Spring mare afternoon

So after a job interview and car maintenance stuff, I got to the barn early on this sunny Friday afternoon. Miss Mocha was in turnout with the rest of the mares while the piebald mini stallion snorted sweet nothings at the field of mares next to his paddock (who pretty much ignored him except for one mare who LUFFS HIM MUCHLY. Given that he’s about 6 hh and she’s 15 hh, ain’t nothing happening without a lot of coordination, and so far she’s not showing much cooperativeness).

Mocha was totally about the Spring! Mare! mode today. Good grief, a teenaged Valley Girl in full mating cry would have been mellower. Mocha’s not a talky mare usually, but she started talking today and I had to get after her. Even at that, she was distracted and difficult. The little stud’s paddock is right outside one of the arena doors, so he can look in while she’s being worked. We started in a snaffle and she was distracted. Still, I managed to keep it together until she started blowing out of one loop on a serpentine because she was getting distracted by the damn stallion. Coupled with a bit of tough-minded disrespect (she was cutting corners on the serpentine and wouldn’t change leads crisply in the center. I put out cones to mark the loops and the change points, and she started aiming herself at the cones to try to knock them over), and I finally had HAD it.

I stopped her, got off, stomped back to the tack room, got the Pelham bridle (a short-shanked curb with four reins, more severe than the snaffle) and swapped out. I’ve not done that before, but the level of blowing through my cues so that she could knock over cones was getting extremely irritating. It’s one of her “I don’t wanna” moments and, coupled with Let’s See How Fast We Can Run The Cones is a particularly annoying Smart Horse Up Yours Moment. Mocha does aim for cones in this mood and she exudes satisfaction with herself when she knocks them over. I’ve felt her change directions to target a cone when she’s in this mood–which happens just about any time we work cones. Cone work doesn’t go very far with her. But sometimes she needs the visual cue to know where to go.

With the Pelham, I had a very different mare. I still had to correct her a couple of times, but instead of targeting a cone and running off as fast as she could, she slowed down, dropped her head, and did what she was supposed to do.

After a coolout ride and a rinse (during which she turned on her best Kookie Begging Face when it was time to spray down her head–OMG, talk about Terminally Cute, horse enjoying the spray under her jaw while begging for Kookie) and a graze on the Good Grass, I put her back in her stall, whereupon she supervised me cleaning up and mooched a few more Kookies. All was mellow at that point–but boy, she was being a Tough Mare earlier. At one point she was changing leads every stride as she was targeting one particular cone, but it was Cowhorse Version, which meant a lot of interesting lateral movement. Um, if I ever put her to cows, I think I’d better have the chaps on and apply rosin to my seat. We never escalated to slamming the butt on the wall, but I think she was close to it.

Ah well, in a few days she’ll luff me and everything else about the world. And she had a lot of energy. Two more weeks, and I can ride her little behind off–which will make both of us happy.

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