I was riding my National Show Horse down 2 miles of side of the road to get to the main trail to ride. He is natually a bit hot, but the monotony of walking the side of the road has both of us just sort of blah. The roads are steep and most of them are sparcely driven. As we are coming to where we have to to onto the main road with almost no shoulder, and across a huge bridge with absolutely no shoulder, I start to get a bit, um, uneasy.
Shaman, the dork, picks up on this and looks about to see what is making me worry. As we top a hill, he looks across the busy main road with cars zooming past to the pasture on the other side. At that point, he freezes. Through my heavy western saddle, I can feel him holding his breath. He snorts once, turns and looks back at me (why woudl I have been so silly as to have been actually holing my reins?) and clear as day says "OMG, do you see the pack of bears????"
I looked across and note that there are four black COWS in the pasture about 80 yards away. I pat him on the neck, tell him he's fine, pick up my reins and cue for him to walk on.
Shaman, the brave brave soul he is, starts to hyperventalite. His feet are glued to the spot. He starts to snort again, gives me THE EYE and goes "MOM, those area BEARS!!! We can't go forward!!!!" By this time the whole horse is startign to shake in fear. I can feel his hearbeat though the saddle.
I spent about two minutes talking calmly to him, letting him know that they are not bears, just cows. It is safe, I will protect him. The whole time his shaking is getting worse, his heart beat feels like a race car engine and I know at at somepoint he is going to lose it. However, I am two miles from home. I have a crushed spine and cannot mount from the ground and really can't walk two miles home uphills. I am going to have to sit out his explosion.
Well, one of the reasons that I can ride this horse out on trail is that it takes him so long between something scary and reaction. We stood there for just over ten minutes with his feet glued in place until one of those darn cows turned and looked at us.
Pow, Shaman spun and was out of there in half a stride he was at a collected canter... remember I had ten minutes of warning, more then enough time to sit deep in the saddle and have my reins short. Shaman was not amused with the collected canter for long as it just was not fast enough. So, being a 5 gaited part saddlebred, he shifted into his rack at the canter which he can do in full collection and is much faster.
That sucker did his fast rack the entire two miles home, not breaking stride until we passed the front gate. I spent the whole time swearing and cusing at him. In fact, when we got home I was so disgusted with him that I left him saddled and went into the house and had my daughter go put him up. I looked at my husband and flat told him I was selling that #@$#@$#$##%$$ horse.
So the next day hubby forces me back on the horse and sends us down the road. GRRRRRRR. I am not amused and just waiting for a repeat. We get to the same spot and Shaman is anticipating the bears... but this time the cows were in thier shelter eating hay. My horse suddenly goes from shaking and nervous to looking over his shoulder at me, and I swear, clear as day he says. "Hey... Mom! Mom! Those arn't bears!! Those are cows!!! See, there was nothing for you to be worred about!" At which time we continue past all the scary cars and bridge like they are nothign and have a great four hour ride...
I don't understand...
So what's the joke at my house? "Look mom, it's a bear!!" every friggen time we pass a cow... sigh.