Wednesday I was working late, which meant I would be arriving at the barn around three o'clock. No real problem, but I guessed that Torik's owner might have the horses out in which case Milo might be a bit agitated. As I drove down the last road to the barn I found her with both Torik and her other Fjord, Angel, on a walk. I slowly drove by and glanced in my rear view mirror. For whatever reason, I saw Angel position herself with her back end to Torik, and the two horses started getting a little tangled together. I slowed down and kept watching, then saw Angle double barrel kick Torik in the side twice. I parked the truck as I saw Torik start trotting down the road back to the barn, Angel, fortunately, still attached to her owner. Prepared to jump out of the truck, another vehicle, who had pulled over for my truck to fit down the one car road, stopped and grabbed Torik. Phew. Crisis averted, but I did prepare myself for Milo's most likely agitation for the Fjords being gone.
I approached the barn and saw Cabo and his owner in the arena. Oh boy, this meant that almost all the horses were out of the barn. At least the horse's that Milo knows, so he must be upset being "alone" in the barn. My concerns were correct and I saw him trotting up and down his paddock, turning and agitated. As I entered the barn he hear me and trotted right up to the door. I wasnt sure if I wanted to take him out of the stall in this mood. I watched him as he circled and paced in his stall, going in and out to the paddock and frantically back to me. I crept open the stall door slightly, his big body trying to sneak through the small space. I spoke calmly and quietly to him and he sighed just slightly allowing me to halter him. I led him out of the stall and let him look out the barn up the drive to the arena. Maybe seeing Cabo in there would ease him a little bit.
I put him in the cross ties and watched him scoot back and forth in the aisle way, ears still erect out of the barn. I went into the tack room, still speaking soothingly to him and letting him know I was still around. I got the saddle out and on a rack in the aisle, and went back into the tack room to retrieve the bridle and brushes. I reached for the snaffle bridle, deciding on the drive over I wanted to come back to the snaffle for a ride or two and get him back onto the outside rein. I barely reached for the bridle from the hook and I heard scrambling in the aisle way. Then it got worse and I heard the scrap of shoes on the concrete flooring and a bang from his bum hitting the stall door. I rushed out of the tack room, expecting to see a flailing horse pulling back in the cross ties. No sooner did I come around the corner, however, and Milo caught sight of me and stood still. I didnt see anything wrong, but did smell the tinge in the air from shoes sparking concrete and saw a large scrap along the floor. I wasnt sure if he pulled back, slipped, or what, but decided I needed to get him out of the barn and ease him a little bit. I skipped grooming and quickly threw the saddle on. I wasnt sure if I would longe him or not with the other horse in the arena, but put the bridle on and led him up the drive to the arena. He was a little excited, but seemed more at ease to be moving and out of the barn.
It was rather nice outside this day, with the sun shining nicely, but a wind in the air. I entered the arena and said hello to Cabo's owner, a young lady I recognized from 4H shows. I didnt think she recognized me, though, which was ok. She had some difficulty with Cabo, but I tried not to judge. I was a little uneasy at first sharing the close quartered arena with someone who was having a hard time keeping Cabo at a trot or canter, but luckily, Milo seemed to calm right down as soon as I climbed aboard.
I warmed him up one handed, mostly from the short mecate reins that were on the snaffle bridle. I hadnt used the bridle since I let someone borrow it at the old barn, letting her use the old mecate reins I used back from out drill team days. I didnt realize how short the loop was, noting how different my horse is from the one I rode back on the drill team. His neck is stretched low and reaching for the bit now, not high and evasive with a sore back. It was a good thing to notice, but the length of the short loop required me to use just barely two fingers on the rein with my arm reached forward. I tried to just allow my arm to go forward instead of my whole body tipping forward. I was surprised by how well our ride went. Milo was responsive to my seat and cues, hardly needing me to touch the rein at all. We got compliments from the other rider as well. Our lope work was nice too, with nice departures and a steady pace. He felt cadenced but still motorcycling at the corners, so a reminder for a slight arc was needed, both for Milo and for myself.
Everything was great, however, and I was very pleased with the ride. My only concern now is how attached he has obviously gotten to the other horses. I'm not quite sure how to approach the issue, since I cant simply take him away from the horses, he only seems to have an issue with them leaving. Fortunately though, he doesnt remain hot in our workout, but handling him on the ground in the cross ties is difficult when he is so upset about their absence. Thoughts on this?