Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Looking Up?

Last post left off with me wondering what was up with Sofie’s sudden, negative attitude towards coming in. This continued on into Saturday. When I went to catch her she only moved about five feet away, though it seemed like that had less to do with her accepting my presence and more to do with her understanding that if she didn’t let me catch her I would make her work, and then catch her anyway. The look on her face was really disheartening. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her look that unhappy to see me. Sofie is not an enthusiastic, golden retriever-ish horse by nature, and she is prone to unenthused, slightly grumpy faces, but usually when I go out to catch her she seems relatively happy to see me. This new development was rather depressing for me, especially after my recent post in which I wrote about how "our relationship is the most important thing, gotta preserve the relationship, be friends, etc. etc.". It just kind of sucked because I felt like we were friends, and then all of a sudden my horse seemed to pretty much hate me. Yeah...obviously something went wrong.

Once I got her in the aisle I went to work pulling loose hairs out of her, then worked on massaging/stretching her hopes that it would help take some of the nastiness out of her expression and make her feel better. I noticed while I had her in the aisle that her left stifle seemed to be clicking when she shifted that leg. It sounded like something was out of alignment for sure, although it didn't seem to be be bothering her. She was able to pick up both hind legs for me to clean her feet, it just seemed like it was taking a little extra effort for her to shift that leg. She wasn't really off in motion, either, so I went ahead and tacked her up.

I had decided to ride in the indoor since everything was really squishy outside, plus I was hearing thunder. I had just gotten her in the indoor and was in the process of tightening her girth when the rain started pouring. Sofie got scared and started walking off, so I grabbed the reins and walked with her. I just led her around and rubbed her neck occasionally until she relaxed enough to stop and stand while I tightened her girth. Then I walked her a little more. She was still tense, but I figured I'd get on and just ride. She stood at the mounting block and I put my feet in the stirrups (I'm not that brave) and let her walk on. We were both really nervous (all my muscles were wobbling) and we both spooked at something (she spooked at a scary door, and I spooked at her spooking), but I took some deep breaths and used the time-honored neck rubbing technique to help her relax. She walked until I told her to trot, and she started out in a nice, long frame at the trot, reaching into the contact really nicely. I was super happy with that. We went on to have a good ride, nothing fancy, but we did fairly decent walk and trot work in both directions, and we weren't horribly inverted. I was glad I was able to deal with her being tense (it's always good practice for if we ever go somewhere, I figure). For me to be able to walk her around like that and then get on without being afraid is a huge accomplishment. And I was proud of her for trusting me and listening to me when she was nervous. Regardless of our recent issues, I had hope that things might improve after that ride.

To be continued...when I have time!

1 comment:

  1. Maybe she was just having a bad day. Don't jump to the conculusion that it is you. It sounds like she trusts you and that's a big part of it.