"Whenever I feel afraid,
I hold my head erect,
and whistle a happy tune,
so no one will suspect
|A great Pyrenees guarding goats (borrowed from Wikipedia)|
My brave little pony has only ever been totally freaked by one thing that I know of: The neighbor's pasture full of goats and their big, barking great Pyrenees dogs. There are so many scary things about them, I think, from a horse's persective.
First, they're in a spot far away from the safety of the barn, and her pasture mates. We are way up on the hill, in a deep field, surrounded by woods, when they make an appearance.
|Thanks for being underfoot, Webbly.|
Third, there are a lot of them, and they move both as one and then scatter, so they are probably hard to identify for a horse.
Then, finally, and worst, come the huge, white dogs that run toward the fence and start barking their booming barks.
The first time she saw them, a couple years ago, Starlight reared. She had never done it before or since under saddle, but she just didn't know what to do with her fear, and up she went. Luckily, it didn't unseat me or tip us over, and we moved past it, but she was always afraid of that place, where those creature might appear.
Tonight, they did. They appeared in the distance as a big, scurrying wave of white. Starlight's head got higher as we approached that part of the field, and she became more and more tense. Yet, as she tried to focus on the goats, I could tell she wasn't quite as worried this year, and I bet I can thank our sheep for that. She lives with little critters like those goats now, so this large herd, maybe, wasn't quite as scary.
I asked her to stop and relax and she did try to listen. She didn't seem so set on fleeing as she had the last time, and she certainly was not going to rear. We got back on the path and continued on. Her head was high and neck tense. She was jiggy, but she was definitely trying to listen to me and not be afraid. She seemed like she was fighting her own horse nature to be that brave pony I count on.
And to tell you the complete truth, when I sing that song, it's to help ME fake being brave, too.
"While shivering in my shoes,
I strike a careless pose
And whistle a happy tune,
And no one ever knows