I’m sure “Hudson-Caused PTSD” is a valid diagnosis that can be found in the DSM-5 , the go-to book for all psychiatrists. Hey. I wonder if the DSM-5 comes in a “For Dummies” version? For the psychiatrist who can’t understand Shrink-Speak either?
The wacky guy on all the “Dummies” covers is kind of the perfect promotional tool for making psychiatry accessible.
Please hold while I Google irrelevant but now imperative question. And…no DSM-5 For Dummies.
But I did find this:
Well. That’s settled.
Back to Hudson-Caused PTSD. Being a good friend, I texted Bella to let her know I accidentally broke Phil. And I had every intention of superglue-ing him back together again:
Thanks for letting me ride Phil. He was great. FYI: He’s afraid of hay now. Sorry! There’s 10 lbs of carrots in your garage if he gets hungry? Will fix. Promise.
That night I lay awake in the dark, staring at the ceiling, trying to think through some sort of Phix Phil Plan. There was one imperative, non-negotiable variable that revolved around Hudson: He can’t know anything about whatever phix I phigure out.
Plan A is an exercise in Magical Thinking. Still, it was fun to visualize before I crossed it off:
Plan A: Yell at Hudson. Make him apologize to Phil and take it back.
Nope. Don’t see this happening.
Plan B: Outsmart Hudson into taking it back.
I’m kind of into Plan B. I like to imagine I am at least as intelligent as my horse.
Tricky. Hudson obviously outsmarted me on the “Let’s Make Phil Deathly Afraid of Hay” thing.
How can I make Hudson show Phil the hay barn is horse manna? I plot. I pretend I’m Hudson. Ah-ha. Got it. Though I see a potential problem. However, it’s a problem that Hudson has brought upon himself… It wouldn’t affect Phil… This could work.
Just before the dinner cart makes its rounds, I tack up a hungry Hudson…and active the Phix Phil Plan. (Code-named, because all tricky plans need code names): Gotcha. There are three phases.
Phase One: flattery. I tack Hudson up first, spending lots of time getting ready. When he feels good and important, I ask him if he’d rather walk alone, or pony Phil.
Hudson: I believe I’d like to
boss pony Phil around today.
Jane: Whatever. I’ll get him.
Phase Two: temptation: Before getting Hudson, I opened the hay barn doors and angled an open bale of alfalfa so it was barely sticking out into the road. I also did a scariness check: nothing spooky. Bonus: there’s a trash can full of baling twine, that Hudson will believe might contain grain.
Phase Three: deceit. (You were already with me at hay-happens-to-be-in-the-road, huh?
I mount up, pick up Phil from the tie-post. We make one round of the access road, including passing the hay barn. Hudson ignores it nearly completely. His nostrils widen at the scent of alfalfa. I pointedly angle my body toward the road, away from the barn. His ears signal minor disappointment. Phil snuck past the hay barn, and is flooded with relief when it didn’t jump him. Hudson has better things to think about than Phil. Food.
On to round two.
We pass closer to the hay. I abruptly angle away, as if I’ve made a grievous riding error.
Hudson buys this. Completely. Well, geeze. He could at least FAKE astonishment at my terrible riding.
Round three. Hudson wanders through his shoulder toward the hay barn. I sigh as though giving up. He gleefully buries his head in the alfalfa.
Phil jumps out of his skin, and has to be coaxed to stay with us.
We do this several hundred more times, with Hudson drooling in anticipation, and Phil trying to find a way out of the crisis:
FINALLY, Phil takes a bite. I have an excellent grip on the reins, to keep Hudson from warning him off.
Oh. This is FOOD? CRAP! Did you hear the noise it made when I tore a bite off? It was like a rifle shot! Can food shoot? (chew chew chew) Hudson seems fine. I’m brave. I think I can handle this…
Ha. I tricked Hudson into giving the message: “Hay Barn Good. Nom nom nom.” Message received. I rode Phil – alone – past the hay barn. He wouldn’t go up to eat, but he didn’t shrink away from it either. Phew.
I text Bella: We’re good. Phil is fixed. You can ride him past the hay barn again.
Can you guess what problem I created in this trade-off of trickery?
Hudson now believes it’s perfectly acceptable to attempt to trot to the hay barn for food, with every rotation of the access road. Because I subtly encouraged his glee and ‘misbehavior’.
The next day I was able to call “one-time freebie!” to Hudson, and he accepted that answer.
I sure hope he doesn’t spend time thinking over the “free hay day”. If he figures out I tricked him, it’s cement horse shoes for me…