I owe a session with Jen and Harley (simple lead changes and softer transitions) 2-25, as well as rides on 2-24 and Mo 2-26. I'll have plenty of time to back track, and you'll see why here..
After riding Harley Friday and Saturday, and the length of Saturday, I assumed Sunday he'd be as level-headed as always, and hopped on him cold. His free walk was nice, his light-contact trot was relaxed, and nice. I picked up canter-right on light-contact, rode the middle circle, and headed down the long side.
We approached the treeline, *BANG*! Harley shot forward with the gunfire, made the two short side corners, and started a few small bucks. I couldn't stick with him. I rode the gallop-off, and was preparing to turn him in a smaller circle to slow him down, and the bucks unseated me.
Splat. Left hip and the back of my helmet. #$*&%^%@ #$*&%^, I shouted two expletives as I watched Harley run to the other side of the arena. Two more shots, but away from us rather than towards us like the first shot. *BANG* Another shot towards us. Harley's head popped up and over towards the neighbors behind the arena. I stood, shook the dirt off (and shook it out of my breeches), and walked that way.
As I approached the clearing, I saw a young boy, pointing the gun at me. He lowered the front of the rifle, noticed me, and then lowered it completely. The young child (an older boy with him) pointed the weapon randomly at the sky in two more places, then the children backed where they thought they were out of sight. I stood there a bit more, then walked away back to H.
I mounted, and proceeded at the walk. I walked him until he started to relax. The boys were walking around the clearnings, gun in hand, watching me the whole time. I rode H in the middle circle at walk, trot, and canter, both directions. He stayed pretty calm, but ears on the neighbors the whole time.
The young boy approached on a 4 wheeler, zipping by the arena. He circled around the wooded lot behind the arena short side, then came back to the older boy. I gave up, and walked H back to the house.
At the trailer, I had him undressed and ready to reward with a cookie (for the good after the spook), and the boys approached both on 4 wheelers down the dirt road. I watched them through the tack compartment window of the trailer. They zipped around the corner, fish-tailing and kicking up dust. Both looked behind back at H after their antics. I realized then their whole goal at this point was in fact to spook the horse.
I took Harley back to his paddock, and closed him in the paddock, afraid they'd go home and accidentally shoot him. R came over, and after a discussion, I called the county sheriff, who came to visit. I walked him through what happened. He found the children, and their grandfather, and explained they're not allowed to shoot in the direction of my property. The sheriff reported "the boys say they're sorry, and they will be more careful in the future."
Grandpa later zoomed up to my house on his 4 wheeler, glaring at us all (by now, Jen and her DH were there, trimming hooves). He made a fish tailed u-turn in front of my driveway, and took off back towards his house, glaring at us the entire time. This repeated two more times, and then Grandma appeared in her small SUV, and followed him back to their house. The boys appeared a while later on their 4 wheelers, smiling and laughing as they drove back home.
In some serious pain yesterday, I also noticed some tingling in my feet and lower legs. I visited the dr, had x-rays done. Outcome? No broken bones, just bruising and muscle sprains. Treatment includes tylenol, rest, and heat. He also suggested physical therapy if the pain remains, but I'll circumvent that by scheduling some chiropractic and massage later this week.
A scary afternoon, and stressful evening. My rides are postponed now until sitting and walking are pain-free. Entirely frustrating, as it was caused by children using guns inappropriately.