Today was a wonderful day spent with Cindy- she's a fellow horse person and just a great girl to hang out with. We had a lovely day visiting a tack shop (bought recently by two other friends), lunch out (I have a new love- it's called Peanut Butter Cheesecake!), a run to a used tack sale and ending with visits with friends and seeing their barns/horses. I love days spent with people that you can talk about horses and they never get that far-away tolerant look of non-horsey friends and family.
In one conversation a friend was telling me about how her horses became freaked out by an umbrella. Umbrellas are pretty spooky for horses. I remember early in our show career Irish and I trotted down center line at a schooling show and did a perfect halt at X. At that moment the large patio umbrella providing shade flew up in the air with a gust of wind about 3 feet to land upside down in bushes. it stayed there by "M" fluttering for the rest of our test. All Irish did was shuffle two steps sideways. I couldn't believe that the judge had to nerve to knock us down for 'not staying square at X'.
So tonight when I was giving Irish a nice groom I decided that I should see how Steele reacts to umbrellas. I went out to the car and brought it back in. Irish was wary in his stall but Steele was all "what is it? can I see it? bring it here"
I brought it closer nice and slow keeping it low.
His eyes were big but not with fear but interest.
I raised it up
He sniffed it. And then tried to eat it.
I opened and closed it, like a manic Mary Poppins. His eyes got bigger with excitement "ohhh, cool. Look Irish, it moves! Let me try, Let me try!'
I put it down and brought Steele out to groom. Once we were done grooming I put on my gloves and snapped a lead line on him. We walked up to the umbrella. I picked it up. Steele was still trying to take it from me. I put it up over his head. "hey! what happened to the lights? oh it's up there. Let me sniff. Yup, still the same. Let me put it over your head.'
I moved it down his body both sides.
I put it on his haunches and moved it up his body. He tried to steal Irish's hay.
So I put him in his stall and did one last thing. I walked up and down the aisle way letting it bob and swing. Irish was quite impressed with my performance and made sure I could see how 'brave' he was. Steele, however was eating hay.