Tax's trainer had a very minor surgery this week so she asked me if I wanted to come out and ride the big guy last night. Of course I did! And here's what happened.
Someone had dragged all the jump standards to the sides of the arena to drag it. Tax says - How dare they!?! Apparently jump standards in the middle of the arena = not scary. Jump standards that move "all on their own" to the sides of the arena = very very scary.
Weird. Tax isn't usually very spooky but he was NOT going to relax and go past those creepy things. I had warmed up at the end of the arena, so the first lap around the arena I picked up an easy posting trot. As we came around the far corner he stopped and started flying backward with that "I might just spin and bolt" tenseness you can feel in every muscle. I got him stopped, calmed him down and tried again at a walk but the whole time he was dancing around and wanting to be silly. Finally I had him walking past them but every time we came around at the trot he would counterbend and do that silly prancing, distracted thing while he moved sideways threatening to teleport. Sigh.
I finally got smart and decided to get down and move them out of the way a little. Tax decided he all of a sudden doesn't trust me. His feelings are hurt because I let the trainer ride him all the time now and he likes her better anyway. She doesn't get disorganized and give confusing cues and then get all mad at him when he doesn't get it. LOL Tax pulled back when I went to move the jump and I lost my grip on the reins. He took advantage and ran away from the scary jump as fast as he could. Of course no one saw that I'd gotten down, they just saw a loose crazy horse running around the arena and I had the guys come running down to make sure I wasn't hurt. Nope...just feeling dumb, thanks.
I collected my horse and moved the jumps. One I had to set upright and push against the fence. They're light things made from PVC though so that was nice when I was moving them. I got everything moved and Tax seemed to be realizing they didn't actually eat horse flesh. I dragged him up the fence a little and started getting ready to climb on. I was kind of fighting him because he wanted to eat the grass at the edge of the arena and was being a creep. I took a step in front of him to get around to the fence side. What the heck was I thinking?!? I know better than to walk right in front of my horse. The evil jump standard took this as it's opportunity and fell over right behind us just as I got myself in front of Tax and he caught the movement in the corner of his eye.
OH MY LORD! Did you see it just try to make a grab for me? I imagine Tax saying it all embarrassed...you know after he barrelled me over. I was lucky. I didn't get hurt. I'm usually a careful person and it really made me think about getting lazy and taking the safety stuff for granted.
I got back on and we did nothing but walk past the scary area until he seemed really relaxed. I'd ask him to bend correctly going past them in a circle and just play with my inside rein a little to make him pay attention to me. Finally we got a nice big relaxed hunter trot past the jumps and called it quits for the day.
That was exhausting and my butt hurts from using my legs and posting. Poor me! Hopefully my lesson today will go better.