Yesterday, Shorty and I went for a trail ride with my friend Barb. Barb owns an adorable Quarter Horse named William, and are two horses are simply awesome when it comes to trailering and going to new places. They load on, ride quietly, unload nicely, and quickly settle into their new surroundings. As a trainer, I am often asked to work with horses that have trailering issues, so it is nice to have a horse that is very no-fuss about such things.
The trails were beautiful and well marked, and the day was gorgeous. We saw joggers, bicyclists, dog walkers, fishermen, deer, blackbirds, a huge pond filled with bullfrogs, small bridges built for horses and other would-be scary stuff. None of that affected Shorty. The only thing that Shorty spooked at was a random rock of red marble that was about knee high and two feet wide and sat next to the trail. Shorty came up to it, snorted and stepped sideways past it, never taking his eyes off the offending rock, and then attempted to bolt down the trail. We circled it a few times before moving on. On the way back, he was very tense going past it, but maintained straightness and tempo.
The trailer lot itself was terrible. One woman decided to park her trailer, a huge 4 horse gooseneck, in the middle of the turnaround for trailers, effectively blocking the rest of us from turning around to get out of the lot. To make matters worse, there was a huge picnic for Weight Watchers participants going on and there were hoards of people running around the park. When we got back from the trail, the woman with big trailer was still there and people had parked their cars right next to my horse trailer. There was less than a foot of space between the trailer and the cars, completely blocking us from tying the horses up, giving them water and hay, and being able to untack and load up.
Barb and I rode over to the picnic and had to track people down to move their cars. I was nearly kicked out by a park ranger for riding in the pavilion area during my pursuit of others. People were in a rush to come over and pet our horses (which Shorty hates) but they were reluctant to walk to the parking lot to move their cars. One very heavyset woman said she would only move her car if I would give her a horseback ride back to the parking lot. *Eye roll* "Umm... no. I can't do that." Let's list the reasons why: 1. Shorty hates new people 2. LIABILITY 3. I don't have a helmet big enough for her 4. I am not legging up some three-hundred pound woman onto my nice, well-trained horse because she's too lazy to walk 5. Her audacity to get a free ride was totally rude and could feel my blood pressure rising as she insisted adamantly that riding my horse was the only way for her to get to her car (which was about a thousand feet away).
I was proud of my awesome horse for being such a good boy and a real trooper with the overly-enthusiastic people, who often say things like, "I once rode this horse at the YMCA camp, and I swear, they gave me the really stubborn one," or "I was riding before I could walk, but I don't ride anymore, I would love to ride again." If I got a penny every time someone told me about their stubborn horse at the Y, I'd be able to buy a Starbucks Venti Java Chip Frappuchino by now. When it comes to rocks, I was a little perplexed by Shorty's dislike of that chunk of granite, but hey, it could have been worse. As for his strong dislike of rock-like people, I don't blame him. Those people were downright rude.