Kicked, out of the blue
But really, what is out of the blue with a horse?
This is kind of half rant, but if anyone has insight, feel free to post it.
My mare and I have been actually making decent progress. But good gracious does her ground manners leave a lot to be desired lately.
To start, haven't had problems loading her in the past 4 years. Well went to go load her up to move to a barn and, well, lets just say I had help step in which I had to tell to go away. 3 days later of 3 hour long sessions daily at that trailer she loads no problem again.
We are settled, progressing nicely, no problems. Up until a month ago. She was standing tied, calm, I was picking out her feet. Then all a sudden she is hauling backwards and snaps her halter. Awesome. Catch her and tie her back up with the rope halter. Rest of the night perfect.
She started getting hard to catch and every time her halter put pressure on her she shot backwards and she was shaking her head. So out comes the chiropractor. Poll through her shoulder tight and a mess. Okay cool, so a few days just chilling after the adjustment with slow give-to-pressure exercises.
Now even harder to catch! Spent a couple days just catching her, leading her somewhere, giving her a carrot then turning her loose and repeat. I would do the chase till you come routine, but she is out with other horses that would just LOVE this game. I do practice it in the arena though.
So she only walks away a few steps now until giving up. Last Friday we are tied, being groomed. Then hauls backwards. Halter snapped again, but I'm glad it did this time. I don't think the post would hold if she didn't give. Catch her, tie her, finishing grooming, make sure that if she moves a single foot I put her back to her original spot. No problems.
Now last night. She didn't even try to avoid being caught. Tied fine, saddled fine, well a little squirming, but a chalked it up to the sheep coming around the corner. Had a good ride. End of the ride she was really responsive and calm. Dismount and my hand squeaked on the saddle and startled her a bit.
Okay, so ran my hand up and down the fender squeaking until she was tolerating it. Go to move the stirrup to loosen the cinch and she spins and lets a hoof fly. I am SO glad I always tip her nose towards me and hold that rein. That bent head probably saved my innards.
I was just stunned. She hit me right in the lower abdomen/pelvic bone/hip area. I managed to stay on my feet but it took about 20 seconds before I could actually move my left leg.
I caught her and tried to touch the stirrup, she wasn't having that happen. So rather than be kicked again I sent her in a fury of hindquarter yields, backing and grabbed a lunge line and another rope and tide up the stirrup. Let her run until she tolerated the moving stirrup, something I thought we had mastered years ago. I ended this lesson by trotting over a rope on the ground that apparently was oh so scary until she calmed down. I was able to untack her, rub her down and turn her out calmly with absolutely no problems.
I'm just baffled by her. She went through a hard to catch phase a 2 year old, but used to always walk up. She hasn't pulled back since her first tieing experience 6 years ago. And she has never kicked out at anyone before. She kicked when she disliked a farrier, but never at them. Just out.
I have no idea where the 'tude is coming from or where I lost the respect.
It hurts to sit now and lifting things makes my abs angry and now walking is starting to hurt my hip. So I'm down for the rest of today and tomorrow, except for work.
Friday though. Whole day off and that pony is getting some serious ground work. I have lunging and listening perfectly to voice commands, sacking out and don't you dare step towards me or move your butt in my direction while scared, some free lunging around obstacles, yielding and saddling/mounting/dismounting exercises. My plan is to poop her out and tie her. To a good spot with a rope halter. Sound like a decent plan?
I feel like I have hit the "1 step back" in the "2 steps forward, 1 step back" saying. Just why did the step have to be a kick? They kind of hurt.
Anyone have any insight? Or any stories to share? I'm pretty sure some horses just like to prove us wrong when we start bragging about progress.