I approached Harley to halter him in the pasture last night, Mattes' half pad in-hand. He backed away from me, appearing terrified. ah, yes. Scary half pad, haven't seen that monster away from the trailer/arena... Got'cha.. I haltered him, and proceeded to sack him out with the pad, until he'd lower his head while I drug the pad over his face and past his ears. Took a few minutes, nothing tragic. Okay.. With the boogity scary half-pad monster conquered, let's go saddle up, and get to the arena.
I got out to the arena, and decided to try something. Again, with the show approaching, I needed to know how he'd behave without a longe. Stormy showers in the forecast, so we might be limited to cold-backed starts without a neck stretcher longe warmup. He looked puzzled when I got on right away, but moseyed on in a nice marching walk. I'm still trying to get my mind around how much walk I can expect from him. It's steady, it's forward, but it's not big. I let him go out loose rein for a bit, and he agreeably popped into trot. In a corner, again, I saw a sparkle of wrinkly-confused eyes, probably wondering what was up with the entirely loose rein trot around the rail. He stretched, reached, and settled into a relaxed trot.
What the heck was that?! Harley's head popped up, and his ears showed me the sound of gunfire came from CRNG's property. Maybe CRNG has decided to hunt at his house, and shot something. That was odd... Okay, anyways. He didn't have a wild reaction to it, so I didn't worry, thinking it was over.
Worked ourselves into a little light contact, then solid rein contact at the walk. A few walk/halt transitions, which were pretty awesome (again, knowing I hadn't done any kind of neck stretcher warmup.. this was a "cold start"). I asked him to trot, on a bit shorter rein than the walk, and he was agreeable to it.
bang! Hey, Harley, come here, sweetie. It's okay, it startled me too.. What the heck is he doing over there?!
Gunfire, again. It sounded pretty harsh, pretty strong. I started thinking... if CRNG is shooting over there, which direction could he be shooting in?
To the front, is the road.
To the right, is Mister Tim's house
To the left-rear, that's the family with kids behind my place
To the left-front, that's ... uh.... *four letter word*.. That's The ARENA!
Lovely ... Just lovely.
Back to the trot work. I rode through test pieces again, and even got a little effort in the free walk. Harley's ears were all over the arena, and when I figured he was listening for the next shot, I tried to not worry about it, a little inside leg/inside rein to keep us both focused.
He needs me to stay calm here. I know Romeo's probably up there having a hissy fit, his previous owners shooting him with a bb gun. Yay ... poor Mo.. Okay, let's get some canter work in, and pray ourselves silly CRNG doesn't let a shot go in the transition..
Trot, trot, Canter left. Harley got his lead, and the gun didn't go off. Whew. His canter work was on just a little contact after the transition. I felt just a few strides of him reaching down for the bit, and it caught me off guard. I was too busy thinking about heels down, look where we're going to even think about the bit except to keep my arms moving with his front end. Eased back to trot, and settled to walk. slip! oops,, crud! Okay Okay, I'll get new pads for my stirrups, these seem pretty wore out, and if I put any foot pressure in them with heels down, they keep slipping off my feet. Grr...
Good freaking grief! What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks is he doing over there!? Yeah, Harley, I know.... we'll be done soon. Not that going up to the house, and thus closer to his house, makes me feel any safer.. ugh!
Back to trot, followed by canter right. A few more good strides reaching into the contact, head down relaxed. Whee! Fantastic! We're getting closer to canter on contact. yay!!
Worked more on trot collected, and had some pretty fantastic back-up trot. Very nice to feel his back lift, and the light rein pressure. Very nice. Let him relax a little with walk/halts, and was trying to decide in my mind if I wanted to do canter again, or ride through intro B pieces again..
bang! Harley stopped hard, head up, and I could just barely feel him shaking.
Alright, that's it. I quit.. CRNG, you win for today.
I understand.. I live in the country.. I'm told "it's legal for him to shoot on his property". I'm not anti-gun. I am anti-stupid though. In my opinion, I don't think he has enough property to shoot safely. I don't think he has any side of the property he owns that doesn't have a house or road behind whatever he's shooting at. The only advice I was given was "call the cops, make a written record of the event. That way, if he does shoot at my house, damage my property, injure a horse, I have proof he's shot before." So, basically, I have to wait until something is damaged or injured. Just wonderful. CRNG too cheap/too stupid to get a range membership, so I have to lurk in my front yard with caution.
Harley and I tip toed up to the trailer, unsaddled, and I hosed him off pretty quickly before leading him to his stall and stuffing him with supper. Knowing he was at least behind the aluminum panels of his stall munching gave me a little comfort. Where things will end from here, I have no idea. I'm going to be nervous and anxious out in the front/side yards until I don't hear that gun going off for a while. I was entirely too angry to call the police last night, because I was pretty sure I'd lose my cool if they said, "Yeah, we can't do anything about it. That's what you get for living in the country", or any modification of the statement. I understand "it's legal", but there are houses, horses, and children too close on any side of his house. I considered going over myself and asking him what was going on, but, I know CRNG drinks... I cornered him a few years ago when he and his drunk buddies were launching golf balls at my house, one landing in the side yard directly in front of a crossrail Mo and I were approaching. He made a huge joke of it then, and I think only one of his friends took me seriously. This guy is dangerous.... and I'm not real sure what to do about him.
One more saddle day at the house before we depart for the weekend show grounds.