Wednesday, Brett spent hours working on the dressage court. He pulled sand away from the bottom of the court, where it had piled up, and tried to level things out with the tractor. After three hours of work, the sand was nice and fluffy and the gorges were gone. It wasn't perfectly even; it will take more time and work to get it perfect, but it was very inviting nonetheless. When I got home from work, I got Lucy ready to go and headed up to the court.
Meanwhile, a neighbor was blasting his radio so loudly that we could hear every word of the soap opera he was playing. It was disruptive and annoying and I was happy to be walking toward the other end of our property. Did I mention that it was early evening? Feeding time. ...the time of day that parents with small children refer to as the "witching hour." Everyone is grumpy, and tired, and hungry. Its prime time for drama.
Lucy doesn't like the dressage court. She's a funny horse. Unlike our other horses who love wide, open spaces, she prefers defined boundaries. She loves her stall and is very relaxed working in a small arena. In the dressage court, she is more often than not, on edge. And that was the case Wednesday evening. Her head was high as she trotted around me and she wasn't stretching at all.
A gunshot rang out. Lucy bucked and bolted forward. Fortunately for me, she never pulls on the lunge line. Another shot. And another. And another. I stopped counting. Our gun crazy neighbor must have been engaged in target practice. It finally got quiet, but I had a wild-eyed mare careening around me so fast that I was getting dizzy, turning in the middle to keep up. I stayed calm and projected an air of "no worries" and she eventually settled. At that point, my goal became getting a relaxed and stretching trot. That's it.
When we stopped, Lucy was wet with sweat and her chin was covered in lather and spit. But, she had relaxed. As I leaned against her shoulder and reached under to unclip the Pessoa, the gunshots started up again. Lucy jumped and quivered -- but she didn't buck or bolt. She spooked in place.
One of the things I love about Lucy is that she takes care of me. Even if she is on edge, she doesn't explode if I am on her back -- or, in this case, leaning under her belly. She really is an awesome mare.