Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Horses are Weird

Before I tell you exactly how my horse is weird, I just want to say that I had a fantastic dressage lesson on Saturday. I have been whining in my training log about how stuck I feel in dressage, simply because I've never taken a horse past this point before and I just don't know what to do without possibly messing things up.

This lesson really helped me get a glimpse of what comes up next, and gave me some good homework. I'll talk about it in another post soon, because I'm still digesting what I learned and felt. There was some pretty subtle stuff going on and I had to think about a million things at once, so we'll see how well I can recreate it at home!

Anyway. Horses are weird.

Pandora has been spooking at her water bucket lately. I kid you not. 15 gallon tub in the back corner, filled every evening, drinks most of it down every day.

I first noticed it sometime last week. I put her in her stall after working her, and expected her to go take a drink of water, as usual. She walked to that corner, snorted at her bucket, touched it with her nose and jumped, then sidled away and went to eat her hay.


I went and sat next to it, on her big salt block. After a moment's hairy eyeball, she wandered over to me. She touched the rim of the bucket firmly with her muzzle several times, then at last streeeetched her neck out to drink, keeping her body as far away as possible. She took a big, long drink, then quickly moved away.

I kept a close eye on her water consumption. She drank enough, but whenever she went to her bucket she'd approach cautiously, stretch her neck to drink, swallow a bunch of water, then immediately leave. Every time she went near it she'd do that rattling snort she makes when she sees something exciting or scary.

It was starting to bother me that she still was acting worried about her water bucket. My girl drinks a lot of water, and I definitely don't want anything limiting her drinking! So, this weekend I finally decided to move the bucket -- not sure why I didn't think of it before.

I dragged it up to the front of her stall, next to the door and where her hay goes. She couldn't avoid it, and it would be next to her hay, so I figured she'd warm up to it gradually.

As soon as I moved it there, she turned her head from where she'd been munching on hay, took a casual drink, and went back to eating.

Weird horse.

She drank almost the entire bucketful between that day and the next evening. I think her consumption has leveled out a little now.

I noticed she still acts wary of the corner it was in. I wonder if a bird flew in when she was drinking, or a horse in the arena kicked the wall when she was back there? Anyway -- I have no idea why she was acting that way, but problem solved and she's drinking properly now.

So I am sure you guys have horses just as silly if not more so than my girl. I want stories!


Heather said...

Last summer we had a similar problem. Sabumi was really leery of his water tank for a few days but eventually relaxed about it. I had been collecting big rocks and stones from his paddock and the riding area and tossing them on the other side of the fence near the water spigot and had amassed a pretty good sized pile. I wonder if a snake had decided to sun himself on the rocks one day and poor Sabumi happened to see it!

ImaBronsonBear said...

Our property is gated, and so whenever i want to ride off of it (which is nearly every ride) we have to walk through it. I swear, Bronson has probably gone through it 100 times...and he's still scared of it. But it's not a normal scared, sometimes it'll be one side of the gate he'll sidle around, and sometimes it'll be the OTHER side of the gate that he's scared of! *sigh*

RuckusButt said...

Certainly sounds like something happened. Maybe she got stung by something.

Weirest spook I can think of was last fall. I was riding my step-mother's gelding and he spooked at a turkey feather on the ground. A feather! No actual turkey to be seen.

manymisadventures said...

This all reminds me of a quote about dressage letters my mom told me the other day.

For those of you not familiar with dressage, the letters around the arena are used as reference points as far as where to execute movements. They go A F B M C H E K in a short arena, with X at center and other intermediate letters. No apparent sense.

Reason the letters are the way they are: all the other letters are THERE, they're just INVISIBLE! What do you think your horse has been spooking at this whole time??

MyLittlePony said...

Last week we went for a ride "around the loop". It's a paved country road with very little traffic that makes a loop near our boarding barn.

McKinna's biggest spook was at a family of plywood bears. Someone made some yard art by constructing a family of bears out of plywood, painting them black and placing them in the yard.

McKinna was pretty sure they were REAL bears.

Meghan said...

I bought my mare, Sofie, an oval mouth copper bit because I wanted to try her in a loose ring and the catalog I was ordering it from didn't have one in stainless. I figured she would like it because horses like copper bits, right? Well, the second she tasted it in her mouth she made a face and stuck out her tongue like "Yuck! What IS this?" I rode her in it and she did fine, but when she had the same reaction the second time I put it in her mouth I sent it back and bought her a stainless one.

The gelding I leased before I found Sofie had a spooky streak. Once I was cantering him around the arena, and his hooves kicked up a dirt clod. It hit the arena wall, and he performed a lovely hand gallop.

cierarosaline said...

lol you're right. my horse bailey used to have a huge issue with ditches. now he goes over them w/o a problem but whenever i go past them he leaps in the opposite direction then keeps going as if nothing happened

manymisadventures said...

I love it when my horses are more spooked of the things they walk next to than the things they jump over.


autumnblaze said...

Once when I was working at the vet school we had a cute little AQH mare in. Super cute 4/5 year old. I can't remember why she was there... I do remember she had LOVELY feet. OH!!! Her normal vet had two shots, one IV one IM... switched them and caused a nasty necrotic abcess on her chest. Poor mare.... aaaannyways. She wouldn't drink our water. Nothing. Went on for 2-3 days. Owner had to finally bring in stinky, algae filled jugs of pond water from her field. Cracked me up. She LIT UP when she smelled/saw 'HER' water. Drank a bucket in no time. Oh, it was gross water...

Oh, Gator once spooked (jumped sideways not a 'real' spook) at... *drumroll*

a butterfly.

Seriously. I 'got' the white tail deer that jumped up 20 ft right in front of us. I understood when my dog spooked up a fawn that literally, ran under his tail. A butterfly? Really?

He's apparently also a priss when it comes to mush/wet ground and puddles. I guess he was a show horse (huntseat) for his whole life with some trail riding on occasion. Man... what a priss he was the other day when we'd had several days of rain. My dog splashed through a big puddle at the end of the ride... which I guess inspired him to get the hell out of the mush. I wasn't *happy* to canter in the nasty mess (for the sake of his legs) but he was. Silly horses.

Sam said...

Oh geeze lol
My horses are total nuts

The little 11 hand pony I use to ride one time attacked my friend because she was wearing a afro (I know that I spell had that wrong)

He also refused a jump one time cause a butterfly hit him in the face. Can't say I blame him much for that though lol

I went on a walk down the road with another pony (who is a little on the green side but he's walked down the road after nearly every ride) and decided to go off on a small trail instead of all the way down the road. When I turned around to head back, I gave him his head so he could pull himself up the hill better but instead the little dork squealed like a little girl getting a lifetime supply of candy and then attempted to gallop home lol My friend's horse behind me was just like "Dude, we'll be home it like two seconds. Just chill!"

Another time he was just trotting along, saw a buuny, leaped to the side, then continued to trot along like nothing happened lol

Oh, then we one day got a new pony. Our mare was in the trailer with him and peeked her head around to look at him (we picked him up on the way back from a show) and when he touched her nose she squealed and flew back into her own stall in the trailer (I guess that's what you call it lol) I swear she was saying "Oh my God! It TOUCHED me!!"

Oh and said pony also will wait for horses to lie down then he'll run backwards as fast as he can, kick them then run for his life!

Oh, then our colt was put into the arena one day since his pasture was pretty much just muck. We use construction barrels for spooky jumps and to set up cross rails when we run out of standards. One day we happen to look out to see him running around with one of the barrels on his head XD

You gotta love weird horses man! lol

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