I went out to the farm again today, this time to ride. Since the main ring is closed because it’s still too wet, there was a queue for the round pen, for which we have to sign up. So I got Frisbee, groomed him again (and despite yesterday’s hard work, he had clearly lain down at one point because he was pretty muddy) and tacked him up.
At that point the weather was beautiful: sunny, cool, and only slightly windy. When it was my turn to ride in the pen (which is 40 feet in diameter, so a decent size) I led him in and mounted and began to move him out at a walk.
Not five minutes later the weather turned. A HUGE gust of wind came down, the skies clouded over, and the temperature plummeted. A Texas norther had just blown in.
Well, shoot. Frisbee’s biggest fear is wind, because it blows stuff around, stuff that might LEAP OUT AT HIM AND EAT HIM ALIVE !!!! AGHHH!! So that sucked. And sure enough, a rag left hanging on the wash stalls fluttered and he leaped to the side.
But I was determined, so I kept him walking and trotting and doing circles and figure eights and serpentines (not easy in this pen) and so he had to think and pay attention to me instead of the wind. I was planning on at least making him work up a sweat, but decided that it was better to make sure that he was settled and calm under saddle so I rode for less than half an hour.
But boy I was attentive. I had to keep an eye on him plus the entire environment so I could anticipate a sideways leap, while at the same time insisting on his attention on me. (He does this crouch and swoop move that is pretty impressive.) So in a way, I was attuned to his way of thinking, in which everything is a potential threat. It was tiring, living on nerve endings that way, but also exhilarating. We tend to tune the world out, but I had to consciously tune in to everything.
All in all, it was a good ride. I am looking forward to getting back into the main ring and actually doing some real work on horseback. But this is Texas, in winter, and you take what you can get.