Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Don't have a cow, man!  -Bart Simpson

Another cow.
 I think that's the same cow.
I've got to go, we've got cows.  - from Twister

So I decided to march forth and face the cows. 

I tacked up Fiona including the war bridle and headed out to see just what the situation was.  We brought Bella the Wonder Mare with us for moral support.  Bella truly is a wonder.  She's one of those horses that would stand in the middle of the apocalypse and say 'Huh.  Okay.  I can handle this.'.  She's the definition of amateur friendly, supremely laid back and affectionate.  This also made her the perfect partner for this exercise.  The Wonder Mare does not care about cows.  The Princess, on the other hand, cares very much.

We marched out to the orchard.  I really appreciate the family that owns the orchard giving riders the permission to stomp about their property.  Finding land for conditioning work is so critical, particularly at this time of year when the town forest is nearly unusable due to bugs.  In this modern age of lawsuits and watching your back, I truly appreciate the fact that they are willing to let us use their land to exercise our horses.  We are still settling in at this orchard, so it took a bit of fumbling to find an appropriate loop for the princess's conditioning sets.  I didn't see the cows and thought they had been moved to the field across the street.

Not even close.

It wasn't until I had moved from trot to canter that the enemy decided to reveal their positions.  I'm cantering Fiona along a fence line when I spot them staring at us.  Fiona immediately spots them and tosses up her head.  I'll give the girl credit, she didn't try to stop or spin.  She kept heading straight for them, but she was on super high alert.  That's what I've named those moments when she's so tense and alert that her ears practically touch.  As we got close to where the two cows were standing, they jumped into action.

The little suckers started chasing us down the f(*#*@&)(*#*@ing fence line.

Fiona was far from oblivious of the situation.  According to the girl following us on the Wonder Mare, the princess's butt dropped by about six inches as she shifted into 'omg they are chasing us and are going to kill us RUN' mode.  It did cross my mind that this was a perfect example of the engagement we would need as we moved up the dressage levels . . .

I have never, ever been so glad that I bitted up in my life.  Ho-ly crap.  My mare was having none of this being chased by bovines idea.  She was manageable, clearly since I am here to tell the tale, but she was NOT happy.  After we left the young cattle behind, she had a moment of snorting and shaking her head while bouncing a bit at the canter.  At least she knows how to shake off the tension and move on with her life.

The Wonder Mare just followed along behind us, trying to figure out just what Fiona's issue was.  I love that mare.

Being who I am, I circled around for another lap.  Fortunately, the cows were already at the corner of their pasture so there was not repeat of the chasing incident.  On the third lap, they had decided we were boring and had wandered off to go graze.

I consider this a successful run.  I didn't die, that's always successful.  I'll try to get her out there to see the cows again this week.  Again, more balls than brains.  But I'm happy that way.

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