I rode Zelador out back the other day. Marcus, the Dutch Warmblood yearling, was in the adjoining paddock and he was very curious about this grey horse I was riding. Marcus kept as close as the north-south fence would allow as we travelled down the 100m chute. (Over a decade ago when we created the chute I made certain it was really wide, probably 15 metres, so that horses in the paddock couldnâ€™t get too close to the rider.) Once Zelador and I were â€śout backâ€ť Marcus danced, bucked and galloped along the east-west fenceline, then turned south, flew up the hill and out of sight. He was rejoining his paddock-mate, Kye.
That did Zelador in. He lost his mind! He bolted towards the fence, in a split second he realized the only way to find Marcus was to retrace his own path. Zelador turned left. He bucked and did not listen AT ALL to my aids which were attempting to circle him. I yelled at him to WHOA and contemplated the softest landing spot. None leapt to sight. I kept giving aids and verbally instructing him. To my GREAT relief he stopped and listened. Then, I felt a huge â€śwaveâ€ť of thought come from him. He was horrified. It sunk in that he could have hurt me and he was mentally distressed. We calmly headed towards the opening of the chute. As he took those first steps into it he offered the piaffe. He figured, â€śShe always LOVES it when I piaffe. Maybe sheâ€™ll forgive me…â€ť
I acknowledged that the piaffe was an acceptable gait and we slowly inched our way up the chute.
Later that day I brought the horses in and saddled up Zelador…again. We retraced our steps. Zelador was on the look-out for Marcus. I explained to him that Marcus and Kye and all of the other horses were in the barns. Zelador didnâ€™t put a foot wrong.