Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Finally getting back on track with the riding! And a heart attack, courtesy of Limerick.

Wow, August was a horrid month for riding. I think I rode only twice during the entire month, and one ride was cut short because the bugs were causing Limerick to go berserk.

Hot, humid, buggy, wet, sweltering...not good riding conditions.

September, on the other hand, has been perfect so far. The bugs are present but at a tolerable level, and the weather is crisp and cool compared to August (I guess, if you can call 75 and low humidity "crisp and cool").

So far I've had two rides after dark (and it was truly dark for the first ride--I could barely see past Limerick's ever-pointed ears, but I trusted her and she was so good! There's nothing like cantering your horse through the dark), one ride in the made-over indoor arena (complete with power-washed and painted rafters/walls and brand new footing) and a fourth ride outside during the day.

We remain at one trail ride for the year but hopefully I'll find time to get out again; it's not too late, yet.

Back to the ride in the indoor arena. During that ride, I jumped Limerick over a very, very small fence as a test. I do want to get back into jumping with her but I am going to move forward very gradually. I first wanted to see how she would react to a small fence; I was pretty sure she would treat it no differently than she would a ground pole but, first things first.

As expected she did really well and I could just hear her thinking, "This is n-o-t-h-i-n-g, come on, you know I can do more!"

When we were done, as is customary when there is no one else in the arena with us, I took all of Lim's tack off to let her roll in the arena dirt. I carried it into the tack room. My saddle rack is by the large windows that oversee the arena and from there, I could see Limerick standing before the garage door that leads into the arena, cheerfully watching it open. As soon as it was open just enough, she trotted through the door, halter-less.

Wait, what?

I dropped the saddle and bridle and ran out of the tack room. It was late and dark and no one else was at the barn; what if she ran down the barn driveway and out onto the road? How would I deal with that alone? Worst case scenarios flashed through my head as I hurried outside.

She stood between the building that housed the arena and the barn.

"Limerick, stop right there!" I said. She looked at me, wide-eyed, then trotted into the barn. I ran after her, hoping she would go into her stall. Sure enough, she went around the corner and right through her open stall door. I ran over to the door and latched it shut, heart pounding.

Whoa....knees weak, I went back to the arena and looked at the garage door. How on earth did she open that thing? She's been loose in the indoor arena countless times before without any problem.

First, I pressed the "close" button from the outside. It didn't close. Hmm. Then I went into the arena and tried to close it from there. It didn't close. Great, not only did Limerick scare me half to death but she also somehow broke the door. Just great!

Then I noticed another, much newer-looking, garage door button by the gate to the indoor arena. It was large and flat. I pressed it and ta-da, the door began to descend.

So that's how she did it.

The new door opener was far too easy for a horse to open. I had to admit, I was relieved that Limerick did this and not one of the pasture-boarded horses. As much as she had scared me, I knew Lim was smart enough to go right into her stall. But if one of the pasture horses had done it, how would they have dealt with it? They have no stall to run to!

I told the barn owner about the incident the next morning, and by that evening there was a wooden box over the garage door opener, placed in such a way that no equine nose could ever nuzzle it open.

Right now I can laugh about it, but at the time, wow! What a scare.

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