Sometimes she just makes me shake my head.
The other day, we went out for a short walk. L.E. had her family over for dinner, but I didn't think anything of it. Skeets, of course, had to be an absolute ass during our walk, which resulted in a lot of corrections (namely flailing and making the bad noise). I don't think it's too much to expect her to walk nicely, with her head at my shoulder, one arm's length away from me, at my pace. When she gets in front of me, or gets in my space, then I kind of go ape-shit to move her back and out of my space. So it really looks like a crazy lady trying to beat the hell out of the big black mustang. A spectacle that L.E.'s entire family got to see from the dining room as we were going out for our "walk". Great impression to make on people who were already concerned about their child being around a "wild" mustang.
Yesterday, I moved her to Estes' pen while Jay and I built Copper's gentling pen. We figured it would be easier to work without her "help" and I thought it would be a good time to let her be in the pen by herself for the first time.
She followed me like a pro. Stayed a polite distance from me, stopped and stood when asked, walked at my pace. You know, everything she didn't do when we had an audience.
As food motivated as she is, I figured it would be a treat for her to be in Estes' pen where she could just relax and graze and chill. Boy, was I wrong. The fence in Estes' pen is only four feet, but Skeeter has never challenged a fence. Ever. And she didn't really challenge this one, but she was very concerned when I took her halter off and shut the gate behind me. In the past, when she's gone to Estes' pen, she stayed on the lead and I just hand-grazed her. This time, she had full access to anything she wanted to stuff in her mouth.
She was fine while she could see us, but was not so fine any time a vehicle passed on the road right next to the pen. She spent the entire hour bolting from traffic, pacing, and worrying. She still stuffed her face, let's not be stupid, but it was in between bolting, pacing, and worrying.
There were a couple of times when both L.E. and I were convinced she was going to try to jump the gate. Luckily, she pulled herself up short each time.
When Jay and I finally had the gentling pen at a point where we could close the gate and work from the inside, I went to get her from Estes' pen. She was hot and sweaty and very glad to see me.
But that didn't stop her from being a complete ass on the way back to her pen. She had worked herself into such a tizzy that she had a hard time focusing on me. She threw her nose into her halter, but then didn't want to stand still long enough for me to tie it. We had a bit of a discussion about the gate and how she wasn't going to charge through it, which she never does in her pen, but she was so distressed about being alone in Estes' pen she couldn't wait to get out of it. We did eventually walk nicely through the gate without me getting run over.
Since her brain fell out of her butt, we had some discussions and practice circling on the way back to her pen. We stopped at the mouth of the alley to the people gate and relaxed a bit before going through the alley. Skeeter doesn't have a problem with it, but I do, so I always have to take a deep breath and relax before leading her those fifteen or so feet. We did okay until we got to the gate, at which point, she decided she need to go through the gate right next to me instead of one step behind me. I got squished a little bit, but not as badly as Jay thought I did. When I realized she was coming through with me, I threw my weight into her shoulder as we squeezed through so she couldn't push me into the hinges.
Inside the pen, she got set to working on the circle again. We're not very good at it, but it did help her start to calm down and focus. I know that some horses just have to move their feet when they get anxious, and I'd rather be the one directing her movement.
Once she was back home and calmed down, she was her usual in-your-face loving self. I've started extending my arm and reminding her "arm's length" any time she gets in my space. She's a smart girl, I'm sure she'll figure it out soon.
Jay's got some work to do on Copper's pen today, and we'll have to put the horizontal bars up on Friday morning, but we did get the panels and gate up last night. Now, we're just extending the height to the required six feet.
|Sorry it's so blurry. I had "help" taking the picture. Stupid mare.|