You've had them no doubt, and maybe they've come in succession, leaving you to scratch your head wondering if it's you or your horse that seems to be "off" this week.
Sometimes my horse Cookie will test me to my limits. It's in those times I simply have to just walk away for a few moments, gather my patience, and re-think how I'm going to approach the subject or whatever it is I'm trying to convey to her and try again.
Then there are days where push comes to shove. It's usually when she's had some time off from work or exercise and she gets all cocky and full of herself, thinking she's going to be the Alpha and tell me what to do.
Uh nope, sorry my friend. That's NOT happening! Not even in play do I allow her to become the Alpha, because it's far too dangerous. It's almost like knocking them down a peg or two, but that's how it is in the horse world.
Even in wild horse herds, there's an Alpha, and it's not always the Stallion. A mare can and often will take the lead. However, the stallion will tell them where to go and how fast to get there. You've also got the pecking order within the herd.
Cookie is much like me. She's strange at times. Sometimes she wants my company, but doesn't want me to get too close. Other times she's breathing down my neck nearly trying to wear my clothes. Most times when I go out she nickers to me, and of course comes to see if I have brought her a treat. If I haven't, I get her butt in my face as she turns to walk away. I guess she's saying: "You're not good for anything! Where is my treat?!" Ahh, gotta love a mare. She has this personality that just draws me in. I suppose because it's so much like mine. Funny isn't it, hen you can see your personality in your horse? They often come in a barrage of "colors", so to speak. Cookie happens to be sort of an all-in-one kind of horse. She's funny and playful, serious and persistent, but over all, just a love to be around.
I haven't been working or exercising her much lately because the weather has climbed back up into the 90's ,with super high humidity. Not only is it not safe, it's miserable. If you have ever been in a greenhouse, that's what it feels like.
So I thought I would catch her up, put her in the front for a little while so I could clean out her stall and paddock without having to tie her up. What does this crazy heifer do? Runs. She wants to play. Partly because she doesn't want to wear a halter when she goes through the gate and the other part simply because she's loaded with energy and needs to expel some. We play for about ten minutes or so, running around like wild animals with no sense, kicking up our heels, and letting the dirt fly. I figured I'll head to the gate and if she wants to go through it, she'll come up to me. Low and behold, there she is, shoving her head over my shoulder ready to go to the front yard.
Sometimes you just have to know your horse. You can take them to a trainer for whatever reason. You can get trained while they get trained, by working with a trainer. The bottom line is, if you don't know your horse, you won't know what he/she is or isn't capable of. Sometimes Cookie needs a soft hand. Sometimes I have to get after her. Sometimes she's paying attention, other times she's goofing off like a clown.
I will suggest, if you are new to horses or have just bought your first horse but don't have much experience or knowledge, do get together with someone who has experience and take lessons. A good teacher/trainer is worth their weight in gold and it will do you a world of good to get some good solid foundation lessons under your belt.
They say there's no horse like your first horse. I can't answer that yet, but I can say that I'm pretty sure whoever said that was absolutely right. There will never be another Cookie. No horse will ever come close. I'm sure we'll have more up and down days, and I'll be thankful for every one of them because that's another day I spend with my best friend.
Now, if the weather will cooperate, I'm going to get some ride time in!
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