This Saturday I went for a ride with a friend. We were starting at my friend’s place, so I had to bring Cassie over in the trailer. Cassie has had several rides in the trailer and although she is not too keen on going in, she has been quite obliging. Until now.
I have moved the horses to the back fields and the entrance gate is right beside my yard. When I arrive, Cassie is waiting for me at the gate and happy to come with me. I groom her and get her ready, then lead her to the trailer. Ben and Minnie are at the gate and they start whinnying. Cassie stops. I pause, stroke her neck until she relaxes, then move on. I step on the ramp. Cassie throws her head up and plants her feet. She can do an excellent giraffe impression when she feels like it. I come back off the ramp and relax my body, breathing out slowly. Cassie lowers her head. I walk back up the ramp. Cassie follows. Two feet on the ramp. Loud whinnying in the background. Cassie throws her head up again and I notice that her head is now higher than the trailer. Her eyes are rolling, whites showing. I have to do something here. I try to forget about time.
Cassie can’t bear her head being trapped. I usually lead her with just a rope around her neck, if I do use a head collar the lead rope needs to be slack at all times. If I walk ahead of her and the lead rope goes tight, she’ll stop. If she doesn’t follow me, I can’t pull on the lead rope. I have to get her to come on a loose rope, or I might end up with a rearing horse.
So here we are, Cassie is eying the trailer, Ben and Minnie are at the gate being rather unhelpful with their clamouring and I wonder what this is all about. Who is actually anxious here? Or is it me, am I putting pressure on because I want to be somewhere at 3 o’clock? I go up to Cassie and rub her forehead. Her head comes down and she looks at me as if to say, what are you going to do now. I relax my body again and wait. Cassie indicates that she would like to move off, so I decide to let her lead and see what happens. She moves to the grass behind the stables. I am saving that field for the winter and the grass is high. Ben and Minnie come up to the fence. They nicker at Cassie. Cassie ignores them and starts to graze. Now they are obviously jealous and their faces are priceless, but of course my camera is already in the jeep. I give Cassie a few minutes. We walk back to the trailer. Cassie stops. This time, I don’t move ahead of her. I stay beside her and nudge her side. When her weight shifts forward, I take a step. Cassie steps onto the ramp. I stay at her shoulder, only slipping ahead of her at the last moment. Cassie follows me all the way in.
When we get back, Ben and Minnie are waiting at the gate. I wonder if they stayed there the whole time. When I let Cassie back in, the three of them walk off together into the field. Rosie of course has been impervious to it all and has spent all this time grazing. She is wise.
Yesterday morning I went for a walk in the forestry, exploring a trail I hadn’t been on before to check if it is suitable for riding. There were dozens of butterflies basking in the sun.
The trail was nice too.