Monday Morning Syndrome

It was 50 effing degrees on Saturday.

It was also raining and slick as snot because of the melting ice/snow, but it was FIFTY DEGREES IN JANUARY.

It was glorious.

I think I was the only moron in the state that even went outside in the pouring rain, but I wasn’t about to give up a day of pony playtime. I’m not the Wicked Witch of the West (usually). A little rain ain’t gonna hurt either of us! If anything, he looked a little less disgusting when I was done with him. Messy horse is messy.

I honestly didn’t even bother grooming him before heading out into the snow. He was wet and it was still misting, so it wasn’t worth it. Instead, we marched right into the snow covered front yard and started some general ground work stuff.

He was fruity, but not quite as braindead as he was last weekend. I’m less convinced that it has anything to do with the weather or the Pony Prozac, but just a lack of consistent work. He is a bit of a fruitcake when he’s first put back into work after a couple of days off because he’s been allowed to sit, and all that pent of energy kind of bubbles out. His focus is shot and all he wants to do is fart around and be goofy. Typical Monday Morning Syndrome. I can sympathize with that: Monday morning hits at work and I’m a scatterbrained fool for the first half of the day!

The snow, thankfully, was still soft and crunchy in most places in the yard. I ended up inspecting the round pen because he was being dopey on the end of the lunge line…dopey to the point of giving me a VERY nice spook, buck, bolt thing. He jerked me forward, hard, and I went *OOF*.. He felt my body weight hit the end of the line, HARD, and when he spun around to look at me…damn, I think that’s the first time I’ve seen him look remorseful since bringing him home! Needless to say, he hustled his ass quite nicely when I got up, because mama was not happy. Even with that, there was no interest in paying attention to me whatsoever, and with no real flat ground to push him forward constantly, I couldn’t insist on his attention. So, after making sure the round pen was safe, I brought him in and unleashed him.

He zoomed around me without any sort of indication that he knew I was there for a good minute or two before realizing that hey, this running this is hard work! I finally got an ear tipped in towards me, but I kept pushing him forward. It’s pretty obvious that he’s had a bit of work done with him on the end of the lunge line, but most free lunging/round pen work is so lost on him that I don’t think he was introduced to it. As long as the footing stays good in there during the next few weeks, my Sunday morning playtime will also consist of some round pen work. He was starting to tune within 10 minutes or so, and once I got him paying attention and he gave me a good stop and approach, I let him be. He was warm and blowing, but not overly sweaty (though it did start to rain harder as we were working!). He plodded after me as I went back to retrieve his halter and lead rope, a much calmer and focused critter.

D stood in the barn with me while I dried him off a bit and roughed up his fur so it didn’t mat down to his body. Simba stood patiently with me, wiggling his nose all over my body. That could potentially turn into a bad thing but I find it painfully adorable and he never uses teeth…so I’m going to be a bad pony mama and let him keep doing it until he gives me a reason to make him stop because it’s adorable and makes me feel like he actually likes me. Sort of, anyway 😉

I turned him back out and D and I spent the rest of the day hidden inside away from the rain and cold. I was relatively pleased with what I had on Saturday, even if he was a bit of a fruit loop. He was MUCH less spacey and was quicker to come back to earth this time around, which was encouraging to see.

Sunday was, as I thought, much less dramatic. I did have L’s Synergist saddle to ride in, and while it fit him okay, it is definitely not going to work. I’m so used to my lovely treeless saddle and the close contact feel it gives me that having that much saddle between myself and my horse was going to be an issue…but, fortunately for my fussy seatbones, the saddle didn’t fit him well enough for me to be comfortable using it on him long term. It hit him in the shoulders and with gaited horses, anything restricting shoulder freedom is BAD news. So, with that being my last resort, I am swallowing my sentimentality and selling my Bob Marshall so I can purchase a different one. I’m selling the entire package of saddle, breast collar, and pad to fund the purchase of a saddle that will better suit both of us. I am going to cry buckets when it leaves, but I am taking the silver nameplate off of the saddle and keeping that for myself.


He was very good despite some wicked wind, and we were out on the roads, alone. He gave me two good spooks worth mentioning: one was over a tree branch falling, which scared the bajeepers out of me, too. He tucked his bum and scooted something fierce — thankfully, I’ve got a relatively solid seat even in a saddle I’m not comfortable in, and only my upper body got left behind. Simba hit the bit and immediately went “oh there’s the bit we’re not dead I guess it’s okay”. The second one was when K’s mini horse and mini mule popped out from behind of her two big mares…Simba has seen these two critters a handful of times now and hasn’t reacted. Sunday, however, they were Horse Eating Aliens.  He snorted and fretted. I giggled and tried not to call him too many names for being a blockhead.

We did a bit of gaiting up and down the road. I mostly just wanted to see how the saddle fit (it didn’t) and now that he’s back to gaiting as opposed to pacing mostly consistently, it’s time to start conditioning him back into a running walk. His default gait is a rack, which is comfortable, but not what I want him doing. A horse that racks is hollow and not really using his body. The running walk is not collected, per se, but it’s also not a hollow gait…it’s more of a “neutral” gait. It’s also one of the smoother gaits out there. I’d still rank it below a good Paso Corto (Paso Fino) or Paso Llano (Peruvian Horse), but the running walk comes in third for most comfortable gait to ride for long distances. His rack is comfy, but with some tweaking, he was able to pick up a true running walk for a few strides. I am beginning to put together a conditioning program for when the warmer weather and longer days so we can start working back towards slowing him down into a running walk as opposed to the rack.

He’s racking here (watch his head — it kind of shakes back and forth instead of the telltale head nod of a running walk) but it was a fun little video to take 🙂

After this past weekend, I believe I’ll be ceasing to use the Pony Prozac. I don’t believe it’s doing much of a difference for him, after doing a bit of experimenting last weekend. His fruity tendencies are stemming from a lack of work, and his stall walking simply isn’t getting any better. My last Hail Mary will be to throw a Jolly Ball and a Likit thing in his stall to see if that helps at all, but I have a feeling it won’t. I believe my only option after that, come spring, will be a trial run of keeping him outside. This usually would be a no brainer, but with no other horses out there and D’s two inside, it may be just more of an issue. His stall walking wouldn’t bother me so much if he weren’t doing it out of anxiety. He is clearly tense and unhappy in the stall, and that bothers me. He’s doing tiny circles all night long, which can’t be good for his joints. His anxiety and stress is going to end up causing ulcers or something equally as evil, and I don’t want to end up having to treat something that could easily be prevented. If, come spring, chucking him outside isn’t a viable option for all of us (two and four legged) I may need to reevaluate his situation all together. If pony ain’t happy, mama ain’t happy…simple as that!

This weekend I’m hoping my fellow Stana Katic/Castle obsessed friend, K, will be coming up to play. M may be able to come and join us as well! I’m loving the fact that I’m getting to know my horse on my terms…but, even as a self-proclaimed introvert, I need some friends to play with too! Here’s to hoping the weather continues to hold and the ground isn’t too gross this weekend!

One thought on “Monday Morning Syndrome

  1. Aoife January 16, 2014 / 8:03 am

    Hope you can crack the box-walking issue and that pony can be happy so mama can be happy.
    Best of luck with the saddle search *hug*, I need to save the pennies and search for saddles for my girls too!


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