Sunday, March 2, 2008

Brat!



Oy... I'm not very happy with Vega today. I went out to the stables today with my mom and my little sister Moriah, she has been dying to see Vega. When I went to go catch him he just ran from me, I don't mean the little games of keep away that he plays with me from time to time, I mean he was full out "You're not catching me today SUCKER!" I could not believe him! He has not run from me that bad since I first got him. It was a complete act of defiance. Lately he has been so good for me, coming straight to me most of the time.... Boy, not so today.

We played Mary-Go-Round around the round bail holder for probably forty-five minutes. Then he took off across the pasture at a taunting slow jog. He headed straight for one corner of the pasture and I was horrified to find that part of the electric fencing was down. I was certain that he was going to hop over that fence and disappear into the woods, I would never catch him then. I prayed out loud to God and miraculously Vega spun around and ran back the way he came. Thank you LORD.

He went back to the hay holder where the other horses were. By this time I had been out there for nearly an hour, I was exhausted and seriously thought I was going to faint. Finally, when I was beginning to think I would never catch him, I did. Thanks to a little misdirection from my mom, a little false security provided by Vega's buddy Tutle, and a little bribery by means of a treat (which I don't normally recommend) I was finally able to get a halter on his head. We were both drenched with sweat by this time, thankfully it was a pretty balmy, breezy day. I pet him all over showing him that he had nothing to fear and that, even though I felt like throwing my boot at him, I still loved him.

I allowed him to get a drink and then I lunged him in the pasture for a good five to ten minutes. Even then he stood in defiance against me! I could not believe what a brat he was being! I finally got him to relaxe and submit. I allowed him another drink of water and then brought him to the barn to feed him.

From that point on I continued our routine as though it were any other day, including a good half hour of lunge work in the round pen. I don't care if he worked himself into a racehorse's sweat while I was trying to catch him, being a brat isn't going to get him out of work. Thankfully he did pretty good in the round pen, though he did seem to be sulking and didn't want join up with me at first (for those who don't know, Join Up basically means that I get him to follow me around the pen without using a lead rope, this demonstrates that I've gained his trust and respect), he eventually did though. When we were done I groomed him and checked his legs to make sure he hadn't injured himself in the wild goose chase. He was good.

Then, when I thought all his antics were over with for the day, he pulls another one on me. As I'm opening the gate to put him back in the pasture he pushes right past me, I mean pushing me through the gate out of his way to get through, he nearly knocked me over! He has NEVER done that before! I'm telling you, I was not going to let him get away with that. I'll make it clear now to everyone that I NEVER beat my horse, EVER. Beating achieves nothing, only to further frighten the horse. But I will swing and bump a rope at him in order to get him to move out of my space, and that is exactly what I did. I schooled him in the paddock for another five minutes getting him to back up, back up, back up out of my space. I'd let him stand and think about that for awhile and then kindly ask him to approach me, petting him all over and rubbing him wherever I bumped him. By the end he was very apologetic, lowing his head and licking his lips (a sign of submission). I spent a few more minutes letting him know I still loved him. We ended on a good note.

I still can't believe how he acted today. I've never seen him so defiant before. My guess is that he was responding to all of the respect training I've been doing with him lately. Today he just decided "I don't want to work today, she can't tell me what to do! Let me see how far she will really go to be the boss of me." All horses test their trainers from time to time... I guess this was just one of those times.

To say the least, I'm exhausted. I'll be going out again tomorrow morning to make sure he's behaving himself.

I still love him, and I think he still likes me, but it's clear to me that we still have a lot of work to do.

Miranda