Not only was it hot out yesterday but the big mare must have been IN heat as well. She was an absolute monster when I went out to get her. I have never seen her like that. She was waiting at the gate and nickered to me but it was about the time that the normal grooms would have taken her inside for some hay so I figured she was just excited. She was fine when I came in the gate and snapped my lead rope to her halter and then I opened the door and she swung her bum around like normal as I slowly shut the gate. Then all hell broke loose. She started dancing on the lead rope backing up, spooking, and running around me as I stood calmly asking her to whoa and stand. She dodged left and then right and I ran out of lead rope. I remembered sometimes it is just safer to let go… at the exact moment the rope grazed my palm leaving a small burn. I saw a huge flying insect- looked like a large bee near her rump and I thought that might have been the cause for all the chaos but as soon as I let go of the rope she stood still in the corner. I collected the rope and she started to dance around again. I felt unprepared for what seemed to be an escalating issue so I brought her around and opened the gate to her pasture, let her back in and unclipped. She kinda just stood there and about that time one of the other ladies at the barn came down asking if I needed a chain for her, probably because of all the commotion. I told her I’d never used one before and hadn’t seen her like this. I hungout for a second because Kate was being quiet and then decided to try again and so I clipped back on and led her through the gate, she didn’t spook anymore but she definitely wasn’t listening to me and was trying to bully her way up to the barn. I stopped her a few times and gave her a yank on the line every time she got fast but all in all she practically carried me back to the barn hanging on the lead rope. Completely unacceptable. Sigh… this is another one of those moments where no one really lets you know the appropriate way to discourage bad behaviour. In the moment it isnt really intuitive and even though I think I did a few very smart things in the thick of it, including staying calm as a 1600lb helicopter was dancing around me on a 4ft long string, I still wonder what I should have done.
I know that, like with children, you are supposed to be swift and calm with your corrections and then let it go. But my heart was pounding, my hand hurt, and I was already exhausted. Shame on me I suppose- I ought to have worked her hard and not let her touch her hay until I was done but I wasn’t feeling it anymore. I made her stand in cross-ties and groomed her slowly and thoroughly and then I just left her in her stall and didn’t ride. Oh well, I admit my horse ownership abilities are a work in progress. I guess I’ll never really know what made the Belgian go batsh*t crazy today but I might have to have the grooms teach me how to use that chain just for future reference.
Just tryin’ to stay cool in the heat.