What is going on inside that pretty head of yours?

Horse Work: AM heat therapy, “extended” walk in company/PM short liberty session.

Evaluation: On our group walk, Greg led Mathilda, I led Rodney. At her time of life, Mathilda doesn’t do anything without a steady stream of carrots. Rodney spent most of the walk mooching his share. I don’t think he noticed how far we were from the barn. Still, he did it & he didn’t get tense whatever the reason, so I’m putting it in the plus column. Our liberty work consists of walking back and forth between us getting carrots. You may be sensing a trend. Today he had to walk over a log. No carrot if he walked around. This is actually a complicated conditional statement, so another in the plus column.

Rider Work: Bike. Attack germs in the water or in the underbrush on Monday left us with nasty, itchy rashes on our forearms and bouts of lethargy from Thursday to Saturday. I mention it both as an excuse for lack of exercise and because it seems odd to have so much of a reaction from so small an affected area.
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When Rodney flings his head up while harkening to external noises or internal voices, I worry about ever taking him off the property. Thanks to my wonderful, hard-working husband, our pasture has a superb fence encircling it. Since our ring is in the pasture, he – the horse not the hubby – is always enclosed. He’s as safe as a cavorting horse is likely to get. I worry that the smallest hint of indocility at a lesson or a show will result in the horse galloping madly down the highway.

The irony of this particular worry is that Previous Horse was a complete fruitcake at shows. At the very least, he would scream and rear like the wild stallion he wasn’t. At one show, he was unable to deal with the cows in the next field. We tried a chain over his nose. No response. Chain under his lip. Ditto. We finally controlled him with a chain thru his mouth, mostly as it gave him something to frantically chew on. At his last show, at the mature age of 24, he managed to get all four feet off the ground, at the same time, while tied to the trailer. It never bothered me. That was just Caesar.

The difference was that I had Caesar’s number. I couldn’t always get him to cooperate, but I could always tell what was going on between his ears. In my first post with Rodney, I thought I had his number. I cited the ability to ignore a fit as the #1 of my Top Ten Reasons You Know You Found the Right Horse, “When he pitches a widget that would incite panic from a different horse, you laugh and tell him to get over himself.” Either I was mistaken at the time or I have lost that understanding since. Can a connection once lost ever be retrieved? It seems hopeless, but then I have been know to wallow in the occasional pit of despair.

Does your horse act up at shows?

Categories: Barn Life, Groundwork, Horse Behavior, Horse Shows, Horses

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