Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Good Day to Ride... Or Die....

I never got around to posting about my last ride with Zydo, a ride that will be forever etched in my heart as the one that almost did me in.

It was pouring rain last Sunday, the type of driving down, pouring rain that makes most sane and rational people decide to stay indoors with a good book and a glass of wine. But not I. Because I, Dear Readers, am a raving lunatic.

The problem is that I work every day, and as a result, my horse has become incredibly neglected. So my mother decided to force me onto my horse. She was waiting, horse tacked and ready to go when I got home from work.

My dad, Tia, Zydo and myself headed out on what should have been a lovely hack when the rain started coming down in a fashion not unlike that of a million pellets shooting out of a million air rifles at once.

I had a helmet on. Zydo did not.

He started out by dancing about the field on his tippy-toes, tossing his head hither and yon, refusing to walk forward. We managed to go a little further into the field when he decided to practice his pirouettes, a ballet move that is not for the faint of heart (And also not to be performed by horses, from what I understand.)

The rain let up some, and we managed to follow Tia while she practiced walking straight lines back and forth across one of the back fields. And then the rain came back in full force, and nothing was OK from here. Zydo spun, he tossed his head, he ran backwards while he tossed his head. I tried to sit firm, to send him forward by placing my well-tractioned butt in the saddle and giving him some leg.

But he would have none of it.

At this point my heart was racing and my legs were shaking. He kept spinning in circles and I was feeling slightly dazed; he still refused to move in a forward fashion. My dad suggested that we head back to the barn. At first I thought he meant that he would take the horse, and return to pick me up with a blanket and a steamy mug of hot chocolate.

But, no. He expected me to RIDE MY HORSE back to the barn.

So, we headed back. But, we decided that, sothe horse didn't think he was getting away with anything, we would make one more pass of the hay field behind the house before our return. Things sort of started looking up when Zydo said FUCK OFF, LADY.

He began to pace back and forth sideways in the field. I tried to send him forward again, but he would have none of that and decided to spin in circles once more. I tried to back him up, to rush him in circles of the opposite direction, and he dipped his shoulder. I stood up and managed to stay on, at which point I gave him a firm tug on the mouth and told him to walk on.

Oh, no. There was no walking on to be done. He danced some more on his tip-toes, bucked his big fat butt up in the air, and stuck his nose to the ground trying to be rid of me over his head. When that failed, he decided to stand up on his hind legs and box the air with his fronts. His head was tossing and he was making that awful puffing noise that only horses can make.

We finally danced our way back to the front yard, at which point he refused to stand still so that I could dismount. So I had to do a flying, leaping, moving dismount into a giant mud puddle.

My mother is mortified that I stayed on past the first dancing episode. I am too, actually, but I didn't really want to give up. The whole time I was riding, I expected this to turn around, and for us to end up with one of our wonderful rides together.

I suppose the reason I'm not upset about this ride is that I STAYED ON. I saw the whole thing through, I managed to keep my seat, and keep my cool. I really feel that this hideous, awful, heart-wrenching ride has acclaimed me a real rider, one who is brave enough to go out in inclement weather and tell the horse who is boss. Last June, I would have folded up into an unrecognizeable pile of mush, and landed in the grass beside his daintily-moving feet.

But I didn't.

And My God, I love him even more now than I did before, because he's shown me that he still does have quite a bit of spunk in him, that he still has some challenging behaviours that are going to test my strength as a rider.

I passed the test and I love that horse more than it is possibly healthy for a sane and rational human being to love a horse.

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