One Hand

Reason has been relatively moody and grumpy lately.  I’ve changed his routine whereas he no longer gets turnout in the day or evening.  He has a stall with attached paddock which is good enough.  The day turnout is no bigger in comparison to his attached paddock anyway.  The reason for this?  Limiting the hands on Reason.

Yesterday was a fine example of why my horse needs only me handling him at this time..
I had turned Reason out in the outdoor to stretch his legs and also create some dialogue.  He hadn’t been out for a couple days and because of the weird behavior I thought some re-establishment was in order.  I didn’t want to force the issue, but I did want to do some constructive work.  Out in the arena he went.  Not wild, not full of himself, but had energy to burn and needed to get some of it out.  We weren’t really achieving much in the outdoor, but enough for me.  I was expecting him to want to come to me and join with me, instead he was just out of reach.  He wanted to, but not.  He was neutral in attitude, no grumpy out there at all, but also not giddy with excitement or happiness.  After a little while I caught him and took him to the adjoining outdoor round pen while I went to work around the ranch.  I’d check on Reason here and there and he was relatively quiet and peaceful out there.  Normally the outdoor round pen is not his most favorite place to be..

After I got done with work, I went to go get him.  Instead of just haltering him and walking out, I wanted him to want to come to me to be haltered.  I pushed him around a bit, going through the paces.  He made a quick approach shortly after we began.  I sent him back out until I thought he was ready, which the times he did approach, he was not.  After about 5 times of doing this, he came to me, I haltered him and proceeded to walk out.  As soon as we got to the outdoor he started acting up.  He turned around quickly and tried to nip me as I tried to get him to stop.  I spent a good little while getting him to relax and listen to me.  He threatened to rear twice as he escalated in response to my corrections.  I pushed his haunches over in a circle around me.  My aim was to get him soft and responsive.  He started to come back down while I kept assertive but calm.  After we got through that, I was leading him on a long, loose lead, as he trailed behind with his head low.  Just exactly the response I wanted.  It took me reacting in an efficient, clear but also at the same time neutral way to get him to come down.  I don’t expect anyone to have to do this with my horse, but that is what he needs.  He needs someone who can de-activate his defense buttons and not hurry through the situation.  He also needs someone who is not afraid, but also not aggressive.  As his owner and mom, I love him, I know him very well and I am the one who should be working him through this.  If someone tries to correct him, he could escalate to what he did with me and him not knowing or trusting the handler, could cause a situation that is neither good for Reason or the handler and therefore create an on-going problem.  I have to work him through his problems and find a common ground of understanding so he will be easier to manage for other people.

I wouldn’t say Reason’s bad.  He’s not.  He’s just a little more demanding of his handlers than other horses if you allow him. I have to make him into the horse I want.  I know that horse is in there, I’ve seen it and experienced it.  It’s just me who has to find it and mold it verses other people with less understanding and knowledge of my horse.  He needs clarity and that will come with only one person, one solid method and less variables.