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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jekyll and Hyde

Is this why people own geldings?  Because they get to ride the same horse every day?
Farley was (unpredictably) a complete witch yesterday about arena work.  Maybe she was a bit sore from our work on Monday.  Maybe the footing wasn't exactly to her liking (it was compacted, but better than the regular arena that was DEEP with CLODS).  Maybe she was confused about her job yesterday - after all she was in an old Haf pad instead of a regular dressage schooling pads - never mind the fact we had a DRESSAGE bridle on, and a DRESSAGE bit, and we were in an ARENA.  Or just maybe.....she was being a mare.
I love mares.  I've always bonded with them better and all my long term relationships have been with mares.  I'm sure that this is an irrational preference, just like my color preference (no greys or colored horses please), and my general dislike of colored padded dressage bridles. 
However, it is absolutely true that they have personality.  and opinions.  Even a mare like Farley who is fairly even-tempered, has days where our agendas do NOT match.  Upon realizing that this is "one of those day", the best solution is to find a tactical position within the lesson where both of us can retreat without too much damage to the opposing party. 
I'm getting better about staying neutral in such arguments.  While she throws a conniption fit over whatever simple task I have asked her to do for the day, I  observe her toddler like behavior without getting emotionally involved and taking it personally.  I must admit that once we are done and I slip out of the saddle, I might mutter "what a @#$*((*&@" in a low voice, but it's (kinda) affectionate and accompanied with a pat on the neck.  That's perfectly acceptable way of demonstrating my displeasure right?
Or maybe, just maybe, Farley has decided that since I'm keeping her, she can finally be perfectly honest with me.  You see, we had the "talk" the other day.  Where I explained to her that I will never ever sell her as long as she wants to stay with me.  I will stop commenting on what a nice junior or 4-Her horse she will make for someone "someday".  I will stop justifying the expense I putting into her training by talking about how her versatility will insure marketability and a good home, and instead spend the money on the training because we both enjoy it and it enriches are life. 
Minx was my forever horse.  Farley was going to be sold when I went back to vet school.  After Minx died, that all changed and I wasn't sure what to do with Farley.  Now, a year after Minx's death, I realized that Farley wiggled her way into my heart.  I've had an offer from a endurance friend to board and feed her if I run out of $$ in vet school to care for her so there isn't any reason I should have to sell. 
I don't make forever commitments to animals lightly or automatically, but Farley is mine to keep.  Her behavior yesterday not withstanding. 


  1. HAHAHAH! I'm laughing with you, not at you, I promise. :D I can totally relate to this post. Mares are ridiculous! Mine is almost 22, and she STILL has days when she is in heat and cranky and does not want to listen AT ALL! We went out for a ride the other day and she decided to rear up three times during our ride. She hasn't reared up in ten years! I've discovered that fighting with them definitely makes it worse. Despite that, I love my mare, and I've loved every other Arab mare I've worked with, so I think I will stick with them. ;D

  2. Oh dear Mel--- I don't ride the same horse every day. Shoot, I don't even know what will appear when I go to get my GELDING from the paddock! ;)

    I used to not do well with mares. Then I met a few really amazing ones, and I miss them. Mares are awesome.

    Love ya Farley! Keep Mom on her toes ;)

  3. I love my mare even when she acts like a 3 year old ("I don't WANNA! You can't MAKE ME!"). Glad you decided Farley's a keeper, but I definitely think you made a big mistake telling her that. ;) I keep Dixie in line by constantly threatening to run her through the auction and buy a dirt bike.

    I'm not good at selling horses. I flipped one once - got it out of really bad hands, kept it for two months while I found it a better home, and sold it for exactly what I'd paid. But once I get a couple hundred hours with a horse I can't imagine selling it to a stranger!

  4. The difference between mares and geldings is that at somepoint a gelding will give in. I used to be a mare person until I found Gen. I loved my moody, opinionated gelding. It was like having the attitude of a mare, but knowing that you would win in the end! It is wonderful that you can promise Farley a forever home...I hope that all goes well and that you can afford vet school and your girl without having to change a thing.

  5. Ah, mares. I love 'em, even when I'm fighting with 'em. I'm GLAD you've promised Farley a forever home!

    I truly think that mares take better care of themselves (and their riders) on the trail--mares are programmed to survive and to help their foals survive.

    That said, my mare will be scheduled for a spay operation as soon as the IRS sends my refund! It's not a matter of bad-temperedness with her, as much as genuine discomfort. She's not a prospect for breeding, and I have no intention of screwing around with Regumate every summer for the next 20 years, so we'll be headed for the Zip-Tie Solution sometime this spring!

    After that, who knows. She'll still be opinionated, I'm quite sure. Just, maybe not so cranky.

  6. I am reacquainting myself with all the mare stuff.. not really liking it... I am not emotional... Maggie is.. somehow we'll have to work this out..anyone have any suggestions, I am all ears.

  7. Mares? Moody? Haha hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    I've been a little scared recently about the warm and fuzzy feelings I've been having towards Phebes. Especially the "melty" feelings I've been getting over how she has grown into a very pretty girl. Much more lovely than I'd ever anticipated. ~E.G.

  8. Jonna - I mostly ignore any mare behavior. I've been blessed with two mare that were even tempered, but there have been moments. I ignore the drama and it usually dissapears.

  9. AareneX - Keep us posted on the spay! I don't know anyone who has actually had it done so I'm really curious.

    I did know of one horse who was really really great....but the minute she came into season, you knew it! She turned into a squealing, kicking mess. It was so bad that if we were at an event, she would have to go into the trailer and she would squeal and kick and throw a HISSY fit. If she was mine, we would have to do SOMETHING.


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