richocheting between her legs, their little heads whapping like ping-pong balls. I feel a wing hit a stirrup, feel the Ball ‘O Birds being gathered back up and into the churning cycle of her front legs. They tumble and flap and toss.
I gauge Ginger, wondering if she is going to go all “Today is a good day to die” on me.
Except for the sparrows bouncing and rolling and flapping between her front legs, just another day in paradise.
If I stop her, it’s likely the birds will crash to the ground and get pulverized in the process. If I don’t, she might notice at some point BIRDS are pinging around between her front legs. My slow thought process takes a couple more canter strides to come up with a solution. (Hey. How often do birds get caught in our horse’s legs?! It’s not like I’ve had to practice this!)
Down into the trot. Hopefully, that will give the birds time to get out sideways. We trot, the birds shoot out of the spin cycle (they’re fine), and Ginger politely asks to canter again.
As if a downward transition to release frantic, trapped sparrows was a normal part of any workout.
And she thought the hose was the problem?
Note to self: next time I decide THAT THING OVER THERE is the problem, check for sparrows.