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.
Zoë 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 Zoë 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.
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 Zoë 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?
|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.
Took her saddle off. Put back up saddle on.
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.
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
To me, learning Zoë'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?|