I got off work early yesterday and zipped out to the barn for a ride. Of course, Harley was caked with mud, probably trying to protect himself from those annoying little flies that showed up with the warm afternoon sun. We were finally tacked up and ready to go by 6 p.m.
As we approached the Orris Falls trail head, I saw a man let his setter out and head up the trail. I couldn't tell if the dog or the owner was emitting a weird whistle sound, but it halted Harley right in his tracks. So I called out, "Is that a training whistle", really just to get the man's attention so he'd see I was on horseback. He told me it was some device for hearing his dog's range (???), but thankfully he stopped, asking, "Is the horse afraid of dogs?" I replied, "Oh, he's used to dogs, but the whistle sound is spooking him." We got past the pair, picked up a quick trot, and got the heck out of there.
Next came the ever present, ever scary, dreaded trail junction. This time, he tried twice to veer away from the water. One smack settled that! Thankfully, he never saw the duck that flew up out of the brook on the far side of the foot bridge! That would have set us back. I think he's creating a pattern here, so next time, I might try a different approach, avoiding that intersection. I think the dog whistle set the tone for "spookiness" on the ride. He was more than happy to turn back once we reached the hilltop, back to the safety of his gang. Now, if I could just get him to think about height and width when going under low branches and between trees!
Today is a day off--40 degrees and rain. After breakfast, everyone snoozed in their stalls except Harley. He's keeping an eye on the 6 turkeys down in the pasture. I saw one ruff up his feathers for a hen, that fearsome inflatable bird! Harley is tucked away with a pile of hay in ankle deep shavings, peering out the window...just in case.