For Dino and I, hacking alone around our 60 acre property is old news. I often do it bareback in a halter, and unless you count that one time we got caught in a whiteout-level blizzard, it's generally uneventful.
But you never really know how brave your pony is until a huge dog comes blasting out of the treeline barking at you as you trot by, ready to chase you the quarter mile back to the barn at top speed.
That's what interrupted our otherwise peaceful hack last weekend, and I have to say it was one of the more frightening experiences I've had with Dino.
As we trotted across the back side of the property, getting ready for a nice canter up the hill back towards the barn, a big retriever wearing a blaze-orange collar came charging out from the brush barking aggressively and clearly primed for a chase. My thought process quickly went from, "That's not a fox..." to, "Oh, shit."
Dino, badass fellow that he is, stopped in his tracks and spun around to face the dog, staring it down. The last thing I wanted to do was turn tail and run back to the barn and risk my pony being being chased or bitten. So, I did the only thing I could think of and started yelling at the dog to go home. The dog didn't back down.
But neither did Dino.
Finally, after a few seconds that seemed to stretch into hours, I waved my crop above my head and yelled some more, and the dog turned tail and took off away from our property. Dino and I walked away unscathed, but I was definitely shaken.
As scary as it was to be in a situation that felt like an imminent dog attack, I'm so proud of Dino and in awe of what a ballsy, badass, brave, pony'tudeinous partner he is. There isn't much that can rattle him, and I'm so thankful for it.