At the "C" end of our arena is a small, tree-lined driveway, and immediately beyond the driveway is a large orchard of baby trees. Occasionally, the farmer who owns the orchard finds it necessary to work in said orchard with various loud machines. If this were an everyday occurrence, Sydney would be long used to the noise, but it is not an everyday thing. On the rare instances when the tractor approaches, its loud grumblings and grindings even make me a bit nervous.
In the past, the noises have frightened Sydney so much that I found it easier to simply lunge, or just do turn out. As I was tacking up, he seemed to not even notice the tractor. As I mounted, he stood with his ears flopping to the side. When I saw that the tractor was heading in the opposite direction, I decided this was my chance to at least ride the perimeter of the arena for our walking warm up.
I ended up doing the entire ride without any issue from Sydney. Granted, I did keep to the bottom two-thirds of the arena, but in truth, he ignored the tractor completely. As I brought him to a final halt, my heart swelled with both love and gratitude for this horse. Just a few months ago, he was still trying to bolt, and even small noises caused his whole body to tense with fear. That's not to say that Sydney will never be tense again, and we'll see what happens at the HDEC show next weekend, but he sure has changed.
Just think how great he'll be in another year. Last year, I would have never even considered making such a statement.