Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Mystery Mare: Paradoxes

I've started working with Dawn again almost every day, but I haven't really connected with her yet. She is very attached to my younger daughter, and I think she misses her again. I'm a familiar, if not preferable, substitute. Today I groomed her and booted and saddled her up and we went to the ring. We did some brief leading work, including some work over poles, then we did some lungeing. We worked on some transitions - walk/trot/walk/halt. She zoned out at one point and went to cantering. I let her for a moment - the mares have been in small paddocks and probably have some excess energy - and got one small kick out. Then we did some lungeing over poles - I wanted walking, without acceleration. We got there, but she wasn't particularly engaged. Then I bridled and mounted up. We only worked at the walk, around some cones and also over the poles. We weren't "clicked in" but it went OK.

Dawn's a mare of paradox - she's bracey and wiggly at the same time, energetic and also disengaged, friendly and aloof. Today, I got a lot of "I know who you are, but why are we doing this and where is [my younger daughter]?" Sort of standing back, waiting to see how we do together. That's one reason I love mares - they have to decide to work with you and bond with you and nothing less will do.

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I had PM feeding duty today, so gave Maisie a brief ride on the trail before bringing in the rest of the horses. She was great - striding out nicely - although I noticed that she was resting the left hind again in the stall as soon as I put her away. I'm suspecting a hock or stifle issue - the pastern area seems fine and the swelling goes down when she's moving around - she's resting the leg at night and it's stocking up. We'll keep up the gentle work until she's standing square by preference again.

Those of you in the US, please enjoy your Fourth of July! (I'll be spending some time at the barn in the evenings reassuring the horses as the fireworks go off.)


  1. I finally, after almost a year, feel like I am getting a real connection with Sky. She has always been willing and agreeable and tries hard to do/understand what I ask of her, but it never felt like we had a real connection. The last few weeks it has started to feel like we have a real relationship and I'm really enjoying it.

  2. Mares are a fun challenge. I agree, I like a horse I have to work with to get a relationship. Other wise it just feels so cheap.

    Is that really weird?

  3. Lily so prefers my daughter to anyone that I feel like a wicked step mother or something when I show up.

    She gives me the "oh, it's YOU" look when I come out, cookies in hand.

    Yep. Can't really win over a mare with cookies.

  4. I'm so not a mare person. I prefer the goobery boys.

  5. It's funny how some horses are just easier to establish that relationship with and others take so long. I've been leasing Brumby for 9 months and just last week, for the first time I felt this new level of affection and connection. It's strange too how you can just know that connection goes both ways. It's not fully related to the ease or difficulty of rides, either, because we still have plenty of challenges.

  6. Sounds like a great ride on Maisie and more forward steps with Dawn. She probably prefers your daughter, but I bet she likes your attention too. Horses are funny, I think, because they do seem to like human interaction on a daily basis - even if it isn't Person #1.
    As I write this on July 3rd I can already hear the fireworks. Not sure why people are so into fireworks these days. Don't they know they are bothering our sweet horsey babies?!

  7. Happy (really?) Fourth to you, too. I'll be in the same boat, hanging around outside in the pasture reassuring everyone they are not going to die. There is a fairground less than a mile away that recently started having a huge annual fireworks display on the fourth - and big fat raspberries to that. Too bad horses can't fit under the bed, right? :o)

  8. Does your daughter long for Dawn too? They must be very deeply bonded. And that is very beautiful.


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