Monday, September 26, 2011

The difference between a runaway donkey and a runaway horse

Lucy and I hadn't been on the trail for five minutes on Sunday when a herd of cows crossed our path. 

Lucy: Is this parade ever going to end?

Me: I think that's the last one. Let's follow them and see where they're going.

The herd meandered over to the road, and we stayed a respectful distance behind it. There were about 10 mamas and 10 babies.
Lucy seems to enjoy following cows. Her pace becomes purposeful, as if to say "Must follow. Must see where they are going.
Perhaps there's food involved."

The cows walked, we followed, la de da de da. This went on for about a quarter mile.

Then Lucy bolted. Straight ahead. Toward the cows. Full gallop. WTF? In the span of maybe two seconds I determined a one-rein stop/
hip disengagement was no match for the galloping Lucy. My best course of action was to ride it out. I remember my hat blowing off and getting choked by the stampede strap. After maybe an eighth of a mile, Lucy turned to the right, stopped on a dime, and studied the cow behind us who was running to catch up with the herd in front of us.

Me: Oh. So that's what all the fuss was about.
Lucy: Sorry, mom. I got scared for a minute there.
Me: Not a problem.

Let's replay this scenario as if I were riding Hank or Lyle, picking up from the la de da de da.

Then Hank/Lyle bolted. Into the trees, over the fence, bucking and farting at a full gallop. My best course of action was an emergency dismount. I landed in a cactus. When last seen, Hank/Lyle was on his way to Tucumcari.
Lucy and I enjoyed the rest of our pleasant and uneventful ride.
(Had I been riding Hank or Lyle, I would have been writing this post from the ER.)

We got home, untacked, and on our way back to the barn...

Lucy: I think I deserve a couple of extra treats today, don't you?


  1. Ha! Love hearing about all your adventures!

  2. I gotta stop reading this at work, I almost busted a blood vessel trying not to spew coffee and bagel all over the company computer, when I read the "Hank/Lyle version"!!! :D

    I so want a donkey!!!

  3. It is hard for me to imagine Lucy getting scared. She seems so world weary and blase most of the time.

  4. I think she took very good care of you! If that had been a real danger, you could have just ridden that cute little gallop to safely.

    Is the chin strap really called a stampede strap, or did you just rename it? Whatever, I like that term!

  5. Poor Lucy! Silly old cows.
    I've done the runaway horse-emergency dismount-ER thing myself. Not fun.
    Glad it turned out okay for you both.

  6. I just love the length of Lucy's ears in the photo. So regal.
    Oh and glad you found out what caused the gallop. Such a reasonable girl.

  7. Animals are unpredictable that's for sure. Glad you survived unscathed. My fingers are still bent from a runaway horse. I hung onto the saddle for dear life. Once on the ground I saw my fingers splayed at 45 degrees. They didn't break. I'm amazed!
    Best always, Sandra

  8. Hmmmm, I hope you gave Miss Lucy 2 treats. Sitting in an ER rates up there with completing income tax returns!!!!

  9. There's no doubt, you can trust that mount!

  10. Cow... bicycle... samey same for Lucy and Big Red. ;) Glad you were on Lucy and not on a horse (in other words, glad you're not in the ER).

  11. Interesting comparison.
    Coulda been a mountain lion for all Lucy knew!Extra treat for saving your life!(In her opinion)
    Good Lucy.

  12. Lucy was looking out for you. No harm no foul. Yes, indeed, a cookie reward in order.

    Cows are just a little unpredictable, and big. Following them was not Lucy's idea, ahem:)

  13. Estella from Co.9/26/11, 7:18 AM

    Glad to hear things came out o.k. That coming up from behind is a hard thing to get them use to, along with dogs rushing out of the bush. Sure beats a horse runaway. It should have been a smooth gallop, was it? I never rode her at a full out gallop, only a slow lope. Glad to hear you made all safe and sound. Way to go Lucy xoxoxoox

  14. C, I'm pretty sure the official name is "stampede string" or "stampede strap," though I've also heard it called "seat belt for my hat."

  15. Do you think this is standard donkey behavior or just a standard *Lucy* behavior?

  16. Oh my. That's a little more excitement than I'd care to engage in at any time of the day. Good for you for hanging on!

  17. Great story. I cant help but be a little defensive when multiple times you write how much better are donkeys are then horses. I for one can guarantee had this situation played out with my horse, the same would have happened as did with Lucy. My horse would not have taken off farting and bucking, he would go for a few strides before seeing the cow and reassessing the situation. I love your blog, but I cant help but feel defensive with your putting down horses. Im sorry if your two would have acted this way, but please dont suggest that donkeys are more easy going than all horses. There are probably some where that rings true, but certainly not all.

  18. Do you untack on the back porch??

    Love Lucy's ramrod straight ears in the 2nd pic.

    And that is so true about the horse version. I was on one of those only once, but it was enough.

  19. Thats some good riding and thinking on the fly per say!

  20. I loved Shirley's comment - Lucy was merely protecting you from something you hadn't seen yet! :-)
    Wow, wow,wow. And like Estella, I, too, want to know what the galloping *felt* like (aside from the panic at the moment...)

  21. P.S. Really glad you're ok, LC.

  22. We are sisters of the bolt this weekend, but maybe Smokey is Lucy's cousin, cuz he just runs for a bit, then stops.

    Which, I agree, is 100% better than bucking, farting and heading for Nebraska (which is where I presume they are headed). I had that horse before. No fun. >:(

  23. Similar on a mule. I always called it "Gettin' outa' Dodge"!

  24. Never owned a horse that would run away, they just leaped to one side or the other, depending on their personal preference. But I always rode Tennessee Walkers. My favorite was a mare named Big Ears that I rode for 20 years. Maybe she was wise because her ears were long? I did have someone else's Thoroughbred run away with me once. I jumped off into a pile of poop and shavings and just got a few bruises. That was when I was young. These days I'd probably have a heart attack and be dead before I hit the ground. Glad you survived your thrilling ride.

  25. I agree with June, it's hard to imagine her scared! I think she had a good reason to be surprised, I would be surprised if I had a cow running behind me, too!