Estes is also a handful under saddle. Being a Morgan, she’s very forward motion oriented. And she’s quick. Truth be told, I was terrified of her and didn’t want to ride her. Once I was forced to ride her I learned two things very quickly: first, master the running mount or she’ll leave you behind; second, stay out of her mouth! She does not respond to mouth pressure well at all, which is what got her original wrangler in trouble.
As Estes and I got to know each other, besides falling absolutely, completely, unconditionally in love with her, I learned that she LOVED to stop traffic. There’s not a car, truck, or motorcycle that failed to stop for Estes when we were assigned traffic duty.
It didn’t matter which livery we were working with, there was always at least one road that the dude string needed to cross and Estes thrived at stopping traffic. All I would have to do was point her at a car and she did an excellent puffer fish imitation. I could feel her grow from 14.2 hands to 14.2 feet. There was not a car that was going to get past her. We’d step out into traffic and face the on-coming car. If the car didn’t begin to slow down, we’d play chicken with it. I’d put a little heel to her and hold up my right hand in the universal “stop” gesture as we would bear down on the car.
Usually, by that time the driver would be slowing to a stop. If the driver wasn’t slowing down enough, I’d pull Estes to a stop and plant her right in the driver’s way. She had an attitude about her that just said, “Try it, Buster!” I found out later that she would pull back her lips and snarl at the car.
If, even after her snarling and planting herself in the middle of the road, she didn’t bring the car to a complete stop, I’d inch her forward a touch and give a little tug on the reins. She’d go into her half-rearing War Horse prance, letting the car know that she wouldn’t think twice about planting those cute little double-ought front hooves of hers right smack-dab in the middle of their hood.
Worked like a charm.