Protocol Will Be Respected

Riding Journal

Awareness of the outside world. Vaccine today! Report Sunday.

Procedural error.

Previous horse was rigid about his trailer protocol. He came off. He had a bite of hay. He had a nap. Then and only then was one allowed to commence.

Knowing this, I have worked fairly hard to NOT establish this sort of precedent with the current occupants of the barn. As a result, we can unload and leave them to eat hay, or get right to work.


Habits get established when one isn’t looking.

At home, we tack up and get on. Easy enough. Home isn’t a weird place that needs to be examined.

At Stepping Stone Farm, we tack up and get on. However, one of the main reasons for going to SSF is using the round pen for liberty work. So, when I tack up, Rodney has already run about for a while. [Recap]

Last weekend, we arrived at Full Circle Horse Park. We brushed. We tacked up. I got on.


Milton was having a lunge warm up. I figured Rodney could stand and watch. Statue is one of his go-to moves.

He would not stand still. He wasn’t bad. He’d listen. He’d halt. But he couldn’t stick the landing. He had ants in his pants. Making him stand would have involved constant nagging.

I got off.

I had forgotten that at FCHP, I have been taking him down to the dressage arena to walk through the test once on foot. This gives him a chance to look at that and that and that over there. He doesn’t need lunging to warm up his muscles. He needs time to let his brain settle. Standing around or walking in-hand serves the purpose. Easier to do that without a rider, at least, easier on the rider.

I got off. We went down to the arena. We walked the test. I got on. His statue gear was back in place.

My bad.

Stay safe. Stay sane.

6 thoughts on “Protocol Will Be Respected

  1. My grandfather was a genuine circus man—not a performer, but an advance man who set up venues, feed, and promotion in the early 20th century for Bailey and later Ringling Bros And Barnum & Bailey. My dad was brough up around the circus and his favorite stories were about the big cat acts. (The best trainer never performed because he made it look too easy.) Once they had a routine, the cats would go through it automatically so long as nothing went wrong to interrupt their routine. If, for example, a stand fell over, the performer needs to get it back into position asap, because the big cats do not like a shift in their routine. I have actually seen this happen, and while most non-circus people around me didn’t notice (the performer was deliberately calm, but very very fast), the tension in the cats was obvious to me.

    So long as everything was the same every time, everyone was safe. Every day the same. On days when there was no public performance, the cats had to be taken through their routine regardless.

  2. Remember Gunther Gebel-Williams? I saw a big cat act with his son in center ring. GGW was on the outside of the ring, in the dark. Every single cat knew exactly where the boss was.

    “the performer was deliberately calm, but very very fast” I feel that.

    1. Yes! I saw him with my dad. My dad said his costume revealed so much flesh because it showed he had no scars. He was bare armed and chested, and the circus loved their flash under lights.

      My dad watched a trainer working a mother leopard with her cubs in the cage—he made it look easy, but it was the most dangerous thing my dad said he’d ever witnessed as a child. He once came home from school and found a young tiger in the living room!

  3. I remember his costume. I thought he was just showing off, which I guess he was. I met a baby, big cat once. Adorable. Hard to remember it would grow up and have me for dinner. It was a a tiger sanctuary I tried to volunteer at.

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