I'll just start by saying that I really enjoy being hands-on with Izzy's care. How she feels in the morning reflects how she behaves in the pasture which echoes how she acts under saddle. It's all related.
So yesterday, despite me REALLY REALLY REALLY wanting to play more with the new bridle, I decided to stay on task and accomplish my goal of riding out into the hayfield, which we do in western tack.
Because the hateful gelding that lives with Izzy believes he's a stallion and that Izzy is his soul mate (she shares neither opinion unless she's actively cycling), I always have to carry a rock out with me to catch her. He usually stays away, but sometimes he acts threatening and I like to have something to chase him away before he gets in range to do any damage. Still, Izzy's brain was happy out in the pasture and the hateful gelding wasn't dangerous, just irritating.
Enter studdy gelding #2. This horse is overweight, neurotic, and nutty. When he was stalled next to Izzy, he nearly drove her insane and always tried to mount her over the fence, complete with grunting and ejaculating. Yeah... great situation. Studdy gelding, meet studdy gelding with a mare.
Of course, of the three owners, I am the only one who comes out with any regularity and thus I get to deal with now BOTH studdy geldings. (And before you give me the lecture about turning mares and geldings out together, I KNOW. It's just that this is my only pasture option.)
So I go to get Ms. Mare. She's happy to see me and willingly follows me out of the pasture. As studdy geldings #1 and #2 circle, charge, and otherwise make themselves dangerous. I had to throw three rocks at studdy gelding #1 just to keep him away. Izzy, bless her heart, stayed mostly calm, but it was way too exciting for my tastes.
Studdy gelding #1 always has a total emotional meltdown when I take Izzy out, but this time it's worse because there's another studdy gelding. Izzy was calm enough to tack up, but wasn't terribly responsive to me in our first jaunt down the length of the hay field. Hm... I figure she's distracted by herd drama, but she needs to tune in. We go back into the hayfield, and I started seeing behaviors that I haven't seen from her in months.
As we trooped along, she would slam on the brakes and absolutely refuse to go forward. I'd kick, and she'd start running backwards. I don't even remember the last time she did this. I kept her more or less pointed the right direction and got back on track, but she kept trying it. When that didn't work, she half reared and spun, trying to get back to the barn. (Rearing now? Don't remember the last time she pulled that stunt.) I kept her spinning in circles, then kicked her forward. When she finally reached the end of the field, we turned around and came back. She took a massive spook at a bird flying up and nearly unseated me in a freaking western saddle.
Sigh. It's all interconnected. She's way more upset because studdy gelding #1 is upset and her mind is gone.
We turned into the hayfield again, and this time she was reasonable. I turned her around and came back out, then rode her around the barn area for a while just to make her keep working while both studdy geldings went all crazy go nuts.
Sooooo... I'm very not happy. The pasture situation from my perspective is just plain dangerous. Izzy is and will be fine, but I am not ok with getting charged by massive hormonal geldings just to go for a ride every day. Plus, the reason I wanted Izzy out there was to make her brain happy, which it clearly IS NOT right now.
I'm going out again today. Unless both the boys are total angels and Izzy is absolutely perfect, I'm talking with the BO and some serious changes are in order. This isn't just unpleasant--it's unsafe.