Why Rodney Will Never Be An Outstanding Obstacle Horse

Horsekeeping

Lucky enough to have a horse.

 
We figured out why Rodney doesn’t like to be touched on the side. Well, my genius in-house diagnostician figured it out. I agree with him.

Years ago, long before he came to us, Rodney was gouged in the side by a doorlatch. The resulting scar is gnarly-looking, but there are no lumps, no adhesions, no stiffness, nada. The incident left no lingering physical effects, as far I can determine. [Remnant of Rodney’s Past]

Flash forward to our attempt to get Rodney to walk through pool noodles. He doesn’t like it. Oh well. He’s brave about some things, spooky about others. I file this under obstacles to work on and don’t think more about it. It’s normal to have reservations about walking through a press. That’s why it is on an Obstacle Challenge course. [ It Touched Me!, In The Ring]

Then, a while back, we stood Rodney between the shafts of the cart, as we have been doing with Milton [Holiday Rides]. Rodney will never be a driving horse. He would not tolerate all of the straps involved. I figured he’d be okay with this exercise as he would not be bound in any way. No reason to feel claustrophobic. If he started to get upset, I’d simply walk him forward out from between the shafts.

As the shafts came down on either side of him, I remembered that he doesn’t like to be touched by weird stuff on his side. I said as much. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, one shaft gently bopped him. Eeeeep. He jumped straight up in the air with all four feet.

When I lay it out like this, the conclusion is obvious. He has a strong, visceral memory of something reaching out to bite him on the side. He’s fine with hand, brush, leg, or saddle. He doesn’t tolerate odd, unexpected solid objects. It is not location specific. It is anywhere on either flank. Since the injury does not affect him functionally, I tend to forget about it. Rodney does not.

Duh.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Categories: Horse Behavior, Horses, Obstacle Challenge, Physiology

5 replies »

  1. “Frustrating for you, but eminently sensible for him.” You may just have defined horse training.

    “Poor Rodney/Don’t feel sorry for Rodney.” Both true.

    “inner scars…” He certainly has triggers.

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