Thursday, May 16, 2013

Horse Neglect

I had a long week of work and getting caught up in school so Dickie was left to his own devices. I am forever grateful for the BO because he gets extra sassy when I haven't been around. He generally expresses contempt for not having a job to do by rearing, bucking in place, and trying throw anything that happens to be left within reach of his stall door. One bright spot is the fact that his behavior is way better these days. Before if I even missed a day or two he was a wild man. These days his feral horse side is more manageable. He only needs minor reminders that humans are not play toys and doesn't tug on the lead rope or try to body slam you.

I arrived this week not sure what mood I would find him in. Actually I knew the mood. He has one mood at all times: YAYAYAYAYAY!!!! HUMANS!! MUST PLAY NOW!!! What I didn't know was if he would be able to channel that extreme exuberance into acceptable horse behavior. He knows the rules but he is a horse that will always test. He greets you in the field at first polite then he checks to see if the rules of personal space still apply by pushing me with his neck or trying to get up close eye ball to eye ball. Then I say "No you can't treat me like  your mares" and ask him to back up. If he stands politely several feet away he can have a treat, if not he gets to back up until he stands and waits for me to approach.

He was just as sassy as I expected. He danced like he had ants in his pants in the cross ties. Then torture of all tortures, Josey's mom showed up with kids. He LOVES kids and watching them without getting to taste them was too much for his baby brain. He decided this was reason to buck in place in the aisle. The funny thing is that no matter how antsy he is I never get the impression he is going to lose his mind and tear the cross ties down. If he dances so much that he hits the end of the cross ties he just stops, glares at me like I did it, then starts back up again but with less animation. It is just like him, he always wants to know exactly how far he can push things (cross ties, other horses, people, his stall door....). 

I hurried to get his feet picked because I know asking his spazzy brain to wait in the cross ties after a week of no work isn't that fair. Instead of going to the main arena we headed to the paddock behind the barn. It is about the dimension of a small arena, the footing is decent but has slight undulations. I don't lunge him there often, or for long, but I think it is good for him to get used to uneven ground. He was full of energy but the uneven ground kept him somewhat humbled. He is used to running full tilt in the pen but only on straight lines, trying to keep balanced on a circle took all of his concentration. At first he threw some tantrums and tried to spin back the other way (he prefers going to the right) but finally gave in. 

At the end of our session he was so focused. It is odd because he often spends the first ten mins or so really testing me (trying to spin the other way, breaking gait, bucking, rearing, etc) but by the end he gets really relaxed and focused. He is also extra cuddly after he has been worked physically. His shenanigans at the start makes it seem like he doesn't want to work but I think he just wants to challenge me. In the end he seems to thrive on work and it makes him a different horse. I think he will turn out to be one of those horses who really needs a job and is happier when he is in hard work. My TB mare was like that. If you didn't really push her she would make things exciting on her own (bucking or bolting) but if you gave her a big physical/mental challenge she would go all day and ask for more. Bre loves a job but she also really needs to be babied mentally, you can't push her too hard before you can feel her start to mentally self destruct. 

I am excited to be a little over two weeks away from a 16 day vacation and a horse who is telling me he is really for more challenge!!


  1. sounds good to me. Steele is a bit feisty at the beginning but I sense that he loves our sessions.

  2. 16 day vacation?!?!?!?! Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Dickie is such a character! :D