Tuesday, August 16, 2016

When Your Horse Acts Like a Toddler...

Most of the time I have a very well-behaved horse who likes order and routine and tries to be a good girl. And then some days those thoughts seem to fly out of her brain and she becomes a terror. Can you guess what type of day today was? Yep... she was a terror indeed.
I have had a crazy couple of days in my life outside of the barn, so Casey hasn't gotten ridden in two days. I figured that she would be a little bit hyper, so when I got to the barn I decided to give her a free lunge. Both arenas were being used so I had to wait for 15 minutes for one to open up, so I just let Casey graze a bit. She was being a tad testy at this point - trying to drag me from one clump of clover to another. Finally, an arena opened up, so we went in.
Waiting for an arena to open up
Grazing on clovers while we wait
Casey made a big fuss about having to roll. She rolled one way, then got up and back down to roll the other way, and then had to go back to the other side again. Finally, she decided she was done rolling and started galloping around like a crazy beast. She ran for probably 5 minutes straight before calming down and walking over to me and with that I thought that we were done with the craziness.
When I took Casey into the barn to tack up, she started really being a nuisance. She knows that I hate it when she paws at the ground and so has gotten a lot better about not doing that, but today she would look me in the eye, slowly lift up her front hoof, and then slowly paw at the ground. She did this about five times. Enough that I know that she was doing it just to be naughty. Every time she did it I would yell at her or tug at her lead rope, but she didn't care. Finally, we were all ready to go, so we headed off to the arena.
I could tell that it was going to be a rough ride when she wouldn't stand next to the mounting block. I finally was able to hop on and then she didn't want to walk, she wanted to GO FAST! I worked on the bending exercises that my trainer had shown me and nothing was really working. When I asked for a trot I received the-fasted-trot-in-the-whole-world. Casey then decided that circling meant go so fast that I was worried we would fall over. After a lot of verbal reprimands and so many half halts, Casey finally decided that she would go at a medium-fast trot. At this point, I was just happy that we weren't speed-trotting.
Giving me side-eye for asking her to slow walk
When I asked for a canter, Casey again decided to be a speed demon. She basically galloped the first lap in the arena before choosing to go at a fast canter. When we got to the jumping part of the ride I was expecting her to be a little less terrible because she is actually easier to deal with when jumping than straight flatwork, but she was still hot and crazy. We jumped four or five tiny cavalettis and then I decided to just be done. She was listening but was just too energetic to really get her in work-mode. We walked off and then headed back into the barn.
Look at those attitude-y ears
Back in the barn, Casey resumed being a terror. She tried to knock down all of the blankets and saddle pads as she turned around in the cross tie area, she pawed at the ground, she stomped her feet, and was just being bratty. When I led her back to her paddock she decided that she had to sniff absolutely everything and knocked over a bunch of feed buckets.
Sweaty and tired, but still being a terror
Even though the ride was a bit frustrating, I can't be too upset with Casey. I really do think that she just gets bored and so when I don't ride her every day she just kind of explodes into a bored mess. When I told my trainer about Casey's behavior she told me she thinks Casey is the kind of horse that just needs to be worked every day. While I will never be able to ride Casey every single day I now know not to skip more than one day!
Pretending to be obedient 
What behaviors do your horses have that drive you bonkers? How many days can you go without riding them before they turn into terrors?

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