Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Yellow Peril

My yellow mare and I are at war.

I am not amused and she isn't either, so I'm guessing she feels like we're at war too.

She has always been kind of a fart. She's complicated and dramatic and would love to pull everyone around her into her version of how life should be.

This year she has decided she is afraid of everything from a blanket thrown over a fence to someone coming out of the indoor from 100 yards away. I know I'm supposed to feel sorry for her and go back to colt starting 101 with her, but I don't have the patience. Because the little snot bucket is not afraid.

She has just amped up her drama to get her point across. Part of her problem is she's not in training anymore. She doesn't spend half her life tied to a rail, most of the other half standing in a box stall, with just a little bit of turn out and about 45 minutes of butt busting work a day. Now she hangs with her best homie, Rosie in a big pen, with lots of sun and food and clean water. She gets a proper warm up before she works and doesn't have to do a bunch of hock busting, ligament stretching exercises anymore.

My little yellow piss ant has decided she very much likes the non-pro life, but would prefer to eliminate all riding except working cows. She has been trying to get me to see the light in ever increasing dramatic scenes.

The way she has pointed out her preferences in the last few weeks has been a combination of becoming completely buddy sour with her pen mate Rosie and adding the previously mentioned spooking at air. She first tried to get my attention by spooking like a bunny at every flap or clunk or dust riffle she could find. I ignored her and started getting her out alone more often.

She added wild, anguished whinnying when I didn't seem to get her drift.Rosie helped by crying her little heart out too. I continued to try to ignore Her Highness and figured more work would help her get her mind back between the reins where it belonged.

She begged to differ. Since I continued to tune her out she decided she should clarify her position and started trying to buck me off when she firmly felt I just wasn't getting it. It went down like this. I got on the yellow beastie and headed out on the trail. She has been improving on our solo rides and knows I'll leave her be as long as she walks and trots where I tell her to.

She has also learned to keep her feet moving while flipping her bug-eyed head around and screaming like she was just thrown in a well at the same time. "Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!Wheeeeeee!!!!!," Madonna shrieked. She stalled out, shook her head and got a little light in the front. I settled into my seat, pushed my calf into her side and picked up my reins, and got ready to kick her hip out.

Little Darling knocked it off, returned to a fast, yet civilised walk and continued on our way. No discipline from me, I just relaxed and let her go.

"Aheeeeeeee!" the butt munch suddenly wailed and jumped 20 feet to the side as an elderly gentleman and his basset hound came around the corner and headed towards us on the trail. She kept snorting at the basset. Couldn't really blame her. I mean I'm sure it smelled like a dog, but it sure didn't look like any dog she's ever seen before. I hustled her past and we continued on our way.

Her anxiety seemed to be increasing, but she was trying to settle into a steady walk, so we headed home.We had probably covered maybe half a mile at this point. Our trail home takes us along a road above the stable. At one point Madonna can look straight down a steep hill into her pen. She and Rosie began to scream like a couple of banshees, Rosie bucked and blew around the pen at a good clip and Madonna tried to come undone. I kicked her hip around and we got into some fairly serious leg yields. She pulled it together and we continued down the road. When we dropped down into the open on our way to the barn she went for it.

When Madonna bucks she comes up in the front first. It's not really a rear, think of the Lipizzaners and a levade.While she's hanging out up there she lets out a little "Eeeeee!" and shakes her head, attractively mussing her white mane. Then it's a leap, spin and buck!

Not as hard to sit as it is unnerving. She can't really buck, if she decides to go for it there's not much to worry about, but that's not the point. The point is, she is 8 years old and IT IS TIME TO FREAKING KNOCK IT OFF! Ahem.

So I pulled her rotten little chin to my knee and kicked the crap out of her to the left for awhile. then I pulled her by her chinny chin chin to the right and kicked her around that way for awhile.

About then the barn owner Jay drove by laughing his butt off. "Having a good ride?" he asked sweetly.We walked into the yard with her tail curled over back like a malamute, head straight in the air and wailing her wacky little heart out the whole way.

The next day I came over at lunch, towed her sorry little self out to the creek in the trees where she couldn't see any other horses. I tied her high and safe and left her sobbing her buggy little eyes out. Jay said he'd put her up when he fed that night. I thanked him and went back to work.

The next day I did the same thing. Except after work I met my friend Kathy and we loaded the girls up and went to go cut. When we unloaded, Miss Prissy Pants decided it was time to make herself perfectly clear. She began to spook and jump and whinny like a fool and Rosie was standing right there.

She hollered at the dog. She hollered at the cuttin' guys horse, she screamed at the cows. When I got on her she spooked at the back of the truck, the arena, the arena fence, the shadows and the sunny spots. While we warmed up she shrieked and skittered and spooked some more.

I know what some of you are thinking. "Is she sore?" you might ask. "Is she in season? Has she been eating loco weed?" To which I reply, "No, yes, no and it really doesn't matter."

Any trace of sympathy went out the window when we walked into the pen to cut our first cow. Now she wasn't worried about a thing. The fun was about to begin.

Madonna lowered her head and ghosted into the herd. She waited and watched while the cows swirled around us. As we pushed three or four ahead of us her head dropped a little more and she snaked at them a little, getting them out a little farther. I could feel her hindquarters gather underneath her like she was going to spring as we held our choice and let the other two skitter back to the herd.

One heifer kicked her heels as she went by.My eye started to follow her, but my mare was so intent on our quarry she didn't even flick an ear.I yanked myself back in the game just as the cow spun and bolted toward the wall.

Our first turn was clean and sharp and we had control of our cow before it made it across the pen.I had dropped my hand three strides in and Madonna's head dropped even lower. We turned and turned and turned again. She held her line straight and true, I had to use my legs only a few times and my hand once.

She brought the cow to the middle and we held her there until she quit. I rubbed her neck. "Now I remember why I've got you!"

"Eeeeee! Eeeeeee!" She spooked at a folding chair against the arena wall.


  1. Sounds like a fun ride to me! I have always enjoyed a horse that knew its job and brought it all to the table, but gave me a challenge in the interim. Maybe she just wants to be a dressage horse? That level of drama would be an asset!

  2. Have her eyes checked.

    My boy started the stupid spooking at nothing, and had major behavior changes, but it turned out to be due to a vision problem. It can't hurt to rule it out.

    If the vision checks out, well then, in my world the yellow demon would be living by herself. And she'd be tired, because if she has the energy to be a drama queen, she has the energy to work at something other than cows. Like dressage, or the version of that with a stock saddle

  3. Juli- we think along the same lines. Trust me, when she's not in season and she's not jonesing on Rosie she can see just fine.
    I want my horse to leave her buddy when I want her to, not because I move them apart. Which is why I'm staking her out. She'll learn she can leave and come back because I'm capable of getting her through the ordeal alive.
    The problem with dressage is the same problem reining horses who try to become cow horses have.
    A good cow horse is an independant thinker.A cutter even more so.
    While I do use training techniques shared with the dressage world, they're pretty basic. Shoulders in, haunches in, transitions, lead changes, half pass, leg yield, bending and flexing, and so on.
    But I can't have a horse waiting for every signal to come from me.
    She has to engage her own brain as needed.
    When she is like this I can bring her to me with arena work. It might take some time, but I get her.
    But I think my work on her needs to be out of the arena, not in it.
    When I can hit the trail and get the same work out there I do in the arena I think I'll finally be able to call the little monster broke.

  4. forehead smack.

    Horses can be so frustrating eh? I've done that tail up eyes bugging out ride so many times. And people who didn't know better would say, "oh he's so handsome!" Gah. I'm old enough now that it's just not fun anymore. So I get what you're saying here.

    So back to the wet saddle blankets eh?

  5. I thought you were writing about my 4 year old mare for a few minutes. Her momma was bred to be a cutter, her dad is a deluxe rope horse and is now doing working cow horse. I wanted her for a working cow horse. But she definitely got the cutter gene. She can't lope a circle without finding something to spook at. She can't walk from the arena to the stalls with out duck and jiving. She is to damn independent to have a herd buddy. Several months ago I was about at my wits end with her and the trainer where I board said - try cutting. Those cutters are all like that. Boy was he right. I took her to a cutting horse trainer and she can dial in like a pro. She will work a cow in the indoor and do a bang up job even after only 6 weeks and then spook at the gate she cames in and goes out of. Lately I have been doing some trail riding along with taking cutting lessons on her - not so many circles. She is doing much better at not giving me those big whirling, side jumping spooks, just the little jump in place spooks. I think that the narrow trails is helping with that. She seems to have a sense of self preservation! Thank goodness.

  6. Mmmm, I can't quite see Mugs missing a sight problem or something physical so I think I'll stick to my first reaction which was snickering ruefully. Besides, a problem that is not a problem when the horse is doing something that they want to do is really not a problem at all in my book.

    I'm a little thoughtful about this.
    The problem with dressage is the same problem reining horses who try to become cow horses have.
    A good cow horse is an independent thinker. A cutter even more so.

    But I can't have a horse waiting for every signal to come from me. She has to engage her own brain as needed.

    I've heard versions of this from a couple of old-timey hunters and a few eventers. Except it's not a consistently held view. What is consistently held is that a horse has to be able to think for themselves and call the shots under certain circumstances and you have to be able to trust them to do so, to find that fifth leg across country when you need it. I don't know anyone (sucessful anyway!) who lets their horse call the shots all the time.
    I just don't see why you can't have both - I know I have come across some horses who can barely handle one job, but the brighter horses imo, actually benefit from learning new jobs and new rules. Certainly, if a full time competing / breeding stallion can learn that headcollar means stable/field, headcollar+boots means lorry, chifney means teasing, chifney+tail bandage means cover, dressage saddle means schooling, jump saddle means cross-country/galloping and behave appropriately... I don't see why a bright mare like yours can't learn that there are different rules for cutting / arena/ trail.

    I said I was thoughtful and maybe I'm missing something - I've never ridden a cow horse or a cutter - nor have I competed at 4*, (but I've worked with and ridden horses who have) and I have hunted and done long distance trekking, and for each I have ridden horses who knew the rules were different out of the arena.

  7. I was wondering the same thing FD. I always thought that "most" horses benefit from variety and the more intelligent ones needed that stimulation. Also the different disciplines give work to different muscles.

    But most of all I think a lot of horses would benefit from long sweaty trail rides.

    And Mugs you are waaaayyyyy braver than I could ever be. I'd be a nervous wreck if I had a mare like that :D

  8. Oh Lordie ... I have her twin sister

  9. Maybe you have my horse in your corral instead of your own! haha seriously thought you were writing about Sugar.

  10. Kel - I think you and I are in the same boat...I hope we're on the right track. It will be fun to compare notes as we go along. the draw of the trail is twofold for me, I love the adventure, and it takes a thinking horse to be a good trail horse.

  11. Funder and Mommyrides - Don't forget, Madonna is a money earning, pointed reined cow horse.
    I use dressage based training to train.
    She has been on hiatus for 2+ years and has decided to show me what happens when I treat a sensitive, high powered horse like a pasture pet.
    The fine line I'm talking about is very fine.
    I am not an accomplished student of dressage, I only have learned to use the tools that fit my discipline.
    But I know for a solid fact that a finished reiner very rarely ever succeeds as a cowhorse and I would venture to say they never make a big hit in the cutting pen.
    A champion reiner relies on his rider to guide every movement. A champion cutter and a champion cowhorse will continue to work the cow if their rider falls off.
    I have always thought its because cow work makes sense to a horse. Running patterns does not. They do it only because we tell them to.
    Since I want to save Madonna's legs for the next 20 years or so I'm staying out of the heavy arena work and focusing on her confidence in me.
    Trail work should be the answer.
    And although this conversation is getting a little deep, I hope you all get I thunk the whole situation is pretty funny.

  12. My mare is exactly like this. Some days she if FINE, nothing bothers her. Others, EVERYTHING IS GOING TO EAT HER!! I swear she LOOKS for things to spook at, and lacking anything, will just spook at nothing. Makes me want to make a rug. A nice horse-hide rug. You are 6, it is time to stop this crap. The undesirable part of having an intelligent, hyper-aware horse.

  13. Bwahahahahahahahahaha!

    "she lets out a little "Eeeeee!" and shakes her head, attractively mussing her white mane."

    Mugwump, how in the world did someone like you end up with such a pretty, pretty princess horse?

  14. Hah! My mare is exactly the same -- but reversed! She's a hot little (red, of course!) Arab cross mare, but trailer her out to a trail and she's sensibility on 4 legs: pleasantly forward, interested but not on alert, soft mouthed and happy to do what I ask. We can start out with a group and leave them behind, no problem. No spook, no drama. the newer the trail is to her, the better behaved she is.

    Saddle her up and take her into the upper pasture on our property, however, and you have a completely different horse: "oh, no!" she'll scream, "we're all aloooooone in the pasture I see every day! Something's gonna eeeeeeaaat meeeeee!" She will scream, ear-splittingly, for the herdmates she can see or those just out of sight FOR HOURS. She won't really spook, but works herself up into such hysteria that that she tries to bash around the pasture at full gallop without watching where she puts her feet. It's unnerving.

    Then you take this frothy, mindlessly hysterical bunch of nerves out the gate to the trail on the property, and she says "Hey look, a trail! Later, suckers! I'm going trailriding!" and jaunts quietly, happily down the trail again, with only the froth slinging off her shoulders as evidence of her near death experience in the Pasture of Doom.

  15. Okay! Anonymous gets my vote.hehe. Love this terrified puddle of horseflesh who comes fully together on the trail.
    I love all the stories. I ride a super slow, easy minded confident gelding who spooks two inches - raises his head two inches. Not the excitement you guys are sharing. Thanks for the virtual adventures in mare-manship. ;-}

  16. Gawd, they are just such DORKS sometimes.

    Sounds like somebody's too fit for their own good. Wet saddle blankets indeed. (OTOH, the side effect of that is that they get even fitter, and require even more work to take the edge off.)

  17. HaHaHa! Are you sure you are not tuned into my place?

    I'll write about it on my blog, but my mare & my boarder mare are in season...and since my gelding has *no* interested in them, even when they rub their butts into his face, they have decided that they don't need a man, and are totally attached at the ...well, vagina...right now!

    They even won't come in to I lock them outside until they come to me. And my mare (who has time off for a minor hip injury) now gets lunged in the am every day to remind her who is the boss mare around here!

    Good luck with must be in the air! Mares!!

  18. Oh, I feed them twice a day plus hay...they do eventually come in when they hear the pellets hit the buckets...but when I say so! LOL!

  19. Becky- I do not know. I am mocked about it on a regular basis.

    Anon.- I love it!! If we kept our mares together they would either cure each other or quit trying to waork at anything...

  20. Thanks, everyone! It's good to know the situation is as funny to other folks as it is in my head.

    Mugs, I'm nowhere near you -- I'm up in Indiana -- but if I end up in your neighborhood after grad school you can bet I'll be taking you up on that offer! I'll just have to hope your Prissy Pants is more persuasive than my Prissy Pants inside the arena -- at 17, my mare is pretty well convinced that she's too old to learn new tricks ... unless she comes up with them herself! I should tell you about how we learned to levitate up sheer arena walls to avoid getting her precious feet muddy sometime...

  21. Oh God, MARES! Either you love 'em, or you stake 'em out for hours on end.

    I feel for you - I really do. It's just that I have a mare too....and she used to have many of the same tendancies - especially while she was in heat.

  22. Hi--First time poster and can't remember my blog ID. Anyway, Madonna sounds like the little sister of my 22 year old mare. I've come to the conclusion it's a palomino thing. Some kind of yet to be discovered color-gene linked "issue". I won't say "defect" because when Starlett channels all that drama in a productive way and has her game on, she is the best ride in the world!

  23. Long time reader, had to comment on this one. A fellow owner of an OPINIONATED yellow mare, whom I call my beastie, this resonates our experience. My idiot savant loves jumps as much as yours likes cows, and cannot hardly stand any of the flat work that will make our jumping life safer. Spooking is her number one way to get out of work. She is not a fearful horse, just spooky, more like dramatic. Prima donna. She is also 8. My chiropractor and farrier have both said that all the yellow horses they know (especially the ones with any dorsal or dun traits) have this er, um keen sense of self preservation. They are a pain is the a** 90%, but the other 10, well, golden!

  24. My girl isn't yellow, but I call her my "Valley Girl" horse.

    *in airhead voice*

    "Like, Oh Em Gee! I was like, going down the trail, and there was like, this biiiig stick in the way. I like, SO thought it was a SNAKE! I was soooooooo scared, but mom like, made me go look at it and I was all like, Oh Em Gee, just a silly stick! Duh."

    Yeah, that's my girl. She's worse in the spring. Sigh, some days I just wonder about her.

  25. Mugs, you are not giving me the warm fuzzies about getting on my yellow mare this spring! she is 3, and already showing a lot of independent attitude.

  26. The yellow mare needs a new name...


    Pretty princess pony.

    I think you typing the sound effects she makes is so funny! Have fun with her, Lucas is in boot camp too, time to remember what being a show horse is about.

  27. justaplainsam- my daughter has called her "pretty pocket pony princess" for years.

  28. Oh, this made me laugh. What a mare! Now to make her believe she has a job when riding the trails...maybe get her to carry a stick, lol. You know what I'm jonesing for?? Pictures of Madonna! Sorry, she's just an intensely gorgeous horse.

  29. The stories about your yellow mare always make me smile :) I don't know how I'd survive having a horse like that... though at least she keeps you on your toes :) And I do love horses with personality.

    Anyway, like FD, I've been thinking about your comment that:

    The problem with dressage is the same problem reining horses who try to become cow horses have.
    A good cow horse is an independent thinker. A cutter even more so.

    But I can't have a horse waiting for every signal to come from me. She has to engage her own brain as needed.

    ...which is a problem I've been wondering about too, as I'm an eventer. I want my horse to use his own brain on cross and show jumping (because god knows he's better at picking distances than I am) but it's hard in dressage.

    And I think that's the major problem in eventing today, not the cross, but the dressage, with the horses learning to wait for the rider's cues to do anything. Because then, you're out on cross country and going to screw up a jump majorly (read: flip) and horse, instead of fixing things, goes "I'll wait for mommy to tell me what to do"...

    What I'd really like to be able to do is take clicker training/shaping and somehow transfer it onto the horse's back? I also do dog agility... the handler tells the dog what to do, yes (ie signals there is a tight turn left after the jump) but it's up to the dog to figure out how to do it (ie switches to left lead and collects up to allow for the tight turn). I think it's a good balance between obeying handler/thinking for oneself and I'd like to transfer it to horseback riding...

    And, of course, I want to ask you how to do that :) but if you could figure that out (how to train a horse to think for itself only when the rider wants it to) you'd probably be the most famous trainer in the world... and I know from your blog posts, it's still a work in progress to find the balance.

    Argh, it's frustrating, though...

  30. I feel I have the happy medium between thinking independently – and doing what I say with a reiner/work horse/cutter.

    First the bad news – I have a gelding who is probably bred similar to your mare and he shies and shies and shies. He is 14 now and doesn’t shy much around the farm any more. A trainers comment when he was 8 –“ He is the oldest 2yo I have ever ridden”. I forgive him because he was a highly talented reiner who would shy so much under show conditions that you cant get him shown properly – so he was scratched by a trainer and so I got to own this highly trained highly talented horse I otherwise wouldn’t have, I just cant expect to show well.

    I think this horse didn’t want to be a reiner and his way out of it was to shy at the arena walls. He is a Smart Little Lena grandson and is super cowy and very intelligent. Reining was too boring and he got a bee in his bonnet. I have been told that many of his brothers and sisters also shy and are prone to a bee in the bonnet also – they also say you cant pull them off a beast and my fella is like that.

    It is thought there may be a vision abnormality that is genetic that makes them like this.

    As a 5yo who had never been out the arena I used him for stock work on a sheep and cattle property that was seriously steep. It made a horse out of him – didn’t stop him shying though. I just wore a hard hat, held the horn full time, left the reins loose, and got used to it. We had 3000+ sheep to mind and no dog so he got serious work. All that great reining training is there in my hand flat out across country after stock and it is a buzz.

    I knew I could go down the fence one handed at a show because I did it half way up a mountain at home. So I took him in the AQHA nationals (Australia) and entered in the cowhorse with no arena practice (cause I had none) and in front of a few thousand people got him through the pattern. It is my biggest horsey achievement. I also won but there were only 4 entries (love those fence turns).

    I really want to do working cowhorse but there are no competitions here in Australia apart from the AQHA nationals so I had him trained as a cutter. He loves it. I am a work in progress.

    Things that work for me across country :

    We have an agreement – I show the horse where to go and it is his job to get me there. If I have an opinion I let him know, if I don’t I let him choose to go right or left around a log etc.

    Riding down a track is too easy for silly busy minded horses who are full of themselves. For me it works when I take a horse into very rough country – no tracks. Make them go where they are scared to go and it is hard for them and they have to rely on you, so you must make the outcome good for them. Heavy timber branches, steep rocks, water creeks and bogs are great. Having a job to do like running down sick sheep is great.

    Nothing like a paddock of thistle to make a horse watch where it is going and think, even at speed.

    Once a horse has some sort of foundation in one discipline and understands the job they can be shifted to another and work out the context. They are clever enough. It might not work if you want to be at the tip top in a competition – I don’t know.

  31. you just described my 10 y/o princess mare to a tee, other than she doesn't cut. It make me so ANGRY! When her buddy isnt there she is a dream, but God forbid Stylin get out of sight. I normally go off on my own when she starts her crap we may go off in the woods for hours untill I finally get her attention back. That is never before I have a dripping wet horse. I wish I could attach a picture, I have a mouth open screaming, blonde hair flinging one that shows it perfectly!

  32. Australian anon. I love the idea of slamming her through brush and bogs after runaway sheep. Not only would it be fun, it would do so much for her head.
    We do go cross country, the tougher the situation the better she behaves.
    A failed reiner could simply be in the wrong sport- too independant to put up with the demand.Which would certainly make me want to put her on a cow.
    I guess that's not saying much, I'd put every horse to cross my path on cattle if I could.
    I don't mind her spook, it's the screaming nonsense that gets to me.

    Rispah - Eventing must have many of the same problems as we do in to keep them obedient, but when to let them think on their own.
    It has to be possible though because I've seen (only on TV) the beautiful, spectacular work done by the top competitors. It just blows my mind.

  33. Mugs and several others have it right. The undesirable behavior is only evidenced when they're being asked to do something they'd rather not.

    Wet saddle blankets are the answer. Once they're working
    full time, they aren't quite so committed to their bad behavior. It's too much work.

    I'm curious whether anyone has this problem with a horse that works hard on a regular basis.

    I don't consider it spooking. I think it's a tantrum dressed like a spook.

    We either have to work hard at fixing the problem or we have to work hard at enduring the problem.

    Only we can decide if it's worth it.

  34. See, I've got my problem with the opposite gender! My little Appy mare is as smart as they come, with the Appy stubborness to boot, but if she didn't want to do something my way, she would just stop until things went her way again. Now, my idiot of a Shire/paint gelding is 18 hands of mindless spook. We do jumpers, and we can ride a course through any scariness. Ask him to do some collecte flatwork through the same area, and I'm lucky I've got a velcro butt! He does get a lot better when he's worked daily. Damn thing ended up breaking my back though, so we'll see how he'll be after 9 to 10 months off though!

  35. Oh, how I hate buddy sourness. Luckily, my mare is not. She'll try it once or twice & then realize its too much work to worry so much. My son's mare, on the other hand, is the "Red Dun Peril". He's all but stopped riding and I don't have the guts for fighting her. If I trailer her out and none of her herdmates are nearby, we do okay, but if we try to leave home or her herdmates, its rock & roll time...

  36. Mocha's not herd bound, but she does have tendencies that way. I recognize the Prissy Princess mode, however...we spent several years practicing splashing through mud puddles. The noises she makes are kinda like your yellow gal, though Mocha also has a very opinionated grunt as well.

    As to crossing disciplines...I find that switching tack really helps. Mocha is a pattern horse (dear Lord, with her breeding she ought to be, either that or a cutter) but the desire to herd is really starting to kick in. She shows interest in tracking the dogs, tracking the pony mule....anyway.

    I find that changing tack will give a smart horse a solid cue about what's going on. I figure any broke horse should be able to do what you ask, whether they're wearing a sidepull, curb or French link snaffle, and by the time you get to higher level movements, it's more a matter of figuring out how to use the different tack in a helpful way. I introduce moves in English tack, perfect in Western.

    Anyway. I've written a post about it somewhere.

  37. We have a very long hard trail that goes up the side of a nice steep mountain near our place. It is 10 miles up and10 miles down, some of the hardest rough riding around. About three quarters of the way up we have what we call a Coming To Jesus Party. Walking is good and standing is a godsend, look at me I can walk nice and quiet. Look how well I can stand quietly. Wet saddle blankets, no better training tool

  38. My 23yr old gelding acts this way some days. Does the OMG!!! you put the other horses halter on first and then he must be leaving, I should throw a fit and run in and out of my stall. Then the rest of the day its, OMG did you see that? what about that over there? think it might get me? No you idiot its been there the whole time. Well I need to snort and pitch a fit over it any way. Then the next day it's a great ride and no biggie.

    honestly I cheat sometimes and just give him be calm. Enough of the edge worn off him and he is perfect. I can ride him 5 days a week and then one day its yeehaw I'm an idiot. he gives me a warning so those are the times I just drug his butt. I really do one day want him to act his age, he has not changed in the 21 years that I have owned him. I try new things to make him quit trying to be barn and horse sour, we ride out and when we get back, no matter what, I make him work in the arena. My friends mare hates going home now. She told me about that trick. Last time he was a nut case I did that and the next ride was a good one. He was soaked by the time we were done, more because everything was going to eat him and I had to find something he would exel at so we could quit for the day. Took me a long time to find the one thing and let him be done

  39. "Riding down a track is too easy for silly busy minded horses who are full of themselves. For me it works when I take a horse into very rough country – no tracks. Make them go where they are scared to go and it is hard for them and they have to rely on you, so you must make the outcome good for them. Heavy timber branches, steep rocks, water creeks and bogs are great. Having a job to do like running down sick sheep is great."

    Yeah, this... I always try to put my mare on hills when she's acting dumb, it helps alot to get her focused.

    My mare likes to do this little number where she'll attempt to do something several times, and I don't let her, say, lie down while being ridden, run off, etc. She's smart enough to figure out how to do what she wants without giving me any warning... happened on our trail ride yesterday, we were long-trotting and she wanted to run, I wouldn't let her so she decided to just leap and buck into a dead gallop.

    It was interesting... thankfully my riding lessons have given me a better seat so I just hung in there and made her run.... got her fool head back a little so I at least had steering and when she was ready to stop I kicked her right back up... Probably sounds like second nature to a lot of you guys but until very recently I would have been flopping around thinking "OMG gonna fall, one-rein stop!"