What does an Un-spooky horse look like? And what does an Un-spooky horse act like?
Well, let’s compare a few things. A few years ago, one of my students was shopping for a new horse. I went with her to check out the one she liked the best. I watched the horse be handled and ridden, rode the horse, took it out in the desert a bit and over some natural obstacles. My observation was: This horse is scared beyond belief. She is ready to come out of her skin and absolutely rigid. Her muscles are taut, she quivers and her eyes have white rims.
The woman said, “but she’s just standing there quietly.” “No,” I replied, “she’s standing there rooted to the spot like a piece of marble. That’s not the same thing.” The trainer selling the horse jumped in saying the horse isn’t the least bit spooky and is great on trail, which makes me chuckle even as I write this. I added that we could fix it, but if she was going to buy this horse, she had to know that this horse will blow!
Which of course it has.
On the other side, here’s what happened when I was riding the other day. I’m riding Peka (the little bay I’m reading the book on), a horse that has about 180 rides in her. Cantering along, I was looking to the right when a Mesquite tree branch attacked me, practically taking out my left eye. I went and got some loppers. Since Peka is the shortest of my horses by a couple of hands, I figured I’d better go high. I had to stand on her to trim the dastardly limbs high enough. You know that the limbs are going to fall on the horse, right? She doesn’t move, thorns and all. I drop back into the saddle and sidepass a step or two and re-position to lop a few more branches. Then, I walk off with my reins draped on the saddle, put the loppers over the fence and walk another 60 feet or so at which time I decide to canter off again, slowly and with a loose rein. I’d gone about 50 feet or so when a movement behind us caught my eye. I looked back to see one of the 3 foot long branches with multiple off-shoot limbs, fall out of her tail.
That’s an Un-spooky horse.