Yesterday I got a few hours off work and decided to take my mare, Thea, for a trail ride. It’s monsoon season here in western New Mexico, and I could see a large storm brewing behind the house as I tacked up. I figured if I moved at a good pace the first couple of miles, we could beat the storm. I tied my brand new yellow rain slicker on behind the saddle just in case.
We headed out toward a beautiful trail through the mountains. We were moving quite quickly at a brisk trot or canter until I asked Thea to walk down a steep hill. As we where headed down, I felt something touch my leg. I looked down to find my rain slicker had become untied and was flapping around behind us. I tied it back up and at first, thought nothing of it.
After we had cleared another couple miles of trail, I started thinking about the rain slicker coming undone. Thea had not jumped, bolted, or even looked back to see what the strange thing was flapping behind her. I thought about how lucky I was that she didn’t spook. We could have both been injured going down that steep hill if she had.
I concluded that her relaxed behavior about the situation most likely came from the hours of despooking I had done with her. My lessons with her usually included a tarp and plastic bag. It took a long time, but I was able to teach my nervous mare that as long as she was with me, she would not be hurt. This trust has enabled her and I to have many safe and relaxing trail rides, and a great relationship.
I encourage all riders and horse owners to spend time on despooking. Not only will it improve your relationship, it will also make your rides much safer. Have fun and ride safe this fall!
Thanks For Reading-Happy Trails!