Today we took a wander along an off road track close to my yard, a beautiful sunny day. It was all very relaxed and chilled out until I spotted some large white plastic bags up ahead.
I saw them before Finlay did, and knew this was going to be an issue. Lord knows why there were there, sitting beside a gate. Maybe something to do with the tree planting that was taking place in the adjacent field.
I was ready for the spook, and boy does Finlay have a spook. Last year he injured himself spooking at an object lying in a verge by the road so this was in the back of my mind as we approached the bags.
Sure enough about 15 yards from the monster horse eating plastic bags he did a 180 turn. Nothing I could do to stop it. When a half ton of animal wants to run away there’s not much you can do. His eyes popping out his head, heart beating so fast i could feel the beats on my leg.
I held my hands low and firm and sat still in the saddle, quietly I held him there still facing the opposition direction. Hmmm how were we going to address the problem this time? I turned him around and took one step closer,…. Nope another 180 spin. Once more we turned to face the problem, we stood for a few minutes. His heart rate dropped but he was tightly coiled spring ready to run.
With a reassuring pat on the the neck one more step…. Nope! Once again we were facing the other direction. I sat there for a moment and thought, I was obviously not able to ride past this problem in a conventional manner. I would need to think outside the box.
So that’s what I did. Reverse psychology or just reverse! Rein back is the equine reversing manoeuvre. We reined backwards past the plastic bags successfully and carried on our beautiful walk in the sunshine.
One might say I was allowing my horse to dictate, he told me he wasn’t walking past that object and I gave in, thus making him the boss over me. Some might have dismounted and lead their horse past. But I believe I made the correct decision, I asked for rein back and as he is very good at that movement, he did as I asked, maybe forgetting momentarily about the horse eating plastic bags!
As our route was not circular we had to return past the problem, a with few snorts and a couple of side ways steps we continued on our way home. x