Saturday, January 9, 2010

Twiddling the Ears

Denali's lessor is a saint. I pulled into the barn yesterday and heard this horse SCREAMING. I looked in all the stalls and couldn't figure out who it was, I figured that I'd check on D and Megan first then go say hi to the horse, wherever they were. Guess who? Ms. Denali was being a ROYAL pain in the ass. She was being super naughty for Megan. I guess she was trying to kick when she was in the cross ties, and was being a freakazoid all around. I told Megan to hit her when she's being naughty, but you know that feeling of handling someone else's horse, at least for me, I'm always afraid I'll hit them harder than the owner would want. Seriously, HIT HER when she's being a bitch, you can't hurt her. I gave her a good wack, probably the first one she's gotten from me in a while.

Denali's young still, and doesn't know Megan that well yet. There was no one else around, so I'd guess she didn't feel safe and was scared. It was also poring down rain. Althought, Denali does like to find reasons to freak out. She needs focus. Something that I know, but not something that I'm good at doing

There was one thing she was doing a lot of, and she does it quit a bit when I'm around too, she twiddles her ears. Yesterday it was a lot more than I've seen, but she does do it. My trainer said it was nothing, but me (being hypocondriac owner) wonders if it could be something else.

I also have been giving her Mare Magic to help her stay calm, but I'm wondering if I should give her something else. Mare Magic is 100% natural which is what I like about it, but I am thinking about trying something else. Ideas?

Off to do some work at school on a Saturday. Megan, thanks for dealing with the Wild Pony Beast!


Mrs Mom said...

Only suggestion I have (from dealing with OTTB's in the past) exercise. Controlled. Exercise. If she is kicking, move her feet. Take her into the arena, and put her on a line, and control her feet. Trot, change directions, trot, change directions, trot change directions. Watch for her to begin to lower her head, and look to you (even with an ear flip towards you.)

Control the feet = Control the horse. Giving her small jobs to concentrate on will work wonders. But it takes time, and consistency. If you and Miss Megan can tag team her, you'll see a change in Big Denali's 'Tude.

Trotting (at controlled speeds, in controlled directions,) around you is not all you can do, either. Start small- trot some, give her the option to back up two steps. Move out at a walk, change direction. Any time her brain wanders (and it will,) change her job. Give her something else to pay attention to. Keep the jobs simple- things she already knows how to do.

Start small.
Be consistent.
Control the feet, get the brain.

Above ALL-
Three Key Things to Always Remember:
1- You Must Be Safe
2- Horse Must Be Safe
3- Horse Must Be Calmer at End, Then She Was At Start.

Denali said...

Thanks! Megan was doing a great job with her on the lunge line, but Denali does have a HUGE ATTITUDE!!

thenamesmarry said...

Mrs Mom has a good point. Exercise is what TB's thrive on. All. The. Time. It's in their blood and it's something that focuses them because it makes them think. And moving their feet to make them listen to you - also great. When I lead my mare, I will randomly make her stop, either by saying whoa, or by simply stopping, without moving the lead. If she ever has her shoulder past me, I back her up (without moving my feet) and praise her when she's where she's supposed to be. Then we continue on our walk. Simple exercises that make them think really help, and it doesn't have to be a big fight or any kind of big deal. But it makes her focus on you.

My thoroughbred can get pretty hyped up if she misses a few days of work, but it is NO excuse to be rude. The kicking does need to be immediately disciplined, as you said. You wouldn't want anyone getting hurt. If she can't handle standing, then moving her feet is best.

Bottom line - if YOU are moving HER and not vice versa, she will begin to get the message of who's boss mare around town.

PS - The ear flapping - don't worry about it. It's probably her mechanism for dealing with stress or boredom. When I worked at a horse camp this past summer, one of the horses would flap her lower lip constantly and continually, although less when she was really calm. Of course, that horse would also put her front feet out and stretch down like a sleepy cat until her elbows were almost touching the ground, but still. Some horses just have personality ;)