Friday, January 22, 2010

Midnight's a pretty smart horse

I rode Midnight bareback in the indoor arena this morning while Deb rode Galahad. Midnight and I worked on reining, and on stops.

As I got on, Galahad was right behind us, and I could feel Midnight tense up and think about doing ugly things, like kicking or biting, which is what the two of them always do when they’re in there together, unsaddled. But he didn’t do anything, just put his ears back. We moved away without incident.

Midnight is a delightful horse, despite his cantankerous and opinionated nature. He’s well trained and knows his business. The old fellow seems to actually enjoy doing turns and figure eights. Stopping and standing still, not so much; and walking in circles around the ring, not at all. He’s a really good horse for someone like me to learn on, because he’s forgiving of my errors and inconsistent cues.

The other day he and I went out on the trail for a while with some other people. Midnight and I came back early so I could meet up with our trainer and his daughter and ride with them and Galahad. I was riding bareback, and as we came through the gate from the trail and headed back toward the barn complex, I decided to ride over to the trailer and put the saddle on, because that’s still easier on Midnight’s back and my butt.

No sooner had the thought crossed my mind than Midnight turned sharply left, unasked, and walked toward the trailer. I was surprised by this, and thought maybe he was planning on taking a shortcut through the other barn back to his stall. But no: He walked past the other barn and directly to the trailer, where he stood calmly for me to get off.

I’ve heard GaWaNi Ponyboy talk about horses reading their rider’s intentions, but had not experienced it before that. It was pretty amazing.

(Photo by DLK)

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