We fear monsters under the bed, but our horses find them in much more creative places.
Ahhh, Fall. The leaves are changing, it’s time for leggings and hoodies, scarves and pumpkin spice lattes and…the infamous plastic bag? You heard it right! “Spooky season” has nearly arrived. As you get snuggled up ready to watch “Hocus Pocus” (for the 30th time), your dearly beloved equines are telling each other tales about the monster under the liver pool and the boogie-man in the corner of the indoor.
So I ask, as October begins, is it time for fall or fall(ing off my horse)? You be the judge.
Here are some of the MANY monsters your horse might see this spooky season…
The Monster Under the Jump
Maya Lovdal’s mount being sure to jump well above any monsters. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography, provided courtesy of Maya Lovdal.
As kids, we all feared the monster under our bed. At what point do horses outgrow this fear? Perhaps, as your parents did, you must check under each jump before your ride, so you can assure your 1,200-pound partner that you, the human, has slain all ghoulies in order for a peaceful October ride.
The Monster in the Flower Boxes
Daphne Sevde demonstrating the “peek and jump (maybe)” technique at a George Morris clinic. Photo courtesy of Daphne Sevde.
Everybody, including our four-legged friends, knows that ghosts hide to catch the unsuspecting. No hiding spots are off-limits, not even flower boxes. The wiser horses tell the greenies cautionary tales of the apparently harmless flower boxes, and they warn to get a close look at those boxes before take-off. You can’t be too careful!
“Mom! Did you see that?” Photo courtesy of Nicole Fuentes
But the flower boxes aren’t the only place that the ghoulies hide. They can be ANYWHERE! This fear often brings out the best — or worst — in our horses. We all know those horses who jump at the roof creaking or a branch snap, the ones who pretend to be brave, but need comfort from their humans when they think they hear something. Even though your other half is the one with four legs and 1,200 pounds of muscle, be sure you have your big girl (or boy) helmet on to address those fall-time fears head-on (or hopefully not).
The Monsters that Hide in the Shadows
Sarah Thompson Shuping and her trusty steed fleeing the fall “spookies”. Photo courtesy of Sarah Thompson Shuping.
The trick with monsters is that they can be anywhere, which can make for an exciting ride. Like their human counterparts, some horses are braver than others. And sometimes when you get spooked, you just gotta bring your human with you on the flight from danger. I believe a horse at full-terrified bolting may actually be able to out-fly that ghost that hides in the darkest corner of your arena.
Let these reminders help you prepare for fall-time success with your equine buddy so the only “spooky” things happening this season are the costumes you see for Halloween!