Uhm. I think the phrase "I was very wrong" doesn't even begin to suffice here.
Let's take our last dressage ride for example. (By dressage I mean only the most rudimentary of work, mostly at the walk.) When I pulled her out of her pen, I decided to drop her in the roundpen for a minute to let her loosen up and get her bucks out before I tacked her up to ride. She went one way just fine, and then when I went to turn her around, she made a face and kicked out in my general direction. OH NO YOU DIDN'T! I don't tolerate obnoxious bossy attitude from my beasts and made her turn, turn, turn around back and forth until she did it at the slightest notice and without any attitude. It only took a few turns before she was obediently and immediately responding, so we quit with that. Mares.
THEN, when I went to tack her up, I was currying her belly and she decided to let me know how unamused she was by this by sinking her teeth into the wheel well of my trailer where she was tied. OH NO YOU DIDN'T! x2! My immediate response to this was to give her a quick spank. You do not EVER bite anything when I am handling you. End of story. Absolutely no biting, no kicking, no sass, no nasty attitudes around the Boss Mare, which is me. You keep that to yourself or Boss Mare will knock you back down a peg. I won't discount that you don't like your belly curried - and I will curry it softer next time, and keep this in mind in case it's a physical issue that needs attending to - but don't you dare bite.
So what did she do in response to her spank?
Flailed, set back, broke her halter, and wandered nonchalantly off.
And then we had THE best flatwork session we've had, hands down.
And I thought she was going to be boring in comparison to Gogo.
Looking pretty sexy no?
Today we had another grand adventure filled with peril, excitement, and panicked freak-outs - our first trail ride! I've been itching to get out on the trail with her ever since I got her, and I finally felt that after a month of work that we had graduated to being able to handle a short walk-only trail ride off property. I had absolutely no idea how she was going to act, seeing as the only place I've ever taken her off-property is to the pool to swim. She unloaded, looked around, and froze, eyes popping out of her head. Hmmm, I thought... this could be interesting.
When I mounted, she immediately began to jig, shake her head, and skitter sideways in her anticipation. Awesome. What did I get myself into?
Of course, the FIRST thing that happened was that the trailhead itself was absolutely flooded from all the rain we've been having in the past few weeks. In order to access the trails, you have to cross the riverbed, which normally I would assume isn't much more than a trickle, or in the summer completely bone-dry. As for today, it was almost 4' deep! I of course didn't realize quite how deep it was until I felt water flooding into my boots and looked down to see my feet disappearing into the current. Pangea only hesitated for a moment before walking right across.... that's my girl.
From there on out, however, it was all jig all the time. She jigged, she shook her head, she oogled at the fishermen on the bank, she broke out in a nervous sweat. This was compounded by the fact that there were lots of muddy patches on the trail... VERY muddy patches. I did not anticipate this or I would not have chosen the trail that I did, but once out there, it was a bit too late to turn around and drive elsewhere. She handled the muddiness with relative grace for the first 10 minutes or so... until we came to this boggy nightmare:
And once we got to the bank of it, she said no.
Loudly. NO. Mom, that is insane. Will not go.
I urged her on. Mare, you can do it, loads of other horses made it, see the hoofprints? Just go slow and we will be ok.
NO. Will not go.
We managed to get in partway before her hind end sunk a few inches into it and the mud began pulling on her hind boots. (Note to self... she hates hind boots.) Suddenly, I found myself on a flailing, thrashing, bucking, leaping nightmare animal who was hellbent on getting out of there, NOW. She shot backwards, legs flying in all directions at one time, directly backwards into a tree. I felt a stab in the flesh of my right hand near my thumb, and the moment she stopped moving I looked down to see what had happened. Oh... that's not what I was anticipating:
Fast fact about Texas: everything here either bites, stings, or pricks. In my case, I got pricked in the hand by
And yes, we safely made it to the other side. After her fussing, she finally just decided of her own accord that she was going to march through the mud like it was never actually a big deal after all, and that was that. Mares!
From then on out, she was a total dream, negotiating the terrain easily on a long rein with her head low and her walk marching.
It was a glorious 85 degrees today, hot and steamy and sweet-smelling. The flowers on the trees have long since come and gone, replaced by fresh green leaves bursting with new growth, and the bluebonnets have suddenly exploded into bloom all over the place. Check out that last picture.... bluebonnets EVERYWHERE. Weirdly enough, they love to hang out in the same areas as the little ground cacti do, so you have to be careful where you ride. Pangea has yet to be stabbed with a cactus, but I've been nailed, and let me tell you those suckers HURT.
After a blissful second half of our ride, we came back across our trail entrance going the opposite way, and I felt brave enough to film her walking through the 4' deep water. The video cuts out halfway across, but we made it, I promise! ;)
What a good girl.
Back at the trailer, soaking wet. Half of that is sweat from the heat and her early-on incident at the muddy crossing (which she didn't bat an eye at going back across.... go figure), and half of that is from the river. I had already removed her hind boots by then... the moment we got back to the trailer she began to systematically kick them off, and I was only just able to jump down and pull them off before they ended up around her ankles.
It will be interesting to see if her hot attitude chills out a little bit as she becomes more accustomed to going places and doing things again. I'll be keeping an eye out for belly issues even though she is already on aloe juice... between her biting the trailer when currying her belly and starting out so spicy hot on the trails today, you never know. Mares!