Last year, the only way I could get Cowboy through this tunnel was to back him up until he was partially in, then turn him around and ride the rest of the way through. Tricky! We all had a good laugh about that one. But you do what you have to do, and then reward them on the other side.
As we've all been talking about lately on this blog, fear is a good thing. It shows a smart horse. But elevated anxiety in our horses can also be dangerous for us as riders. That said, we decided to spend some time going back and forth through the scary tunnel in various ways. We let the ones who were nervous (which were all but one) follow, and then, as they became more comfortable, take the lead, as we passed through back and forth as many times as it took to get them all to OK.
That's what you want in trail buddies, because it's what makes the adventure enjoyable for horses and riders and keeps everyone in the group safe.
Many years ago now, I made a bunch of horse friends online and we all met up and became flesh and blood friends. Our friendship revolves around our shared love of horses. We have the same philosophy, even if we get to it different ways. Mostly, we have support for each other as horsewomen.
I wouldn't go through the scary tunnels without this group, so I'm not much different than Cowboy. Call me "Smart", because "graffiti, the smell of urine...and darkness" really do point to danger when riding alone.
We're buddies and our horses are buddies, and we all rely on each other to get through the scary places.
Who are your riding buddies? What scary tunnels have they helped you pass through?