Who spooked first? The horse or the rider? It’s a question that has always baffled equestrians. Well, okay, maybe just me. That’s why I had to put it to the test.

Testing 1-2-3, testing…

The conditions had to be perfect if this was going to work. I looked around and took stock of my environment. A nice clear day. Not too warm. Good. Two horses, two riders and an instructor hanging at the far end of the ring. Good. A control subject. Bwaahaha! And now for the pièce de la résistance! Activity at the neighbor’s house. Lots of activity. I’m talking roofers and landscapers! Perfect.

I proceeded to warm up with walk/trot transitions around the ring. A few halts were thrown in for good measure. After all, I wanted to make sure that the horse was listening to me. Good so far. Then off to my right there arose such a clatter! Uh-huh, er, I mean perfect. I held my breath and awaited her reaction. And waited. And after what seemed to be an eternity – maybe a second – I was rewarded with a scoot and a very forward trot.

Hahahahahaha! I had caused the spook! Oh, and alarmed my instructor.
“Don’t worry! I caused the spook.” Hahahahahaha!

Conclusion

In this particular instance the rider spooked first.

P.S. Control subject did not react.

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