What do you do when you’ve had a really great ride – I mean, your horse and you have just nailed your halt/trot transitions, and the trot/canters are looking pretty good, and damn, that was a nice round circle – and you look at your watch/electronic timekeeping device and you still have twenty minutes in your allotted hour?
Well some nice, normal, sane people would say to themselves, “Let’s head in. It’s one p.m., it’s ninety degrees in the shade, and if the horse gets a shower and a walk-out, that will leave me time to take a shower and lie down in the dark, cool bedroom and listen to some very loud music before it’s time to go and pick up Calvin from school.”
Others (you know, the sort of people who pick up racehorses off the street and start riding them, and then write blogs about it) say to themselves, “Let’s ride in the pond.”
To be clear, I don’t think that my pond is particularly the best pond for riding horses in. For starters, it is a dark black-water pond. The edges drop off dramatically, although it isn’t deep – it isn’t exactly in the shape of a beach. The edges are quite tangled with waterweeds of indeterminate species. And then of course it is infested with alligators.
So, I have this awesome pond for riding horses into, in other words.
It only took half an hour.
The really funny bit is that in the early stages of “IdonwannaIdonwannaIdonwanna!!!!” I accidentally let him turn his head to the left and escape the scary little bank of the pond I had selected as an entry point. And after that, even when he was going into the pond nicely (okay, begrudgingly) he would not enter from the right. He would turn his head to the left and go sideways. That was his escape route, and he knew it. From the left, no problem. We even trotted in.
It really wasn’t traumatic, although I did belt him on the shoulder with the end of the reins (racing reins are so nice and long, and if you’re still using regular reins to ride, you’re missing out!) when he got stuck, just looking down at the water at his toes with a sort of horrified look. But – it’s – muddy!
When he finally started walking through, he took a few deep breaths, either expressing relief or complete and total disgust. Whatever, I was happy. Every now and then, Prince Spoiled Ex-Racehorse can do something he doesn’t want to do! And he might learn to enjoy himself. He’s the only one of my horses that hasn’t occasionally taken a swim. The mares went in every day, cold or hot, ladies bathing at the seashore. And the youngsters don’t go in at all! Well – one does – now.