Is this why people own geldings? Because they get to ride the same horse every day?
Farley was (unpredictably) a complete witch yesterday about arena work. Maybe she was a bit sore from our work on Monday. Maybe the footing wasn’t exactly to her liking (it was compacted, but better than the regular arena that was DEEP with CLODS). Maybe she was confused about her job yesterday – after all she was in an old Haf pad instead of a regular dressage schooling pads – never mind the fact we had a DRESSAGE bridle on, and a DRESSAGE bit, and we were in an ARENA. Or just maybe…..she was being a mare.
I love mares. I’ve always bonded with them better and all my long term relationships have been with mares. I’m sure that this is an irrational preference, just like my color preference (no greys or colored horses please), and my general dislike of colored padded dressage bridles.
However, it is absolutely true that they have personality. and opinions. Even a mare like Farley who is fairly even-tempered, has days where our agendas do NOT match. Upon realizing that this is “one of those day”, the best solution is to find a tactical position within the lesson where both of us can retreat without too much damage to the opposing party.
I’m getting better about staying neutral in such arguments. While she throws a conniption fit over whatever simple task I have asked her to do for the day, I observe her toddler like behavior without getting emotionally involved and taking it personally. I must admit that once we are done and I slip out of the saddle, I might mutter “what a @#$*((*&@” in a low voice, but it’s (kinda) affectionate and accompanied with a pat on the neck. That’s perfectly acceptable way of demonstrating my displeasure right?
Or maybe, just maybe, Farley has decided that since I’m keeping her, she can finally be perfectly honest with me. You see, we had the “talk” the other day. Where I explained to her that I will never ever sell her as long as she wants to stay with me. I will stop commenting on what a nice junior or 4-Her horse she will make for someone “someday”. I will stop justifying the expense I putting into her training by talking about how her versatility will insure marketability and a good home, and instead spend the money on the training because we both enjoy it and it enriches are life.
Minx was my forever horse. Farley was going to be sold when I went back to vet school. After Minx died, that all changed and I wasn’t sure what to do with Farley. Now, a year after Minx’s death, I realized that Farley wiggled her way into my heart. I’ve had an offer from a endurance friend to board and feed her if I run out of $$ in vet school to care for her so there isn’t any reason I should have to sell.
I don’t make forever commitments to animals lightly or automatically, but Farley is mine to keep. Her behavior yesterday not withstanding.