Here's a lovely mule and her rider that were one of the first teams in, riding the 25-miler. (This long-eared photo gratuitously included for Carson of the 7msn.)
Kate and Maddie had been standing very nicely at the trailer for a couple of hours.
That's when the problems started.
I had pulled off my stirrup leathers when I put the saddle up for the winter, and I could NOT get them back over the stirrup bars! Oh well, I can do Kate stirrup-less, as long as I figure out how to get on.
But Maddie had other thoughts: It occurred to me the previous night, and I let Aarene know, that I have been the only one to ever ride Maddie. (Her one occasion of doing some ground work with another trainer was not a happy one, either.) Maddie did a little bridling evasion with her head, but Aarene is an excellent horsewoman, and gently worked her through it. Then she went to mount.
Aarene is terribly fit, and used to mounting her "Gigantor" 15.3h Standardbred mare, Fiddle, so I assumed she would do okay from the ground.
My mistake. Aarene might do fine, but Maddie wanted no part of it. I don't think it was so much "buck" as "duck and run." After a couple of valiant tries, Aarene decided discretion was the better part of valor, and we decided to trade horses.
Maddie was too worked up at this point for our usual mounting strategy of standing next to the wheel well of the trailer, so I dug out my little Rubbermaid step stool. With it I could just follow along with Maddie's wiggles until she stood still. Then some upping and downing at her side.
Now to get Aarene on the stirrup-less Kate. She moved half-way cooperatively up to the trailer, Aarene slipped into the saddle, and we were good to go.
Unfortunately, Maddie was not quite done with her naughty shenanigans. When we returned to the trailer to dismount, just as I got to the same spot as Aarene's mounting issues, with my right leg finished coming over her back, and me just getting ready to slide down, Maddie did another frantic leap away from me, and I ended up on the ground, but not on my feet! She had done a mild version of this behavior two weeks ago on a club ride, but I had chalked it up at the time as a one-time distraction.
This is new behavior! Or maybe not--thinking about it later, this was strangely reminiscent of a day early in her training, when she got pretty wild-eyed at my weighting her stirrups (I hadn't been on her yet).I began to wonder if there was some kind of back issue, but it just so happened that on our way home, we had a planned stop for Maddie's very first chiropractic visit. The chiro did not find anything that far "out," and did only some minor adjustments.
Now, it seems we have a training issue for the coming weeks.