So, as many of you know, Lacey and I are currently fostering a mare, Lady, for a local horse rescue.
Lady is becoming more and more of a problem due to my ineptness with a horse that knows nothing (I agreed to foster her thinking she knew more than she does) and due to her own weirdness (she was orphaned as a baby+therefore is a little "off" - not in a bad way, just different). Mostly it's due to me not knowing what I'm doing.
Basically, a quote from one of Clinton Anderson's books comes to mind: "Where knowledge ends, frustration begins."
I can handle Lady ok on a daily basis but trying to do more beyond the basic feeding, brushing, leading, is asking for trouble.
I can and do pony her off Lacey but that's becoming more of an issue due to Lacey's behavior (she waits until I'm facing away, then tries to bite Lady - I correct her but it's often a second too late, as well as Lacey seeming to think of us as some sort of "unit" and is kinda treating Lady like an imposter to that unit). Granted, Lacey only corrects Lady when Lady has broken a "rule" that Lacey knows, but I need to be the one enforcing rules, not Lacey.
Then, yesterday a BIG problem cropped up: I took Lacey on a ride, just the two of us, and when we came back, Lady had gone through every fence that isn't covered in blackberry bushes/high tensile wire. She wasn't injured, thank goodness, and every possible way out of the pasture is wooden fencing/metal gate so she did not escape but she did a lot of damage to the fencing I've put up to block off pastures/make "stalls", etc. I know it wouldn't be an issue if the fence was electrified but Lacey (due to her sight issues) can't be behind an electric fence because she gets panicky (knows it's there but isn't sure how close she is to it - solution: panic!).
I NEED to be able to ride Lacey alone and Lacey really enjoys our time, just the two of us. It's not an option to just take Lady on every ride, Lacey and I both need a break of Lady's special brand of "nutso" every once in a while.
Anyway, I've contacted the rescue, Lady's "owners", about this and they've offered to come pick her up later this week if that's what I want. And, well, I don't know.
I like that Lacey had a buddy and I've grown quite fond of Lady.
However, I really don't like anything else about this. I don't like that I know I'm not doing the best by Lady because I've started just ignoring her since I know that I'll just get frustrated with her when her being weird/nuts is not her fault.
I don't like how Lacey treats Lady when I'm leading them both down to the trails. I don't like how Lady is when we leave her behind. And I CERTAINLY don't like fixing a multitude of fences because Captain PANIC decided she didn't like them impeding her panicking space...
And then there's the whole thing with Lacey's eyes. I'm finding that in the face of her most recent ERU episode, I just don't have the energy to care properly for/be patient with her AND be patient/understanding with Lady. I'm beginning to feel like if Lacey has a buddy, it needs to be a Steady Eddy/Reliable Joe-type. Something that doesn't need me to fuss over/work with him/her constantly and who can deal with it if my attentions need to be really focused on Lacey for a time.
I have a couple of options: continue to work with Lady and hope that she'll majikally come around, send Lady away and go back to it just being me and Lacey, or, the rescue has a laid back gelding with "fantastic" ground manners who's unrideable due to some mental stuff that they would like to send to me as a longterm foster.
If we go back to just me and Lacey, I'm going to approach my neighbor's (the property owners) about figuring out a way for the llamas to join Lacey. That may be not possible, but hopefully I can sweet talk them into it. haha
The gelding, supposedly he's great. Been to two trainers, apparently rides fine for a while then bolts out of nowhere+doesn't stop until his rider is gone. I don't need to own a pasture pet like that but a longterm foster? I could probably handle that.
The only caveat is that Lacey, upon occasion, gets unreasonably attached to geldings. She just falls in "love" and cannot handle any sort of seperation from them. That's basically why I've tried to keep our situation male animal free, as a general rule. There are some geldings that she does really well with, just the majority bring out the worst in her.
I just can't decide what would be best for Lacey at this point. When Lacey, Lady, and I are all together, Lacey acts like she hates Lady. I correct her for "mean" behavior (snaking her neck, pinned ears, biting the air near Lady) but that doesn't change how much she acts like she can't stand me giving both of them attention. After I correct her, she'll stand there with her ears partially pinned like "Fine. But I'm NOT happy" and this is a horse with perpetually perky, happy, ears.
She's so relaxed when I take her on a trail ride, just the two of us, and much more "tightly wound" when we bring Lady.
It's almost like Lady is a source of stress for Lacey - understandably, I guess, since Lacey is "the boss" but can't see well and knows she can't see well, therefore "failing" as a leader - and I don't know what to do to make it better.
However, when I watch Lady and Lacey together in the pasture, they seem to be ok with/possibly enjoy each other's company. Lacey follows Lady everywhere, Lady does a good job of leading. On the other hand, I often find each mare grazing in opposite pastures, without a worry to where their friend is...
Gah. Why can't Lacey just talk to me and tell me what she'd like best? Darn horse. Now is your time to speak like a Narnia horse, NOW!
I really like Lady but my duty is to Lacey so I need to make Lacey the priority here, not the horse I want to help.
Any thoughts? *cookies if you read all that*