Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dr. Jekyl / Mr. Hyde

 Or moreso, The Q I love vs. The Q I hate.

And some screenshots from the videos for those who don't/can't watch:

A crazy, sassy Q on top; a sane, relaxed Q on the bottom
And no, I don't wipe off mud unless its gonna be under the saddle.

Things I'm figuring out about this horse as they relate to dealing with her problems:
  • (Okay, I've known this one for ages, I just struggle with it because girly hormones are a bitch) I MUST check ALL emotion and hormones at the door. Leave them in my car as I get out. My emotions, my reactions, my hormones influencing these directly and acutely influence this horse. Example: Every time I have ever dealt with her, when I have zero cares in the world and give zero fucks about things, she surprises me with her willingness and athleticism.
  • I cannot have a strict plan. Some things she may not be ready for on a day when I want to do them. I need to instead have a very flexible list of things to potentially do and rotate through the list as her behavior dictates. Forcing her into my schedule ends up backtracking our progress. Example: The other night I had planned to lunge her a bit and perhaps a little riding. Instead, I got carried away with my grooming and decided to try to shave her legs just to see how bad she might be. I was able to shave all four of them! The hinds have about 15% left because I wanted to end before she lost ANY patience. #WINNING.
  • She's paying more attention to me than I ever imagined. In fact, this horse is SO like me its eerie. I pay way more attention to everything going on around me than I ever let on. My senses and my mind are always whirring and redirecting to file every tiny thing away. Q does this, too. My minute gestures and requests that I presumed she was looking past? She notices. If I act on those minute gestures and avoid giving big ones, I get a much more responsive horse. Example: She has never given me inside turns at liberty in the round pen. If I ask the SAME way on the lunge, she turns in with zero problems (she recognizes the line, obviously, but still worth noting she can turn inside without hesitation). So I asked a few times the other night in the round pen at liberty. Outside. Outside. Then I noticed her responsiveness would alter a little when I was just thinking about wanting her to turn inside. I obviously do something a little different with my body posture, too, because she offered the very beginnings of an inside turn. I noticed and gave a small gesture to please continue. And she did. We repeated this, smoothing out our discussion as we went, and ended up with many nice inside turns.
Big realization? This horse is ME in horse form. Its absolutely ridiculous. I get upset with her, she crumbles inside; if I'm calm and deliberate and logical, she thrives. (I have quite the mental battle with myself when people are angry with me and even around me. As a result, I've surrounded myself with level-headed friends who are very slow to anger.) If I don't keep her mind busy with a task she starts second-guessing everything around her, really seeking and looking for danger to spook at; if I give her enough to keep her busy, she's a star. (I am notorious for second-guessing everything around me. My teachers used to joke that I need to just move through  my tests and go with my gut because otherwise I'd get everything wrong from second-guessing. As a result, I'm a QUICK test taker.) Q will spazz over stupid things and have zero issues with  big things. (Okay, this isn't me very often, but I definitely am guilty of it.) She's a superstar whenever the moment really requires her to be. (When I'm on the mountain working accidents in high-stress situations, I completely chill out and do my job and am unbothered by things around me. They'll hit me later. But in the moment, I am all business.)

Its never immediate or easy with this horse. But damn, is it worth it. She's a puzzle I love to work on. And with every piece I click in, I love her more.

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