The last time I rode was yesterday. We trail rode at the local bridle trails which are a short 10 minute haul from us.
It was mostly a good ride. Nice weather and I was happy to be out. It was just the two of us in the quiet woods of a deserted park on a weekday.
We did have a little trouble when we came across a Mylar balloon off the side of the trail. He saw it in the distance and was genuinely afraid. It took some time, but I was able to convince him it was not going to kill us. Once able to approach it and he was able to see what it was, I got off, picked it up and carried it back to the trailer with no further protest from him.
About six months ago Tucker was diagnosed with a cataract, but it has been about a year now that I first suspected he was having trouble with his vision. The vet describes it as seeing something through a shower curtain, you can tell something is there, but you cannot make out exactly what it is. This is problematic for a prey animal. Rocks, logs and Mylar balloons used to never get a first let alone second glance. Now, sometimes, they are cause for concern. They can require as little as a side eye glance, but other times they send his head high and get a snort and every now and then, I can feel his urge to tuck, turn and get the heck out of there.
Tucker is still a solid and trustworthy mount. He’s not unsafe and he is not overly reactive. He just gets scared sometimes,he does a great job of staying mentally with me the best he can. Still…this change has been hard for me. I struggle with watching him being afraid of things that are common place and that once in his life were just part of the scenery. I try not to blame all of his spooks on the vision issues, he is still a horse after all. But, his responses are different and notable enough, that it is hard for my head not to go there.
We continue to ride. I support him through the rough moments the best I can. Staying focused and aiming to be the rider he can depend on, even when scary, blurry unidentifiable objects pop up on the side of the trail.
I hope he can trust me through this for a long time. I hope the cataract does not get larger. I hope he does not become unsafe. I hope he still enjoys to be out in spite of these moments.