High Holy Mass Of Equine Contradictions!

I threw some food on the kitchen counter for the kids, wrote them a note, and headed East.  I was excited and nervous and running late.  I was on my way to ride “Little Miss Thang”, a 9yr old mare whose owner needs to thin her herd a little.  I had already met Miss Thang, she had impeccable ground manners and was pretty well trained.  I drove up the gravel drive, towards the barn, and her pack of large pit-bull looking dogs announced my arrival.  We were to ride together that day, but circumstances changed and I would be riding alone, in a strange place, on a strange horse.  We headed to the barn, where Miss Thang was waiting in a stall.  We brushed her, saddled her, and up I went.  This is when it got real.  Apparently, I was her first man.  She had nothing but female riders, and she decided that I was to be tested.  She immediately broke into a cantor, then on to a full gallop.  I pulled hard on the right rein and brought her around ok, but when I instructed her to head back where we came from, she brought both of her front feet off the ground, and my sphincter tightened a bit.  It seems I was too loose on her reins, and she was determined to show me how unwise that was.  After a few minutes, she reluctantly agreed to what I asked her to do, and we proceeded thru the gate, out onto a narrow trail, fraught with peril.  Uneven creek beds, slippery rocks, low slung branches and numerous spider webs awaited.  She negotiated all of this in a sure footed manner, but I just know she was having a bit of fun running me close to jagged branches so I’d have to lay flat across her withers.  At some point, I think, we reached an agreement about how much reining she needed.  I was exhausted in minutes, so I turned her around and we walked briskly back, thru the gate, and out onto a rocky, neglected pasture.  Back on the ground, she was again the epitome of good manners, she kept a respectful distance, stopped when I did, and kept her eyes on me at all times.  I took her back to the barn, removed her tack, and let her join her friends out in the front pasture.  I’m torn.  I like this horse.  She, like another I have, came from an abusive home, so she has some issues.  She is not for the feint of heart to ride.  On the ground, she does everything but fix you a glass of sweet-tea.  Do I have the patience and experience to make her a dependable rider?  I don’t know.  I’d love the challenge, but I’m slightly concerned about introducing yet another mare into our herd.  I need to think on this awhile.

However, Tomorrow is the day Feisty Lady arrives.  We traded for her last month, and she is scheduled for delivery on Monday!  I’ll post a pic if I can borrow B’s camera.  Yeah!

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “High Holy Mass Of Equine Contradictions!

  1. bridgett

    Geez, is this another “horse as metaphor” post? Running too many mares indeed can get a feller in trouble. Bad for herd dynamics.

    But seriously, since you ride an hour for every fifteen that you put in caring for an animal on the ground, ground manners count for a lot, especially if the kids are going to be caring for her.

  2. Agreed, Bridgett. Thats why I’m torn. Sure, I can ride her, but I want horses that anyone can ride safely. She has a fast walk, and just is a tad more skittish than I’d normally like. Still, she is a pleasure on the ground.

  3. bridgett

    As a 9-year old, she’s not likely to change her habits appreciably without a lot of work, but she likely will settle down as she ages. And she also may be perfectly fine with women but not men, depending on her abuse history. Horses are a crapshoot and they all have issues. If you’ve found one that you like well enough to want to work with, that’s at least half the battle won. For whatever that’s worth. I never was much of a rider.

  4. nm

    There are females in your household, you know. You could take one of them out to ride this Little Miss Thang to see how the horse behaves. She might not have such problems with a woman riding.

  5. the problem, NM, is that the females in this household are not experienced riders on horses with issues. It isn’t just the gender factor. I would love to have this horse, but I don’t think she is safe enough for everyone, and thats what i am after.

  6. Nice title.

    Good luck deciding what to do about the horse.

  7. nm

    Then I guess you should heed the sage words of Bridgett and figure she’s set in her ways. OTOH, no one likes riding a horse that just sort of sits there. At least I don’t think they do.

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