I swear that Freedom can read. He took that caution warning very seriously.

How do you know when you’re riding a thoroughbred? Well, first off, I think they can read. While I was traveling, a new gate and some very yellow caution tape appeared at the entrance to our trail system.

Secondly, they are very sensitive to new things. They remember exactly what the trail looked like the last time they walked down it. Freedom took one look at the tape and the gate and started to shake. He thought seriously about bolting. Can’t you see it says caution? He asked me. We need to get out of here!

Not wanting to escalate the situation, I dismounted and stood with him by the tape. The wind blew. The tape shook and rattled. Freedom snorted and jumped. Then he planted his feet.

No way
Two weeks ago he was afraid of the new cobblestones. They don’t seem so bad in comparison to the yellow tape.

We stood quietly and contemplated the new path and the rustling tape. I scratched his neck for awhile. He stretched way, way forward without moving his feet and sniffed the wood chips on the ground. After several minutes, he moved incrementally toward the path. In total, it took him about seven (long) minutes to walk through it with me in the lead. For several more minutes he jumped whenever he heard something rustle.

Coming home was better. I still had to dismount but he was content to follow me through. I love how he trusts me to be brave even when he isn’t.

Then I took out Zelda. Riding a draft cross is a completely different experience.

Zelda sees only grass
Zelda took a good look at the new gate and the glowing yellow tape. She was more interested in the grass.

Zelda looked at the new fence. She considered the caution tape. She looked long and hard at the grass growing behind the tape. She was mightily disappointed that she was not allowed to taste it. Then she walked through the gauntlet of tape onto the scary new wood chips like she had done it every day. I love this horse. She is smart. Sometimes she’s too smart, but she’s always thinking.

Coming home
Coming home was no big deal. But then again, she knew it was dinner time.

4 thoughts on “Caution!

  1. I love your description of their thought process, and how different they are.

    My Arab would think “Oh my, what’s that? So scary!” I’d say “It’s tape, it’s not scary, see.” “Oh yeah, I know, just testing you. It’s not scary.” Boy they’re silly!

  2. Hi. Love your blog. Your trail system looks stunning. Is it too forward to ask if it’s open to the public, anywhere near Dover or has any trailer parking? I loved your post about the fall. I had an incredible trail wander in northern NH recently and expected no leaves at all, but was treated to the nearly fluorescent reds of the maples. Enjoy!

  3. Thanks for reading! The trail system where I ride in Concord, Mass. That’s about 30 minutes north of Dover. There is some limited trailer parking nearby, but none right where I am. Let’s chat offline and I can tell you places where it’s possible to park and where to download maps.

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