Just another fabulous day at the barn in February. For those not in the know, that means it was windy, cold, cloudy, with a chance of bolting horses. Ok, more specfically, mares. Today, all the mares were nuts. I, being the relative mare newbie, didn't read the signs very well. She was fussy when I was brushing, tap dancing merrily around as I tried to remove the crud from her legs. She was still dancing when I was standing on the mounting block. She continued to dance as I aranged my stirrups, and got settled in the saddle.
Now this isn't totally unheard of from the Gray Mare. Usually, we solve this issue by leg yeilding, lots of leg yeilding. To the wall from the quarter line, and back to the quarter line. Spiral in, out and in on a circle. Lots of me reminding her that it is really hard to race away when going sideways. Except today, she had an advantage- she was nuts, and believed that she could still run away, while sideways. I did the sensible thing, and dismounted and grabbed a longe line. Her exberance exploded out onto the line in bucks and leaps.
After a while, I thought, "jeeze, she is looking calmer, I don't want to wear her out." Probably a bad idea. Got back on, got some good work, was feeling pretty confident that our madness was behind us, and then I was unfortuntely right: the madness was right behind us- in the form of a pony, in a run, banging her head on the fence. "OMG!!! DEFCON 5!! Run!!!" was the mare's thought. Next thoughts were "Bronc, bronc, bronc, crap, not enough muscle to pull this off, sliding stop like a giraffe"
By this point I had muttered (yelled) some unkind (R-rated) words, and was sitting deep into the saddle, pushing her past the pony of terror. On the adivce of my trainer, and my better angels, we decided that 1) Gray Mare was wound up tight like a spring, and 2) she wasn't yet uncoiled after those shenanigans. Completing one good task would be enough to call it good for the day, so we made a circle next to the deathwatch pony. One tight circle lead to a slightly more relaxed circle, lead to a softer circle, and then I let her flow gently down the long side of the arena. Dropping my stirrups, I lept off, before she could find anything else to be excited about. Tack was removed, clapping sounds were made, and one very excited gray mare bolted off accross the arena, heels well above head at times.
I was not the only victim of crazy mare day. Ther were other incidents, some much more vicious than mine. I feel lucky that I stayed onboard. In that way, today turned out ok.