Monday, November 6, 2017

Wherein Zoe Has An Opinion

Zoe is a fascinating horse for me--she is so cool, yet so different from any horse I've ever spent time with. She has this fantastic "let's do something" attitude. She is 110% try. And she's just so... straightforward?
SMOOSH CAMERA

This past week, I was stressed about things outside the barn and it definitely impacted me when I showed up. I was tense and spooky and not a great influence.

Zoe is a champion, so she still brought her A Game and was lovely.

But then Friday was cold and windy and blowing in a storm and I was alone at the barn, so the smartest thing to do seemed like putting Zoe on the lunge line and go a little forward. Every time I asked for an upward transition, she was a little resistant. Not naughty per se--just a little head shake and DONT WANNA and then she'd go.
sass!

Which. Eh? She's no self-propelled OTTB. She's certainly allowed to be a horse. Horses have opinions sometimes.

Then I asked her for canter and she gave an honest-to-goodness crow hop (!!) before setting out (and I yelled at her and made her RUN REAL FAST FOR A REAL LONG TIME because NO CROW HOPS).

And again. She's four. She's a mare. The weather was changing drastically. Her work has gotten a lot harder lately. She might be a little body sore. She might have popped a little baby attitude. Besides, it was a crow hop and it was not repeated. We're not exactly talking about a giant red flag being towed behind an airplane here.
cannot get enough smooshy face in my life

Later that night, I was texting a friend about saddle fit and hoop trees and how fast babies change.

And while everything that had happened could be quite simply explained by Zoe being a baby mare who's a little body sore and having a case of the dont-wannas on a crappy day, it just seemed like maybe a dark orange flag fluttering in the breeze. I haven't had her that long, but everything I know about her is that she's very, very genuine. She likes having a job. She likes going to work. She loves attention and people and cookies and everything about being an ammy horse.

For a horse like that, who does something out of character?

Hm.
also she got her first hat from Leah and T 

On a hunch, I grabbed a different saddle I had sitting around my garage and headed out to the barn Saturday. I started to tack up normally. Sat her usual saddle on her.

Instantly pinned ears.

Hm.

Took her saddle off. Put back up saddle on.

Pleasant ears.

Then took her to the arena and stuck her on the the lunge line.

Her first walk/trot transition was a little stuck and head shaking.

Then she went nicely forward and every transition after that was smooth and flowing, both on the lunge and under saddle.
awwww 

Again. She's four. The weather just changed. I was definitely in a better frame of mind Saturday than I was early in the week. All of those factors could be are related. Further testing is required etc.

To me, learning Zoe's tolerance level and how she communicates is so critical at this stage. It allows me to make better choices going forward. If I'm going to cultivate her awesome work ethic and develop her trust, she needs to know that she can express discomfort and not have to work through pain.
Can you even?
You cannot.

36 comments:

  1. Horses are always talking to us, it's just a matter of whether or not we hear them.

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  2. Kudos to you for always being sensitive to what your horses might be trying to tell you!

    That sparkle hat is so perfect on her 😍

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    Replies
    1. Too cold for sprinkler hat. Might have to explore next summer.

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  3. Those babies certainly have opinions when they're growing into themselves (I know mine does). I'm glad I have professional help with it all or else she would've walked all over me with her attitude

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    1. The only reason I felt comfortable taking a baby mare on was that I have readily available professional help and I definitely take advantage of that regularly. :-)

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  4. Kudos to you for hearing your horse right away.

    I am the idiot/asshole that thought my horse was just being an idiot/asshole. Took me a long time to look into saddle fit being the problem. Bought new saddle, horse would go forward versus only sideways and stopped trying to get me off his back every time I asked for a canter. Turns out it was me who was not listening, not him.

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    Replies
    1. It's such a balancing act because there are so many factors to consider. :-) We can only do our best.

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  5. I just can't get tired of the smoosh face

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  6. She's SP smooshable! Oh babies, aren't they just the most fun?! Scout's been showing a little grumpiness while being saddled, but I think it could be ulcer related (because TB). I'm definitely planning to check saddle fit too though:)

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    1. It's so important to know your own horse and make decisions for their specific needs and situation. :-) Scout is lucky to have you.

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  7. <3 that last picture. I hope you have it as your background!

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    Replies
    1. It's begging to be a profile picture, isn't it?

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  8. I like how you listened to her. Further research is required. And no. I just can't even.

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  9. Yay for listening to your pony and all sorts of delightful outfits. I say YAY a lot about the smoosh. It just seems to fit!

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  10. Good for you for becoming attuned to her signs- sounds like the start of a beautiful partnership!

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  11. Saddle fit is a huge thing at her age and as they develop and progress, it seems like everything keeps changing. The baby horse at the barn is going thru drastic and sudden changes too. What fit last week, doesn't this week and what didn't last week, does now.... Thankfully her head size is normal and stays that way. Lol

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    Replies
    1. Normal size head? What is that? haha.

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    2. For her it's Cob. Which I had absolutely nothing of the size save one lone halter... Everything else is either small pony, full size horse or WB/Oversize. So shopping!

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  12. I love this. I'm starting to look at some of the variables right now with Katai to see if something's bothering her. Right now I'm still at weather change/attitude but I want to make sure she's not trying to tell me something else.

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  13. i think a lot of quiet horses tend to have their communication overlooked - the things they say and the questions they ask - just bc they're not as.... expressive about it as other horses. it's still there tho, still happening!

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    Replies
    1. My biggest worry with her is that I would miss when she says things and she'd get hurt.

      Fortunately, she seems pretty darn sensitive.

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  14. Omgzzz,that last pic !!! Sooo Happy n Cute u both are :)

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