Tuesday, December 30, 2014

TOABH: I'm A Loser, Baby

I'm A Loser, Baby
Let's talk about your horse's biggest fail.  What did Thunderhooves do that embarrassed you, scared you, shocked you or just annoyed the hell out of you?
♫ Soy un perdedor. I'm a loser, baby, so why don't you kill me.  ♪

Well, actually, dear horses, I do sometimes want to kill you in the instances listed below because you are being absolutely ridiculous. In fact, I'm absolutely certain I have told you this in no uncertain words during your times of outburst. Things along the lines of, "I will sell you. You will be dog food. This zip code will no longer be your home. If this were the Oregon Trail, you'd be dead." 
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Q - Herd bound.

Okay. I originally wrote about Q's incessant spooking over NOTHING as her biggest fail / biggest annoyance. I even waxed and waned eloquently on that fact, ranting a time before I resolved to be a better human and move past my human emotions and be more mature about the situation. Except I realized that I got all worked up about it just writing it, and that wasn't very mature. So, in an effort to move forward, I tossed all of it; I am and will continue to work on myself and dealing with Q's silly spooking, but it hasn't been a great issue of late, so why dwell?

The herd bound thing though? That's still present and accounted for when we're working at the farm.

I can always recall Q being resistant about leaving the property at first on trail rides, but it was nothing crazy. And she's always been a bit focused on her friends when we work at home, but it was never horrible. And while she certainly has more pep in her step once we've turned in the home direction, it's never been something super significant or dangerous. It's an issue that is mediocre at best in relation to other issues.

However, despite all of this mediocrity, it is an issue. It's an issue I have the tools to resolve, too. It's an issue I will resolve. And I think that if/when I resolve this issue, a lot of other benefits will rise from it as I suspect this behavior problem is linked to others.

Anecdote: I was ground driving Q the day before yesterday. We'd done a big loop through the woods and were headed back across the field I have my jumps in as we headed for home. Q had demonstrated confidence and willingness throughout our driving hike (zero spooks or behaviors that relate to nervousness/spookiness), but she was much more forward as we headed into the home stretch. Despite half halts and "easy", "steady", "whoa" from me, she marched ever forward, motivated by sight of her herd. Instead of letting her plow onward and ignore me further, I turned her away from home and lunged her counter-clockwise with the double lines. She would rush to be back on the side of the circle closest to the herd and then slow with the hopes of turning home again. I pushed her forward and kept lunging her until she maintained a steady, consistent pace for the whole circle. Once she settled, I directed her home again. She rushed again and ignored my requests, so we performed the same lunging exercise in the clockwise direction. She behaved the same as she had before with regards to rushing and slowing, so as I worked her, I also moved her further and further away from home. Once she was steady and consistent with her pacing around the circle, we turned for home again. The increasing work coupled with increasing distance with home clicked in her brain as "not good" and we didn't have a single issue for the rest of our driving hike homeward. The slightest half halt request was acknowledged by her, as were my words to slow down and not rush. Wonderful! Now, to extrapolate this into future work to continue to remedy the issue is the challenge!

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Griffin - The flailing and crow-hopping madness that occurs when things are Too Hard or not on His Agenda.

This is generally a baby horse thing. It is generally a baby horse who needs more consistency and structure thing. However, it is still a highly obnoxious habit that always leads me to grade rides where it occurs with a failing grade.

As I've introduced more consistency and more work to Griffin the majority of these outbursts have ceased. These days, they only flare up when I've asked him to do something that requires a little more effort - either mental or physical or sometimes both - from him. He pitches this royal tantrum about how HARD it is and how he CAN'T possibly do it. He will throw ALL of his efforts into NOT doing what I've asked. Trot, don't canter. *Tantrum* Canter, don't trot. *Tantrum* Shoulder-in to the left not the right. *Tantrum* Don't race after the lead horse on trail. *Tantrum*
Fortunately, his *Tantrum* tends to be the same no matter what triggers it. Finding the perfect way to re-introduce the question/exercise at hand so that he will succeed and give the right answer is a bit trickier though!

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