I read an interesting article the other day about equine meltdowns that made a lot of sense to me. When horses spook or otherwise have a stress attack, it is often the culmination of many smaller inputs. Let's call a horses comfort level 50%, with nervous kicking in at 75% and total meltdown when the 100% line is crossed. The math varies depending on the horse and rider. Inputs can be positive (feeling GOOOOD) as well as negative.
25% - confused about job
25% - saddle is uncomfortable
25% - rider is strong with hands
25% - it's feeding time
25% - something changed position around the arena (a chair, a jump, a tractor)
Total: 125% = big spook at strange thing in/near the arena
Friday morning, Lucy gave me her own example. Each of the situations, alone, would be fine. All together -- not so much.
25% - early morning, cool weather, feeling peppy
25% - did some canter work, Lucy wants to do more, not happy with just trotting
25% - a truck is coming down the gravel/dirt road next to the arena
25% - Mufasa leaves the arena to walk around under the (man-eating) trees
25% - the truck is towing a boat and the trailer is bumping and rattling down the road
Total = Two HUGE bucks.
Fortunately, I was sitting deep and balanced so I didn't loose my seat. Lucy did her bucking and stopped. I tried to find the bucking strap while she was bucking but it was buried in her mane. I thought of Sandy's nickname for the bucking strap. She was on a horse that started bucking and realized that there was no strap. She yelled to friend/client/owner/groom (not sure) "Get me a bucking strap!" -- and the person heard "Get me a f*cking strap." So, as Lucy was bucking, I was thinking "Where's the f*cking strap!"
The truck and boat continued on their way; Brett came back into the arena with Mufasa; and Lucy and did some lovely trot work before calling it a morning.