Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Morgan Show..........The Lonely Arena

I didn't have long to think about Legs. The groom for the Spokane horses arrived needing a pallet of baled shavings and electricity dropped. To be honest, I just didn't think about the fact that there would be no other horses in that barn.

When I went off and left Legs he was quietly munching his hay like he hadn't really thought much about the lack of horses either. Over the course of that day I didn't see much to indicate anything had changed. It wasn't until the next day when I took him out of the stall to ride him that I became aware Legs was a bit concerned about his surroundings.

According to the contract the door to the main arena was to remain locked until noon Wednesday. I had the trainer with the Spokane horses pushing to get in there and I'd given her that 12 o'clock time. I really thought she'd be ready to school at that time as hard as she was pushing to get in earlier. Also the arena was only going to be available for a few hours before the dressage arena was set up. Anyone wanting to school had to get in there in the afternoon or wait until after dressage the following day.

Despite that fact there really hadn't been many horses moving in on Wednesday morning. Knowing how people tend to move in I figured I'd have plenty of time to ride Legs before the next "wave" would arrive of those people moving in after their kids got out of school or they got off work. I tacked up my horse and headed off for the arena just a little bit after noon.

Poor Legs still had not seen nor really heard any horses on this facility. All the horses that had arrived had gone to other barns. The horse didn't seem to care until I began walking towards that big, quiet arena. The trainer who had pushed so hard to open it earlier was nowhere in sight. We were alone going into this scary building my horse had never seen before.

Just outside the building Legs planted his feet and began to shake his head. Knowing he was defying me by not going forward the horse was convinced he knew better than me. A gesture at his hindquarters was not enough to move the horse forward. The more firm I got the more insistently Legs shook his head at me. He was clearly saying, "MOM, it's NOT safe!!"

I had to smack him on the b*tt with the crop to unlock those planted hooves of his. Even at that the horse went forward reluctantly. The whole time he studied me looking for some clue I had relented so he could flee. The horse did NOT want to enter that arena.

Knowing this horse as I do, I figured he wasn't going to stand still for me to mount. Remember I don't believe in lunging so this was a very fresh horse whose resolve I was testing. The best plan of attack was to take the horse to a corner to climb aboard.

Legs didn't think much of that plan. As we got close to the corner he put on his brakes again. Even though walking to the corner, the horse's back legs went deep underneath him as he nearly sat on his b*tt trying to avoid anymore forward movement. All the while he's still shaking his head at me, 'NO! NO! NO!" with maybe a little "You can't make me!" thrown in.

Again I had to resort to the bat to get my horse moving. I finally got him into the corner but he tried to flee when I reached for the stirrup with my foot. I was beginning to think I would need someone holding my horse if I planned on getting in the saddle at all. Legs got a firm scolding and I tried again.

This time the horse flew backwards and even reared before I ever got near him with my foot. The now usual head shaking was going on as he continued his backwards escape. I had to get behind the horse and pop him with the bat to stop his retreat.

This was a new one on me. The only explanation was the horse was scared. He just does not behave like this. Still I was convinced I would ride him in this arena even if there wasn't another horse in there. Even on those rare times when Legs has not wanted to be mounted, he has always gone to work as soon as I threw my leg over him. I was counting on that happening again.
There were vendors setting up their booths on the perimeter of this arena so Legs and I were not the only ones in the building. But Legs didn't seem to care about the fact other people were around, he clearly was worried about the lack of horses.

The thought he might dump me in front of witnesses began to cross my mind. I sure hadn't brought my Arabian stallion to a morgan show to have him misbehave. The last thing I wanted was some kind of weird incident but my faith in my horse was stronger that that voice telling me to be careful about making a fool out of myself........and my horse.

To be continued...................

More on the Lonely Arena


  1. That's funny, i just finish my post abut my horse that doesn't like to be in an arena with other horses and you post about yours that doesn't like an empty one. Maybe we should get them together to have a chat! But I totally hear ya on being worried about witnesses, especially with a stud. You know what his reasons are and that it isn't the norm for him but that passerby will think, hmm crazy Arab stud throwing a fit. Tough situation.Looking foward to reading the follow up.

  2. Legs seems to be kind of timid from your posts.

  3. i was thinking how strange this is cuz so often you are alone in an arena with legs. for example, you seem to always try to be first in the ring during a show. but i guess legs knows the others are right behind him, huh?