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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
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
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.
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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?