Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Fussbucket, Powder Keg, & Ho-Hum

As I knew it would, the move has had quite an effect on the behavior of my horses. They've transitioned from life as members of a herd of 10 horses on 28 acres to life as a herd of 3 on rotating 1-2 acre paddocks. This fall, they'll be introduced into a new herd, but for the summer, their world is much different than they once knew. The result has brought some of my least favorite behavioral traits into the limelight during undersaddle work - at least for 2/3 of them. I've taken to calling each horse a different nickname of late, each suited to their behavior.

: : : : : 

Fussbucket /ˈfəsˌbəkət/ noun - a horse who fusses, frets, and worries about where her friends are at all times in such a way that she is frequently startled by inane daily happenings like fence posts, blades of grass, and mud. Origin: Appalachian English translation of "fussbudget"

20180607_201325

A surprise to no one, Q is more of a fussbucket than she's been in some time. Working on-property near Stan and Griffin is going to be absolutely impossible to do with the hope of achieving anything worthwhile. The one ride we had there cemented that for me as she stared longingly at them the whole time, would only bend her body in their direction, and even called to them twice (something she's never resorted to before).

She's always been this way re: friends and work ethic. When we had trail access from the old barn, I knew it would take us about a mile before she'd start to settle and pay more mind to me/the task at hand than fussing about where her friends were. I had a very brief mental break as I rode her (at the walk with many walk-halt and rein-back transitions and attempts at changes in bend) the other night irrationally thinking I would have to give up on her forever because no matter what I try she always acts this way. But then I reined myself in (quite quickly!) and remembered how fun she was when we did the ride with Dan and Lauren a week ago - leading for a far majority of the ride and only spooking very mildly once or twice.

I may not be able to work her undersaddle on-property this summer, but that isn't the end of the world. I'm not giving up on riding her on the property, but at this moment, I know it would result in fights that will setback our progress and if I'm picking battles, this isn't the one where I care to play my hand. There are plenty of nearby trails to work on and it wouldn't kill either of us to spend some time on groundwork. All is going to be fine. This is just an adjustment period and we'll work through it.

---

Powder Keg /ˈpoudər ˌkeɡ/ noun - a horse so full of energy that the tiniest brush of your leg will set him off and make you realize that halt to canter transitions are the simplest things for him; a horse who takes great offense to "real work" and insists constantly on hopping in place squealing


20180608_170358

This shithead has too much energy and not enough outlets. He was the main instigator of all play and shenanigans in his old herd. He utilized the space better than the others, running, bucking, and showing off in an attempt to get the other horses to play. If they wouldn't he'd goad them into it by nipping them or humping up his back feigning a barrel kick in their general direction. 

Now he's left with only Q and Stan, who aren't very playful, in a much smaller space than he's accustomed. And I'm left with a horse who has an abundance of energy when I choose to ride.

As with the Q issue, it definitely isn't the end of the world, but criminy is it an adjustment. I've lunged him some pre-ride to get the willies out, but I still had a powder keg under me when we began working. So I put him to work, going through a handful of the exercises we practiced during our recent lessons. Move your feet, use your body, and do it correctly. 

Except, well, Grif has Opinions, yes with a capital "O", about the work quite frequently. He'll squeal, grunt, get light in the front end and the hind end, and my personal favorite (read: biggest annoyance) feign falling over dramatically in which he giraffes his head and nose as high as he can while his left side falls out from underneath you as he flings himself about leaving the rider with the sensation that he's going to crash down on his side until he "catches" himself at the last second and stays upright. It's about as fun as it sounds and exceptionally unnerving.

So, um, yeah. We're working through this. I'm not quite sure what combination of things in my toolbox it's going to take yet, but I'm far from running out of ideas. Worst case, I'll trot his sassy ass across the road and make him climb a 1,000-foot incline and see how he feels after that! (Though he'll probably just get fitter and stronger with his shenanigans. lol) 

---

Ho-Hum /ˌhōˈhəm/ noun - a horse who is lackadaisical about every day life, who is generally pleased with (and bored with) the world around him; generally a pleasure to be around. See also: bombproof, plod-along, ol' reliable


20180602_183059

And then there's Stanley. My ol' reliable. He could care less about this change in his life. He gets a daily mash, is herd boss again, has a mare, and the temperatures are cooler with a near-constant breeze. He's happy as a clam and not upset at all about the goings-on around him. 

I keep thinking I should ride him/work him more, but then I ask myself why? He's happy, healthy, and there is no doubt anywhere in my being that he's going to be perfect when he is ridden again. It's just how he is. We have no competition goals and to keep him truly fit, he'd need ridden a minimum of 5 days a week - and I don't have that time at the moment! (And likely won't for awhile.)

I do plan to get him acquainted with a few friends in short order, though! They'll keep him busy and help get his fitness back to a respectable place. All I want for him is to be fit enough to conquer our trails at a trot with a few canter bursts. He loves fast trail riding like that and I want nothing more than for him to be fit enough to enjoy it. 

: : : : :

What nicknames/terms do you use to describe your horse's behaviors and mannerisms? Do you find that these traits present themselves more in times of change/stress or are they present all the time?

37 comments:

  1. Mine definitely get more emtional when we change things. I've got a Q (Bridget) and a Griff (Sophie) They're in separate paddocks right now but I'm going to put them together again so Sophie can burn off more play energy. My rides on Bridget are going to suck tho, because i know she'll get pretty herdbound :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aaaggh, herdbound is the worst. But that's awesome Sophie will get to burn off all that energy. Maybe not be so "helpful" with everything if she gets to be more active lol

      Delete
  2. My nicknames usually involve more profanity 😂 but I feel you on the difficulties of dealing with new behaviors after a move. Like when I moved Ruby home and she went from being a rockstar solo trail horse to being a rearing spinning headache to take out of the arena 😒

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol, yeah, I mean, the amount of profanity I use on the daily is kind of outstanding. I'm trying to censor more though as I'm more frequently around friends' kids lately.

      RUBY. BAD. She's getting better though?

      Delete
    2. She had been getting better and then I took her out alone in western tack like 2 weeks ago (didn't blog about it, cause I suck lol) and she was okay going out but the INCESSANT jigging going back to the barn made me want to murder her 🤷 although I did manage to keep her front end mostly on the ground, which was an improvement. Ughhhh horses. She was NEVER this "barn bound" (I'm making up terms haha) at the old barn, she'd hack home on a loose rein all day. So no idea what the dysfunction is at home 🤦

      Delete
    3. Uuuggghhh! I understand your murder tendency so much. It's nice to hear about such similar issues. I know other people have them, but it's easy to forget when we're all trying to focus on the positive so we can stay sane.

      Delete
  3. Mine might be offensive to some: Shithead, Turdbrain, Idiot, F*ckwad etc :) ha ha ha....they are all terms of endearment deep down......Remus can be all of those.

    And it will be interesting to see how Remus acts once he is at home. I have a feeling he will be like Q worried where he is in relation to where his friends are (if we get friends for him maybe I WONT there are horses next door to him LOL).

    I love all three of your horses and they all three have such DISTINCTIVE personalities. HA on Griff. That makes me laugh but yikes :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha, not offensive to me. I curse like a fucking sailor most of the time. It's good practice to try and leave it out of my writing lol!

      Don't get him friends if there are some nearby!! Q is wonderful when she's alone. Friends ruin her.

      Delete
  4. Like Leah, my names for my horses also involve lots of profanity, and I definitely have run into the "Fussbucket" in Bailey. She's obsessed with her sisters and what they're doing at all times... eyeroll.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HAVE YOU SEEN WHAT MY FRIENDS ARE DOING BECAUSE I NEED TO BE WITH THEM!

      Delete
    2. THEY ARE RUNNING I NEED TO RUN WITH THEM MOM

      Maybe she's just upset because her sisters stop caring I took her away really quickly and gallop back out to the pasture to eat... :D

      Delete
  5. Amber resembles all 3 LOL. Recently I've been more worried about the Fussbucket part - super worried when she can't see Whisper but marvelous off property (IDK lol). But most of the time she's Ho-Hum. Although once her stifle heals well enough I'm sure she'll be Powder Keg for like 3 laps and then be tired LOL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a lot of personality in one mare!

      Delete
  6. Carmen and Irish match Q and Griffin to a 'T'. :D :D so I feel you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're never allowed to meet one another. Ever. lol

      Delete
  7. F*ckhead at the moment. Our boy is full of beans and attitude in the cooler weather. Seems to dislike being ridden under saddle (happy to be ridden in a rug when transitioning between paddocks) and is partial to a back hump or pigroot, maybe a buck if feeling frisky. Loves to shy at imaginary things, drop from underneath me and dart to the right (while I inevitably go to the ground). He's a Grade A Turd.

    Ideas?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pigrooting is my new favorite term. Sounds like a combo of Q and Grif's worst traits. Man, oh, man. I've got no help to offer ya on that chaos beyond maybe wearing him down with some free lunging pre ride? What a card!

      Delete
  8. Levi's nicknames are not publicly appropriate. He's definitely a Fussbucket though. What other horses are doing is way more concerning than anything else going on and how dare I presume to make him work while there are other horses to be watched/hung out with.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Gem is always awful at home the first few rides but tends to settle. Well, as much as she ever settles. I hope the same rings true for Q. Right now I’m not so sure what Eeyore is. He starts off like Q, very worried where the others are then settled into work. Once he decides he is done working he just becomes a prick and tries to evade any way he possibly can.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. E! Be nice about working you turd! Though, from what you've shared his behaviors are much easier to handle than Gem's it sounds.

      Delete
  10. I need a Stanley in my life.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I hate to admit it but I giggled at this post! I'm sorry they are driving you crazy, but the way you write just makes it so funny. I hope they settle into their new routine soon. I love how you deal with all of it though.. always keeping in mind it's temporary and not taking it personally. You go girl!!

    Chrome is pretty consistent. When around other horses he gets super excited, but nothing crazy. His biggest changes in temperament have to do with how cold it is. He's more mellow in the summer. In the winter he's mellow if his gut is full of hay, but if it's not for some reason or if he's wet from the rain he gets VERY up and spooky! So basically if he "feels" the cold it makes his other personality come out. Luckily for him to "feel" the cold it has to be really freaking cold which it rarely gets down here in the south. It's a good thing I don't get crazy when I feel the cold because I get cold if it's below 70F LOL!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is pretty funny ;-) I'm glad you could find the humor, too. It's the only way I have to cope with it haha.

      Oh man, that's a low threshold to be cold! Good thing y'all have such an abbreviated winter =)

      Delete
  12. Gwyn is all Goober Mare. It's pretty much perfect for her. She's goofy, she'll test you, but she also will try her damnedest (for me). Everyone else she gives the middle finger to when she's decided she's finished.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww, she sounds like such a good girl. She should teach Q to be that way.

      Delete
  13. Wow! Griff sounds like a handful these days! Love your attitude though. Hopefully it settles out though with time:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As these things seem to happen, I published this post, went out to ride, and had my Good Griffin back last night. I kind of didn't know what to do with myself because I'd gone out with a game plan to do a tabata timer for a series of warmup exercises for 20 minutes to get him to settle...and he was settled from the get-go! Horses lol

      Delete
  14. Lol somehow this doesn’t surprise me at all... what a cast of characters!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely a full cast. My friend was pointing out last night how interesting it is that they're so very different from one another. Definitely didn't plan it this way haha.

      Delete
  15. It's so interesting how horses adapt to change/moves. I am not riding a ton at the moment but I'm grateful my horses are turned out on a giant field (like 40 acres ish) to get some of their silliness out. I can't imagine how much of a powderkeg Apollo would be if he was in a smaller area D:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, man, I bet he would be! I had a much better Griffin last night, so I'm cautiously optimistic things will be better going forward? We'll get through either way haha.

      Delete
  16. Team Stan all the way! What a good boy. I'm glad you have him to give you a relaxing, satisfied deep breath when you need one.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Love your descriptions! My horse has been all 3 of these things at one time or another - because of moving around during and after college, and then as my budget and state changed, I've moved him six times in six years. I've found at his favorite places he's much like Stan, nothing phases him. At barns he didn't like, he turned into a hellion. His overall nickname for when we're having less than stellar days is "$5 on Craigslist" which is more of a threat (though an empty one!) than a nickname. In my experience it takes a lot of time to get some horses to settle down and focus when they've just moved.

    Have you thought about long-lining? I've found it to help A LOT when Goose has been super Up or really spooky in new places - gives you better control and focus than if you're sitting on them fighting and is a better mental and physical workout than just lunging. Just some thoughts but you'll get through this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bahahahaha I love that threat/nickname!

      Yeah, we've done lunging pre-ride several times. I take him all over, too, have him trot through water, up and down little banks, etc. to keep his mind and body real interested to no avail. Fortunately though, since I wrote this post he has been SO GOOD. Not *quite* back to normal, but damn near.

      Delete