As I wrote in the last blog entry, Debbie has come out several times during my working the horses. She has gotten to meet ZZ, who is new to her, and I have given all the appropriate warnings about the Man Eating Mare of Diomedes.
Perhaps it is not a testament to my training, but I still don’t trust ZZ with anyone. She reacts quickly and thoughtlessly like a child, and if you are not on your toes, you could get hurt. It also reaffirms in my mind though that pursuing an idea that I had of getting an apprentice to help me would be wasted – they wouldn’t be able to help me with ZZ and if they did, I would worry that they would either get hurt by her – or hurt her in their anger and frustration with her strong minded ways.
With Debbie about though I’ve had to explain more about what I’m doing with ZZ and thus vocalization gives more planning and meaning to the ideas that I have been working on.
About two months ago, ZZ drew a line in the sand. This line was – “I don’t like you over my back and I will not tolerate it. If you persist, I might have to kick you to hell’s half acre and back.”
After doing so well with some of her other training, this was obviously going to be a bit of stumbling block. If this had been five years ago I would probably have fought it out with her, won, and then she would have retaliated when I least suspected it – that is the way of how some of these mare horses think which earns them this reputation as being marish – translated to mean – not biddable to human desires.
I pulled back and we went back with me leaning over from the ground. I found out that there were some days she was okay with it and other days, when she pinned her ears and said “I don’t f*cking think so….”
Right now I’m back in the round pen, leaning over her back, no halter or lead rope. Sometimes I get up on the mounting block and I do it on both sides. When she walks off we go do some other work – such as Whoa-Slow-Go game to help her understand the type of body movement I want – balanced, using the hindquarters, and her head in a easy position.
And some days she tells me she has had enough of that.
And so our life, and training, is slowly progressing on a timetable that is not strictly hers – not strictly mine – but with some goals that may be met — or not — as she goes bucking across the roundpen, telling me she has clearly had ENOUGH of being told to GO!