Yesterday, Maíre came over with Ben and Rosie. We were going out for a hack with Ben and Cassie, and Rosie came so she and Minnie could keep each other company. It’s an excellent arrangement. Minnie can’t handle being left behind and as soon as she is on her own in the field, she will start galloping, whinnying loudly all the time, and look for a spot to get out. As she easily jumps her own height it is almost impossible to keep her confined. Usually when I take Cassie out, I put Minnie in her stable with plenty of hay to keep her entertained. With Rosie there, Minnie soon settled and the two of them were out grazing while we were away.
We loaded Cassie in the trailer with Ben and took a short drive to the start of a forestry trail. When we arrived, it was raining, but after a few minutes, the clouds parted and the sun came out. The trail leads through the forest onto a plateau where heather and wild flowers grow in abundance, and finishes at a lake.
We rode at a leisurely pace, enjoying the scenery, and when we got to the lake we stopped for a munch break. My reins end in clips, so I unclipped one to give Cassie a long lead and sat down on a rock with a bottle of water and an apple, while Cassie grazed beside me.
We had just started on our way back, when Cassie jumped sideways to avoid going through a pool of water. As she trotted on, I noticed that my rein had come off, so it was definitely time to stop Cassie before she got into her stride. I called to Maíre that I had a broken rein and she halted Ben. Fortunately, I always ride with a neck ring. It’s a piece of string with a loop on one end and a leather popper on the other end. I tie it by pulling the popper through the loop and then fasten it with a halter knot. It’s very useful to have something to hold on to when riding a young horse, but as it turned out it has more than one use. I used my seat and the neck ring to halt Cassie and got off to inspect the damage. One of the clips had snapped and wouldn’t close properly. I now was very glad I had the string with me. I untied it, looped it through the bit ring and had a new rein in an instant. Problem sorted, I got back on Cassie and we rode on.
This is the kind of situation that could have been bad, but fortunately for us, nothing really happened and that is because both Cassie and Ben trust their riders. Cassie didn’t spook or run off when the rein broke and she stopped without the use of reins. Ben stopped when Maíre asked him to, and I know plenty of horses who wouldn’t have done that if they saw another horse trotting away from them.
After a while, Ben lost a shoe and he had to be walked home. I got off too and walked beside Cassie. It’s very companionable and Cassie likes it. I matched her stride and she nudged my shoulder every now and then or she would turn her head and look at me. I felt connected. A beautiful afternoon.