Pay extra attention to the highlighted section!
"Well, this should be a long entry because I am WAY overdue in writing! No excuses really, I've just been busy at school writing report cards, etc. Now that it is dark at 4:00, I have become a weekend horse warrior. Is it gorgeous and sunny for me when the weekend rolls around? Of course not. That adds more challenges.
I've been enjoying the family's emails about their horses feeling the farts and bucks of the cooler season. My Boy is definitely thinking that because he only sees me once a week now, he is becoming Spirit, Wild Stallion of the West. Case in point- I tried to catch him one day a couple weeks ago. He walked away from me (typical) but then stopped. I got the halter on his nose, but as I was putting it behind his ears it got stuck in his mane (he always gets a little weird about the halter going behind his ears anyway) and he started to pull away. He turned up the speed and ended up dragging the lead to the end of my hand, his nose still in, but the halter not on. As he got to the end of the line the halter fell off. I approached him again and he moved away and I tossed the halter and lead at his hind end. He took off into a dead run along the backside of the pasture down to the front gate and the mud hole. I determinedly reapproached him there. Eyes rolling, snorting (get over it, horse!) he moved away slightly but I was able to tell him whoa, stroke him to calm him down, and tempt him with a handful of weeds, and haltered him without further issue.
Paint Girl and I did get a nice ride in last Sunday. After watching a nail-biting football game, we took My Boy and Brandy out to the arena and worked on some skills. Then we took them out for a jaunt around the neighborhood (urban trail ride.) The horses were relaxed, even Brandy was calm as we passed barking dogs and mailboxes. We rounded the bend for home. All was going well until we stopped to chat with Paint Girl's neighbor while she was in the pasture with her old Arab. The old Arab always trots out to the roadside fence to see My Boy and Brandy as we go by. Brandy and My Boy both became increasingly agitated and impatient. It was getting close to feeding time. By the time we left Brandy brought out her Hydette personality and proceeded to jig and spook herself into a sweat the whole way home!
Paint Girl had a not so good experience yesterday. I'd asked if she wouldn't mind blanketing My Boy due to frigid cold temps and a chance of snow. She had about half an hour to feed and do this before she had to leave for an appointment. She took the wheelbarrow of feed out, then went in to get My Boy (note, the feed is sitting there, a big temptation, outside of the pasture.) Well, feeding time at the Painted Creek can be quite the rodeo pre-show. My Boy usually gets excited and runs and bucks in delight. Fritzy usually chases Brandy and they run and buck and between the two pastures mud is flying and goats are trying not to get trampled.
There was no way My Boy was going to let Paint Girl catch him before feeding- in his brain that meant work and no dinner. So he led her on a wild bucking goose chase in the mud. Thank goodness she didn't fall! She then tried to entice him with food and trap him in his run-in shed and saw her life flash before her eyes as he spun out of there, gravel and shavings flying. Well, time was up and she had someplace else to be. Unfortunately My Boy was not caught, and got to eat his hay as a reward. Regardless, I truly appreciate Paint Girl for hassling with it in the first place.
My Boy is definitely a one-person horse. Paint Girl and her cowboy are convinced he likes me and I am one of the few people in his life (past and current) that can actually catch him. Even my horseshoer, who recognized My Boy and has shod him for his previous 3 owners, said he had to corner him in his stall once to catch him for a shoeing. Now, I won't claim that My Boy actually likes me, but I will say he at least knows me pretty well. I am the only one that has really done anything with him for the past 10 months. He knows that I am going to brush him, and that almost every time after a ride, he gets to graze for about 20 mins., and, after I put him away, he gets his treats in a bucket. So yes, I suppose he associates me with mostly positive things. He has shown me his hard-to-catch side, but it has not been a consistent problem and very small-potatoes at this point or I wouldn't be leasing him let alone consider buying him. Let's hope the pasturing, lack of attention during the week, and the winter weather won't turn him into a nightmare.
My Boy has his pros and cons. I've yet to meet a horse that is all pros, although I think there are many owners that claim they've had horses that probably come pretty close to being perfect. They are all so different. When working with mom's gelding Dusty over Thanksgiving, I noticed how how much he is constantly moving his head. He can't stop being Curious George and had to look at or be part of everything going on around him. He's the class clown! It was so different then My Boy, who is typically disinterested, calm, and unflappable.
I know sometimes I think about having a horse that is a little more willing under saddle or easier to catch.....but then how will I know if that horse will stand patiently like a statue while I groom and fuss over them? Or that horse will be basically spook free like My Boy, whether a dog rushes out of the woods barking or when a motorcycle loudly speeds up as he's 10 ft. and passing you while riding on the road (yes, that happened to us.)? Or that he steps into the trailer perfectly and willingly 99.9% of the time? There are some things I just wouldn't trade. We put a lot of trust into our horses. My Boy has yet to do anything that really scares me. Other than the time we think he got stung by a bee, freaked out, and pulled back bucking when tied to the horse trailer at the trail head. However, more than likely, My Boy will do a lot of things in our relationship that will tick me off.
I recently read that relationships should not be hard at the beginning, it should seem natural, easy, comfortable. It's once that the relationship is off the ground that the work really begins. You have to work to keep that relationship strong, despite the pros and the cons, good days and bad days. Okay, so I read that in a romance novel but I still think it can apply to horses and our relationships with them. We are always learning new things and behaviors- neither people nor horses are static."
I wrote that post on December 1, 2007. I was still leasing My Boy at the time, I had started riding/leasing him in late February of 2007, moved him to my sister's on a full-care-lease at the Painted Creek in late August 2007, and bought him at the end of December 2007.
Anyway, my point about the highlighted part. Have you figured out what I realized?
If not, I'll fill you in next time!