So last night was one of those nights with the horses. Nothing went according to plan and I had a near mental breakdown over it.
I imagined I would have to lower my expectations with a baby horse added to the herd, but I didn’t anticipate that Copper would be the one to challenge these expectations, or at least not on the ground. Joey has been easy, and hopefully will continue to be that way, but if he isn’t, it is likely because he’s young and ignorant. Copper’s actions last night weren’t the products of lack of training, etc. but of pure assholery.
First of all, when I brought him in the barn, he whacked me in the face with his face. Probably not intentionally, but a by-product of being an ass who wasn’t paying attention to my personal space. I then tied him and he proceeded to whirl around like a fidget spinner while neighing frantically to all the things. When he kept this up when I was trying to groom him, I got annoyed quickly. There’s nothing like having a 16.2 beast fling his body at you to make you walk to the tack trunk for your crop. After getting popped in the belly a couple of times, my whoa command finally stuck. I proceeded with brushing him off and moved on to picking out his feet. The front feet went well, but when I got to the first hind foot, he refused to pick it up.
This is a horse that mostly lifts his leg when you run your hand down it, so the fact that he planted his foot was a clear sign that he just didn’t want to put up with me. I tapped him lightly with the crop as a reminder that grown, trained horses who act like ignorant assholes get twacked and shoved his hip over to put the weight on the opposite hind foot. He still didn’t budge. I went to his head and led him forward a bit, and boom, the fidget spinner was back. So basically I was only allowed to have fully engaged whoa with all four feet in solid contact with the ground (you know, except for when he allowed me to pick the front feet…) or crazed spinning horse.
At this point you may be thinking that I’d had a bad day, etc. That my mood may be influencing my horse. Nope. Good, boring day with nothing to trigger a bad mood in me. I caught him and quietly led him in after graining him and all was well until he decided to completely disregard my bubble when he whacked me with his face.
So I lifted the crop in my hand and said WHOA firmly and luckily didn’t have to hit the loon again. He stood mostly still for me to saddle him (he did turn away from me quickly neighing once, but since it was away from me and not towards me with his butt, I decided to continue to cinch him up and to pick my battles. I can handle stupidity until it puts me in harms way.
I slipped his halter off and put on the rope halter. I said to him, “you know, it isn’t a compliment to go back in a rope halter at 10 years old…” I led him into the field where the mares and foals are to lunge him around to determine if he’s sound. Honestly, at this point, I almost need someone else to look at him. I took videos of our awful lunging last night if anyone wants to see them. He’s still not tracking up at the trot, but otherwise I don’t think I see anything amiss?
I had no intent to ride him yesterday (especially after his foul behavior influenced my mood so much) but had tacked him to lunge in order to get him back in the mindset that he’s a riding horse. I saw a dressage schooling show scheduled nearby and June and though, hmm, maybe…but last night has set me back on that mentally.
He was mostly sane when I untacked him and led him up to his pasture, but then he saw the electric fence and slowly started to come unglued. I still had the rope halter on him and had picked up my crop as well. When I tried to take him through the first time, he literally shoved me out of the way and slammed into the gate, bouncing it out of my hand and releasing his pasture mate in with the mares and foals. She’s a broodmare and loves the babies, so I didn’t see any issue with leaving her in there until I’d resolved things with him.
So he and I walked through the opening several time. He was still on high alert when he walked through the last time, but the fact that I got him through it at a walk without me being ran over and while leading him from the correct side was an accomplishment.
Meanwhile the big colt (not Joey) was attempting to breed the broodmare who Copper set free. The only issue here (other than the May/November aspect of this relationship…or more like January-December lol) was that this mare is his sire’s mother. Holy “linebreeding.” He was never successful in his intents, but she was offering and he was trying to take, so, while it took every bit of 30 to 45 minutes to catch the predator, she finally ended up back with Copper.
I guess I’ll pull him in again tonight and try to establish a routine with him. Lord help him if he acts similarly tonight… I am going to go ahead and have him tested for PSSM though. His sister died mysteriously at a very young age and apparently some of the issues that I have with him look like symptoms. I really just want Copper to be a normal, functioning 10 year old gelding that is a reflection of his abilities and the time and money that I’ve sunk into him over the years. I think that was most of my frustration last night. I’ve literally put more into this horse than any creature that I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing and he throws it back in my face and says “lol, no” to me far more often than a horse of his quality and training should.
A’s husband, S, said something that stuck with me the other day when we were feeding. Copper was being an ass (I assume) because of the electric fence that we had just finished putting up. I was literally having to chase him around the field with the bucket to get him to eat his grain/drugs for his Lyme disease. S said something along the lines of “there are too many good horses out there to put up with problem ones.” If the results come back and he’s PSSM negative and I’m just straight up putting up with asshole behavior, it’ll be hard to talk myself into sinking anymore money into him going forward outside of basic care. I had hopes of sending him to a dressage trainer once he’s sound, but if he’s just going to come home afterwards and be like this, I’m not sure it is worth it to me.