Buddy has not been a nice horse to be around lately. As a matter of fact, I had begun to believe he was out to get me. But tonight - or was it last night - we had a breakthrough. You see, Buddy and I had been doing well with our Natural Horsemanship stuff. Until he lost his brain. Literally. I had my superstar Horsemanship mentor come out and even she had trouble. The things he would easily do before ceased to exist. Instead he was wild eyed and full of fight/flight. In fact, he would drop his shoulder and try to plow me over. Most horses would move away from pressure, this one drove into it. To put it mildly I was feeling aggravated.
I was frustrated with his lack of progress and his continued bucking sprees. The horse was acting as though he'd never seen a saddle. (He's had 90 professional days - plus the time I've put into him.) Last night I lost it. I made him work. I saddled him up, and while he was doing his bronco impersonation I'd run him into the fence, jerk on his head (halter), and with each leap, jump and buck I spanked him. When he finally stopped I made his life very uncomfortable unless he was standing and letting me run the stick/whip over his body and the saddle. He did many half circles turning back at the fence until he tolerated my presence. Once he stood and let me "sack" him out on both sides I quit.He was litearlly dripping sweat. And I was covered from head to toe in dust.
Tonight as I headed out to work with him I girded my loins for another epic battle of the wills. Normally I would avoid getting into a power struggle with a horse, but I felt he needed a lesson in who was the ultimate top of the pecking order. I even added the extra ammunition of another body - my dad. So making no changes in my routines, I went about my business. When it came time to saddle, dad, equiped with gloves and a long rope took a hold of his head. I saddled exactly the same as normal (minus the human hitching post), after which dad proceeded to lead him around the pen. Did he buck? Nope, not even a crow hop! So I'm left wondering - was it the "tough love" last night or the extra human tonight the created the change in behavior?
With dad's help I pretended he'd never been rode and did the get on - off routine, followed by dad leading me around on him. He's been so erratic that we were erring on the side of cautiion.
Stay tuned to see if the new and improved Buddy remains tommorrow or if he returns to his devilish ways.
Oh! And if my spelling is particularly bad it's because my spell check is still AWOL. :)