I reaaaalllly wanted to ride in white fluffy snow today.
This past week has been a little hectic between being sick and the nasty snowstorm that had a lot of coworkers stuck at home (meaning Friday was bat. shit. crazy. at the office), and I was ready to play this weekend.
It’s been extremely cold here as well, so after I blew through stalls, I wanted to keep my body moving. I brought Simba into the barn, and I could tell that he was tense and edgy. Every little thing was cause for concern and he was shuddering and shying more than he was standing still on the cross ties. I decided that maybe working his brain was a better idea than trying to get him to stand still right this very second.
So, we wandered out onto the driveway…and he went “aaaiiiieeeee I haz no braaaaain!”. Oooooh boy.
I rerouted the kite I had flying on the end of my lead rope onto a semi flat area, and asked him to stop. He stopped, stood, and snorted like a fire breathing dragon. I clucked at him and pointed to get him to just walk out…and he went “aaaaaiiiieeeeee I haz no braaaaaain!”.
So, he zoomed…and zoomed…and zoomed…and zoomed. For about ten minutes in just one direction. He was completely ignoring any and all aids and body language at the beginning of his zoomfest, so I did the only other thing I could do: kept pushing him forward. You want to run, buddy? Okay. We can run.
It took him ten minutes to even think about asking me if he could slow down. I told him no. He asked again within 30 seconds. I told him no again. Before he could think about asking a third time, I asked him to walk (he is USUALLY very quick to respond to voice commands for walk) and he immediately put on the brakes and huffed and puffed around me at a walk for a lap or two. I had one ear and he was obviously tuned back in, so I let him stop.
I was hoping to not repeat the process on the other side, but he was still a maniac when I switched directions. Luckily, it took a LOT less time to get him to come down to Earth, as he was already worn out from acting like someone had lit a firecracker under his ass. He walked around me for a lap or so, and I had his attention, so I immediately called it a day there.
L stopped by to chat (and tell me she’d bring her Synergist saddle by tomorrow for me to try out when it’s just a smidge warmer!) so he and I walked back to the barn with her after he’d gotten his breathing back under control. The crazy had left his eyes and he was a lovely, quiet critter on the crossties.
I almost braved getting on him bareback, but figured it wasn’t a good idea to tempt fate. Instead, I groomed him, put him back outside, fed their afternoon hay snack, and promptly said to myself: “What have I gotten myself into?”
Today’s brain melting could have been a mixture of the wicked cold, a missed dose of his very tiny bit of Pony Prozac, and my own slightly anxious feeling projecting onto the horse…or it was just an off day. I have to learn how to deal with off days better, because when something like this happens, I automatically turn to “well, I’ve failed and should give up now.” I had the same thoughts with Image: I can’t do this, I’m not a good enough, so on and so forth. Fortunately, Simba has no real baggage — he’s got some training holes and he’s been allowed to get away with being the king of the jungle, but he’s never, ever been mishandled or abused. However, he’s freakin’ weird! It’s going to take me a lot of time to figure him out. I need to learn to not get myself worked up over a bad day. He is not perfect, I’m not perfect, and neither of us will ever be perfect. We just need to learn how to talk to each other to have a successful relationship. He is a major puzzle, in a completely different way than Image was. His odd mix of reactive and dominant traits means I’m back to basics trying to learn new tools for my toolbox to pull out when we come up against a communication barrier. I need to look at this as a challenge and not allow myself to get worked up over the bad days.
As for right now, however…I am going to have a drink and something to eat, and not do anything horse related so I can start over tomorrow morning.