Dressage Under Gunfire

Even Stephan Colbert would have found dressage interesting today. It was actually supposed to be a very dull day. Whitman is having a bit of a vaccine reaction. He has a lump from his rabies shot and all four legs have some mild stocking up. Its being dealt with but I thought a light riding/stretching session would help. I had just tossed my jumping saddle on nitWhit since it was windy and I really was just planning on a very easy day. Yeah, well…

Problem A was the wind. I made one lap around the outdoor and started to question my decision. Some days Whitman just exudes a vibe that says “oh its on”. I had ridden up, so hopped off and went back and shut the gate (I have mentioned my concern with Murphy’s Law – in my rationale, shutting the gate would mean I would not fall/be launched off). I got back on and we went back to work. The trot was pretty fun. Whitman was in the mood to strut and the amount of suspension made it feel like I was in the “up” phase of posting forever. So I was having a lot of fun. And, then…

KABOOM! I’m pretty sure the neighbor fired a cannon (my husband says it probably was a turkey gun, but I am sticking with acannon). The report from the shot sounded like something that would have rocked the Terminator back on his heels. Whitman accelerated with a ferocity that had my face feeling like a basset hound hanging its head out a car window. I’m pretty certain my swearing could be heard throughout the neighborhood. I got nitWhit back under control but my triceps felt like they were stretched out rubber bands.

So the ride continued. The airtime on his trot went from impressive to breaking the laws of physics (yes, I realize that I should have been planning an exit strategy but I am ever the optimist). Shot/cannon fire number two got him pretty excited and surprised the heck out of us again. I shoved my heels down a little further and decided to soldier on. I am not hypocritical enough to complain about someone shooting since its normally a member of my own family breaking the peace of the neighborhood. I could however feel that Whitman was exploring the border between brilliant performance and insane overreaction. Cannon shot number three confirmed my concerns. Whitman launched into a bucking fit that may have actually shown up on the local radar. I got him back under control after getting an excellent overhead view of his ears. At this point I did a little self coaching on the fine line between courage and stupidity and hopped off. My feet hit the ground at about the same time as cannon fire number four. With that Whitman/Mt. Vesuvius erupted into a rearing, leaping, bucking fit and at one point ripped free from me. That unbalanced him and the idiot pretty much tipped over on his side. He regained his footing and set a new land speed record for a warmblood to the arena gate (which was shut, take that SUCKA!). Whitman then passage-d around the arena and I contemplated getting my phone out to video but was so happy to see my reins were still intact I restrained myself in favor of saving $60 on replacement reins. Whitman became confused and just stopped and waited for me. It was pretty clear on his face that he wasn’t quite certain how he ended up on his own. At this point I decided to adjourn to the indoor and longe the curly eared devil. Happily the neighbor had switched to small arms fire which Whitman is rather used to and the longing was fairly unremarkable. After that I took the good twin for a trail ride in the opposite direction of the neighbors.

-Beer Budget Dressage, Y’all