Great thread shelleyb! What a cutie of a mare you have!
I have good working relationships with all 11 of mine, but have 2 heart horses.
The first is our oldest stallion, Hondo. He is 29 this year & I am 31. He was born here on our family farm so we have had a lot of years to develop a true bond. I have been riding him since he was a 4 yr old & I was 6. He has always acted more gelding than stud :) Let's see...here's a few of his quirks
-It doesn't matter if he is ridden every day or once a month, every time you ask him to lope the first time in a ride he gives a little crow hop and then goes straight to working like he was in the spotlight.
-If I'm having a bad day, he's my therapist. I spent a lot of my teenage years sitting in his stall or pasture crying with his head rested on my shoulder saying "it's okay".
-He does the feet thing too, picks them up for me in order.
-He comes when I whistle, but only for me, I guess he knows the difference in whistles...annoys my husband a little lol!
-He is the ultimate babysitter, my 6 yr old daughter rides him frequently and he won't go any faster than he thinks she can handle. She has been trying for months to get him to lope for her...he says nope, not yet but I will jog as much as you want.
-He always stays laying down if I catch him dozing, he LOVES to have his belly scratched like a dog.
-I counted down the days until I turned 18 and could show him, so for my 18th birthday he handed me my first AQHA All-Around Championship. We earned 4 more that summer :)
-I can ride him bridleless/bareback & he does anything asked. Same with showmanship, he never misses a beat.
The 2nd is my youngest stallion, Woodstock. (my avatar) I got him at 3 yrs old, a rank, aggressive stallion who had never been outside of his box stall, never met another horse or eaten a blade of fresh grass. He was born here & sold, I bought him back after I learned of his situation. I carry a great deal of guilt for selling him in the first place. It's been a very long road with him, I've been bit, kicked, had him come at me with both front feet. Pretty much any dangerous or bad behavior, he has tried it. I am proud to say he is now a totally different horse and we have developed a very strong relationship working through his fears and issues. Some are quirks, others are just things we worked through..
-He had to be tranq'd to have his feet done, he now stands ground tied half asleep.
-He was barely halter broke, we now do leadless showmanship patterns as part of our daily routine.
-He plays "fetch". He will get his feed pan and meet me at the stall door, pan in mouth and drops it for me to fill. We also play fetch in the arena with pool noodles, a soccer ball, tarps, etc.
-There can be 10 people in the barn and he watches every step I take and could care less about anything or anyone else around.
-As soon as he hears me open the pasture gate in the morning he is calling out to me. Everyone else waits until they hear the grain buckets.
-He drags a tarp around like a kid with a "blankie". I like that he chooses to desensitize himself!
-His best friends are the barn cat, Oreo & my husband's hunting dog, Dell. I find the cat sleeping on him quite often. Then he & Dell are play buddies, they romp together in the pasture.
-He's Harry Houdini reincarnate. He figured out how to unlatch the chain to the indoor arena gate when he was loose in there, he then went in the stall barn & turned on all of the stall lights, had brushes & my daily use stuff in a pile by his door and was standing at the ring I tie him at.
-He had a bad tendon injury last fall and is still not cleared for much more than light riding so we have gotten creative in our exercise plan. His favorite, along with my hubby's hunting dog, is to trot along behind me on the 4-wheeler, no lead on either of them. We cruise thru the pasture & woods every day for a 1/2 hour.
First pic is the old man, Hondo. Second is Woodstock.
Life is like a camera. Focus on what's important, Capture the good times, Develop from the negatives and if things don't work out, Take another shot.