I ate dirt twice today. But not because I was bucked off.
Kenya reared twice. And I don't mean that she just popped up a little in the front. I'm talking Hi Ho Silver. The whole event, from first rear, to second time in the dirt, elapsed over less than 2 minutes. I got back up on her both times, although the second time took some strong encouragement from Mrs. BR. I'm not ashamed to admit that I was scared to get on her the second time. I'm 43, and have long since entered that phase of life where I am aware of my own mortality. I'm not in a rush to reach the hereafter.
Rearing is DANGEROUS. No other word describes it. While it may look cute to see a Silver rearing with Roy Rogers aboard, that was a horse and rider who were trained to do it in a safe manner. In all other instances, there is a high risk of severe injury to the horse or rider, due to the horse flipping over backwards. Riders have been killed from this.
Why did she rear? I'm not entirely sure. In both instance, she reared immediately after I applied leg pressure, the cue to move forward. This was not new to her, and had always yielded the desired result, before today.
The first time I think was out of fear, although of what I do not know. I'm inclined to think that the second time was a result of her discovery that she could get rid of me by doing so.
I cannot say that I am entirely surprised by this behavior. In the past she has show a tendency to be a bit light in the front end, rearing up at things that scare her. If this is her initial reaction to fear, what happens if I am 50 miles out in the backcountry, something scares her, she rears, and throws me onto a rock, or off a cliff?
The problem is this: once a horse develops a habit of rearing, it is difficult, if not impossible to train this out of them. That's not just my personal opinion. I talked with a professional trainer, and also with my father-in-law, who is Old School Cowboy, and has been riding and training horses for over 60 years. The consensus seems to be: This can get me seriously injured, if not killed, and there are too many good horses out there to spend time on a dangerous one.
This causes me great pain. I really like this horse, and I do not want to be one of those people who cuts and runs at the first sign of trouble. However, it would irresponsible to knowingly place myself in such danger, particularly with a family who depends on me.
I have not decided the outcome of this, yet. I did feel that my readers deserve to know that things are currently amiss. I will let you all know more, when I know more.