My horse has a cat.
I went out to the farm to ride in the dark this evening. It was our first dark ride of the year. Pluto thought it was a little exciting and maybe a little scary. And the scare factor was heightened by the cat. He showed up when I was grooming Pluto, and that was fine. He announced himself with a meow. I petted him, and he went off to inspect some machinery. But then he started following us. I was wearing a headlamp, so I'd look back and there'd be two glowing eyes in the dark. It's a quarter mile walk to the arena (or a half? I've lost track) and he went all the way over there with us.
I thought he'd run off, but when Tara and Timber came to the arena he showed up again. And I commented on the cat, and Tara let me know that in fact Pluto was friends with the cat. They hang out. Pluto then demonstrated by nosebombing the cat, who was totally cool with it.
How did I not know that my horse had a cat?*
The non-cat portions of our ride were slightly excitable. I decided that our first dark ride of the year could all be at the walk, except for the one spook/canter.** After I noticed I had nearly all my weight on one seatbone, I spent the next fifteen minutes or so focused on keeping my weight even. Pluto totally got into it and started paying all his attention to my hipbones. For some reason we both found it a really valuable exercise. I kept the seatbones even and then expanded my chest, keeping my shoulders back. To be honest he didn't seem to care much about my upper back posture. But getting my shoulders back let me keep a lighter hand on the reins, and he kind of dug that too. So for a night where it was dark and scary and catty out, we got some good work done. He gave me a few excellent steps of leg yield.
Also, for the first and perhaps only time in his life, Pluto was the Good One tonight. Timber was being a handful. One wonders if Pluto deliberately was on good behavior after he noticed Timber acting up? There's a very good chance that the Good One will get extra cookies, so maybe.
Oh, let's see, last but not least: Pluto has figured out that he should not use his teeth AT ALL when he gets cookies. This is a welcome change. Also he was stumbling around, tripping on the mounting block today, and it didn't worry him at all. In the past he would have gone ballistic.***
*I'd have taken a picture but it was dark out.
**And that wasn't my choice. Thank goodness for full seat britches.
***As in ICBM ballistic. Lipizzans can go UP.