Saturday, February 16, 2013

Flaws & Acceptance

So often we talk about our horses and talk about what we want them to be or how we're going to make them better. I know I'm guilty of it. And within reason, improving our horses' skill sets and working with them will make them better temperament-wise, but it won't fix everything. Your horse is who s/he is through all of that. Nothing will change it. Our horses aren't going to be that absolute perfect citizens we so desire 100% of the time.

Re-reading pursuits with Q and Griffin lately I've really noticed things about them. They're so good so much of the time. Really, truly. And really, truly I don't write about their frustrating moments often because those moments are so few and so trivial in the big picture.

Things like:

Griffin is going to randomly paw to China because he is an impatient kid still. I hope he will grow out of some of this, but I doubt all of it. Its bound to happen at times and those times are so seldom that I accept it. He's so willing and generally focused every other time. In fact, willing doesn't even graze the surface of explanation for how big of a desire he has to please. He's such a truly wonderful little guy. I think of him as that "first kid" parents wish they had. Easy-going and willing in all aspects. Couldn't ask for a better personality in this guy. (And as a result, I don't talk about him as much on here. He's so good about everything. And being good about everything isn't as exciting to write about as Q who, while very good, possesses other quirks Griffin doesn't. *coughcoughcough* MARE.)

When kept away from the other horses in "solitary" for a night because I need her first thing the next day without a field expedition, Q is going to be wound up like all hell and toss her head in frustration because she has been alone all night. She inevitably will calm down. Her nature tells her friends are good and safe, thus she wants to be with them. The few times I keep her separate from her friends for extended period then come to "rescue her" she is INSTANTLY calm and happy when I am standing with her, beyond eager to please, but if I disappear out of sight for more than a few seconds she tosses her head and paws intermittently stomping the ground. I call out or step into view, it ceases. She has never done this except during extended absences from friends. I accept that she is this way at the barn because she has never ever performed such an antic away from home at rides or events.

They're both going to have moments when they don't want to be lady and gentleman for trimming. But this is surmounted by the fact that on most occasions they will stand happily with one foot up while I work away on it as long as I need. They even allow me to take breaks leaning against their 3-legged frame. Griffin will nuzzle me while I work but never bite. Both horses will preemptively lift the foot I'm about to trim next as I move toward it. Can't beat that.

And Q is just alert. Its who she is. She pays an excessive amount of attention to detail and will always be somewhat spazzy about random nonsensical things. Its who she is and I accept it. Its frustrating at times, certainly, but it is who she is. She doesn't mean anything wrong by it. I would rather her pay attention to things - even butterflies. She's saved my ass a couple times with it (slowing before we encounter bears), and she's dumped (or nearly dumped) my ass several times because of it (seeing contrasting light dark and spin-spooking, hearing/seeing the bear fall out of the tree and pirouetting suddenly). Sure, this aspect of her means that she's not the perfect horse for a beginner to ride outside of a ring/barnyard setting, but I'm 110% okay with that. (Cue Griffin's awesomeness as hopeful carrier of future beginners on the trail with me.) I like Q's fire and zest, while sometimes spazzy due to it, she is not mean or dangerous, and that is so important. I'm quick-witted, observant, and a good, balanced rider -  her fire meshes with me at this point in my life very, very well.

The big picture? Trivial. All of those not-perfect-100%-of-the-time behaviors. Little quirks that are going to occur despite how much we (I) work through things. My horses are gonna "have a day" just as often as people "have a day". And they're gonna "have a moment" (or two, or three), too. I accept these little outbursts. Its just the personality and nature of my horses. Their willingness, manners, and effort in all big moments and nearly every training situation speak so much louder than little frustrating quirks. And so, I accept my horses as they are, quirks and all. Wouldn't change them. Can you say the same about your horses (animals)?

1 comment:

  1. I love my mare's quirks. They make her who she is. She has quite a few, some are very frustrating and other are trivial. Some I can work on changing and others are never going away. I accept that, as long as they are not dangerous. Horses would be rather boring without all the silly little quirks they have.