2/6/17 Today was a strange day. I usually work a 12 hour shift on Mondays, but I ended up getting a 3 hour lunch break, so I decided that today was the day to test my luck and take Coco Chanel on our very first trail ride together.
Okay. This may seem like a fine thing to do, but if you know Coco, you will know I was in grave danger just by thinking such a thought. There’s a couple things you need to know here.
Thing 1) Coco is crazy. We don’t call her Coco Loco for nothin’! For Coco, anything goes. (Ie. Running backwards, rearing, striking at butterflies… you name it.)
Thing 2) Coco is herd-sour. Getting her to leave her friends AND behave is no small feat.
And Thing 3) Coco thinks she’s funny. So if she knows she’s upsetting you or has you on edge in any way, this will only act as further motivation for her, and she will not stop until she wins her game. She plays all sorts of games with her humans- except the problem is, none of the humans know any of the rules.
Okay, now we combine all these things, and we have the mathematical formula for chaos. So I’m having all sorts of thoughts of how she could try to kill me as I stuff her into the horse trailer and drive off. I text Ingrid and Christian to let them know that if they never hear from me again, it’s because I’m dead. And also, Coco is on the loose and someone should really try to capture her. (The world is not yet prepared for Coco unleashed.)
Upon unloading, Coco starts to scream for her friends. Great. I ignore her. Tie it, brush it, tack it. Since I didn’t know how naughty she would be crossing the highway, I led her across it and up onto the trail a little ways.
I go to get on her, braced for anything. I swing my leg over, and she promptly turns her head and begs for a cookie. No shinanigans. (“Yet,” I remind myself.) I gave her the cookie she wanted as a “please be good” bribe and off we went.
I had taken her out to The Bus, which is a popular destination for joggers, bikers, and dog walkers. I did this for two reasons. One, I figured the snow would be fairly trampled and hopefully not too terribly deep for mid-Wyoming-winter and two, I figured the more people around the better, in case Coco did indeed try to kill me. Why not up my chances of getting CPR when I’m knocked out cold, or if I get dumped in the middle of a cactus, surely someone would come by shortly to help with ass-cactus removal.
What I hadn’t planned, was that since it had warmed up so much that day, everything was a severe muddy mess. We mud-skied down most of the trail, or where the snow was drifted, we punched through 2′ of slush. At one point I had to hand walk her, because the trail had become an actual stream mixed with red clay silt. That was special.
So this whole time, I’m thinking Coco is crazy and waiting for her to try to kill me. Meanwhile, Coco is dealing with one type of shitty footing to the next, and thinking that I surely must be crazy. No good human in her right mind would take their precious event horse on an expedition like this.
The thing about Coco is that she is one sturdy beast. I don’t make a habit of riding my horses in slick or muddy footing, but sometimes you just gotta man up. I like to think that we are preparing for the next event that we have to go xc in a downpour. Coco and I will be well versed in sub-par footing and jump around clean. Or something.
Before I knew it, we had skied the whole loop and made it back to the trailer alive. I think Coco was so bewildered by the footing that she forgot to be bad. She’s also pretty fat right now, so the extra 100 pounds was probably a bit of a task to pack up all the hills.
Sorry to disappoint you. It would make a better story if something more death defying had happened. Do not, however, think for one minute that I am fooled, nor should you be. I know she’s up to something. She’s trying to trick me into thinking she’s become sane. (Like THAT would ever happen.) She wants me to get my guard down so that she can kill me when I least expect it.
I’m counting this ride as a win. I’m not, however, going to go out on a trail ride next time with the illusion that all will be fine. As my mother says, “Fine is a 4 letter F word.” Fine gets you killed.
So there you have it! The current score: Shallary-1, Coco-0.