Posted by: Realist | December 6, 2008

Montana Tricked Me = Loose Horse!

I’m usually pretty good about always having some sort of rope on my horses to prevent him from running off. Sometimes the horses lull me into a sense of security because they’re well behaved, but even then, I usually won’t give in to laziness.

The other day we got back from a trail ride and Elizabeth put Cedar away in the front field. I continued to work Montana in the ring and brought him back up to the garage when finished so I could untack. He was still in his bridle with the reins looped over his neck, and I briefly for 1/2 of a second needed both hands to open up my jacket pocket. Instead of keeping the reins looped over my elbow so I could have both hands free, I let go of them because Montana was standing there so nicely. (Normally if Cedar is there, Montana won’t go anywhere anyway, but that’s no excuse.)

Montana immediately realized he was loose and ran off in an instant, reins still around his neck, saddle still on his back, bucking and running all the way to Cedar. (Montana’s quite buddy sour.) I had visions of him stepping on his reins and ripping his bridle or injuring his mouth from the bit. Aargh! I knew better, I really did, and I thought about this as I let go of the reins, and darned if what I thought might happen actually did.

He tricked me, because normally when I’m holding the lead rope or reigns is he so good. I mean, I think his eyes were even half closed, but the half open part was watching for an opening!

When working with Cedar, it’s really easy to get lulled into a sense of security. Once Elizabeth asked me to move him from one paddock to the other when I got home from work. It was late, I was tired, so I walked over in my dress shoes and laptop bag over my shoulder. I didn’t even have a lead rope. (Normally I’m the King of safety and have a lead rope, steel-toed boots, knife, and gloves before I even go near the horses.) So I opened the first gate and let Cedar out. He politely and slowly walked over to the second gate and waited for me to open it. After I caught up with him and opened it, he politely and slowly walked over to the sacrifice lot entrance and again waited for me. After I opened that one, he walked in. What a good boy! But bad me for not following good handling practices.

Oh well, what happened with Montana was a good lesson, and once again I’m reminded that a horse is always looking to take advantage of you. Fortunately no one was hurt and he didn’t run out into the road. (The same lesson can be applied to gates, doors, and feed bins left open, even for a brief second.)



  1. It sounds like this horse Cedar is the most amazing horse, since you are always blogging about how good he is and doesn’t spook at anything…if Montana was as good as Cedar you’d have nothing to blog about!

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