Discussion in 'Horse Chat' started by 250girl, Dec 30, 2018.
I did say that.
I've never owned or ridden a horse long-term that I didn't get along with...that kind of thing was unusual for me and for some reason, even horses that were not attuned to others seemed to get good vibes from me. However, I did experience one horse at our original lesson/boarding farm that really didn't get along with me and it caused me to discontinue a lesson after only about 20 minutes. That was such an unpleasant experience and I knew that it was going to draw my anger to an unhealthy place at that point...so looked at the trainer, said I was done and bailed. I did what was necessary to un-tack, cool-down, whatever, because it was the right thing to do, but never rode that horse again nor interacted with it unless there was no choice in the matter. It had to be just an interpersonal conflict because no others had problems with that particular horse, although he wasn't there much longer. I rode over 30 horses at that barn over the years we were there...
That's not what I said at all.
That's what that model says. And I said I hate that model.
Horses are relational. They respond to us in a relational way. Which means they have agency and their own relational baggage. Horses respond to what we put out there in their own way.
When I was working in hunting camps there was one mare that I just did not like. She wasn't a good riding horse, mostly just used her to pack. I had to ride her once that season, other than that we just packed her. She did her job just fine, and I appreciated that about her. I just didn't like her and had a tangible reason not to like her, she was not good to have in the string. She caused fights between geldings and had a habit of trying to take the herd anywhere but back to camp. She was a poster child for why you don't have a mare in the pack string. That is the only horse I have ever actively disliked, and I'm sure had I dealt with her in a different situation I would have liked her just fine. I hindsight I don't think I actually disliked her, but I disliked her in my pack string.
I think life is too short to have a horse you don't like. Since you plan on selling her anyway I would aim for sooner rather than later.
I think the disparity and conflict comes from the fact that everyone is right... in a way.
A trainer or other professional working with horses isn’t looking to build relationship and lasting partnership with a horse. They’re looking to get the job done and only connect with the horse enough to work well together. And there I agree— everyone can learn to get along with a horse that way and get good performance and behavior out of them. As the OP is with the mare that inspired the thread. As I did with a Saddlebred gelding with an annoying personality at the boarding barn I worked at.
I just didn’t like the horse. But it didn’t matter because all I did was feed him at put him out everyday. Until they had me doing groundwork with him for a bit. So I put those feelings aside and worked on figuring him out. And we did well together. I even rode him once. He was fun! Very comfortable fit for me to ride. Would I have ever wanted to buy him? Hell, NO! We’re we capable of working well together? Absolutely. Having fun? Absolutely? But he was annoying. He deserves someone who finds those quirks endearing. (Like me. With my quirky horse)
I had up to 20 horses in my care at a time at that barn, with some coming and going. Some I just didn’t like. Some I felt I probably could like if they had better manners or we actually spent quality time riding and such, Others who were just there. Neither strong like or dislike. And a couple that there was just something that... clicked. All different personalities and backgrounds.
There was one mare I had a feeling would be a bit like Brandi. We’d probably spat a bit then be fast friends.
But I’m rambling now.
Changing attitude can absolutely make a positive difference. But the thing with that is... it’s possible that the pair had compatible personalities to begin with. It was just overshadowed by attitude on the part of human, horse (hey, sometimes they’ve been soured before or they’re used to all business and have negative attitudes too), or both.
But as far as personal horse ownership goes, with someone looking for a friend rather than just a horse to ride, it’s possible to have personalities be oil and water. They may work well together but just never... connect.
Someone who doesn’t care about that will, of course, never experience what that’s like.
It took a long time for Brandi and I to really connect. I never really disliked her, although there may have been times she disliked me , but we just didn’t connect either. And we had some trouble getting along at times. Then eventually, we did get along well, but she just wasn’t social.
Over the years, we’ve managed to develop that relationship that goes beyond just the basic “work well together” partnership. In the last 4 years or so, she’s started actually really enjoying spending time with me and having me fuss over she. It wasn’t that she disliked it before. She was just kind of... I dunno... take it or leave it. She’s gone from not enjoying grooming (in the beginning) to “yeah, okay, sure” to looooooovig grooming. From “no! No (soft) brush on face!” To “if you must” to leaning *into* the *stiff* brush on her face. From, “yes I like when you scratch there but I’m going to stay really stoic about it.” to doing the whole itchy lip stretch the neck thing. Never did I ever think I was going to see this horse do that. She just started that within the last year.
I missed going out to the barn a few days and when I went out again she stretched her nose for her halter. She’s been good to catch and halter for many years, but she gets more so every year that passes.
Time can build the relationship, too, in some cases. Especially with mares. They can take their dear, sweet time bonding with people. They want to really know you and get used to first, I guess.
There are so many variables that there isn’t a hard and fast “it’s always this way!” Answer. It just depends on the invidual personalities involved and what the person wants and how long they’re willing to try.
When I was younger I would pettily dislike the horses I didn’t get alone with (I’m talking middle and elementary school age).
Now that I’m older, I can’t really dislike a horse. Sure, there are horses that I just do not get along with. I try really hard to actively get along with every horse I meet. But sometimes it just doesn’t work. My old riding instructor had a saddlebred gelding that she let me ride one time. What an unpleasant experience. I didn’t dislike him or anything but had I been offered a chance to ride him again, I would’ve said nah I’d rather walk. Lol
Sounds like this mare has always been a commodity. Livestock. I've noticed that when horses are treated like just 1200 lbs of meat on the hoof, they tend to "flatten out" their personalities. They don't display nuances, and they don't try to read our body language, OR exaggerate their own body language enough for us dumb humans to pick up on.
Part of building rapport with a horse is getting to learn each other. The little movements and body language cues that let us tune into each other. It's almost subconscious, but it happens with EVERY rider, and EVERY horse.
What hit my radar is that you said she's a great ride, but super sensitive to touch and her head position on the ground. That's a tense horse who is trying to read you and failing at an epic level. She's like a deaf person trying to lip read, but everyone is speaking French and she only knows English.
I have some ideas of things that might work to help translate for her. PM me if you're interested, otherwise I'll fill up several pages of chat with ethology and analysis.
My daughter's first horse was a business only mare. She had no personality around humans. No quirks, antics or surprises. Stood so still and unreactive during grooming, scratches and love pats. My daughter was disappointed she didn't have the fairytale she expected. That mare taught her how to ride and build confidence. I think it took 3 years before that mare finally nickered to her when she wasn't carrying food. To this day, that mare will not invade your space, but she at least wiggles her lip for scratchings and gladly accepts hugs. She's pushing 30, and it's going to crush my daughter when the day comes. She cries just thinking about it. They didn't click at first, but they made one heck of a team for many years.
The last couple stories have made me think of Bea when I first got her. She had no interest in people. Unless you were feeding her, blanketing her or working her you weren't there in her mind. She was so bewildered when I walked out to the pasture and just pet her. She had never been just simply been loved. It didn't take her long to learn how to love it and she became my most quietly friendly horse. She always came to me. Our interactions were never a big love fest but she wanted to come see me, get her usual kiss on her forehead and her scratches and then go back to whatever she was doing. Some of my best memories of her are of just sitting beside her while she munched hay or grain. I could let her on the lawn and She would happily graze away, never going far. She was perfectly content to just be near me. And she always nickered when she saw me. Whether it was because I had just pulled into the driveway, or I opened the door in the norning to let my dog out, she always said hi. She was never obnoxious or needy about any of it. She was very much a business horse but I won her over and it was one of the best relationships I have ever had with a horse.
Yes, but by doing that you get a good connection with nearly all of them on the horse-personal level, BECAUSE you don't expect to get all lovey-dovey about that single individual. The ones I outright didn't like all gave me a substantial reasons to do so that I could name.
Separate names with a comma.