My horse should win an academy award....
For best actor. He had us fooled for a good eight months. Today of course was the culmination of his acting career, when he attacked my BO. I was not there for the incident, but while we were having the conversation about it, things lined up for me in my head. She told me that a little girl was uncomfortable fastening the leg strap for his blanket whilst in his stall, so she stepped in to put it on. She fastened it no problem, walked around him to check everything else was where it should be without so much as a sour look. As she was leaving, she saw a piece of plastic near his door, so she bent down to pick it up. As she stood back up, he pinned his ears and bared his teeth at her. They started a little dance of "my space, not yours" for fifteen minutes. It ended with what Pam (the BO) thought was submission--she thought he was licking and chewing while in the back corner of his stall, so she turned to leave quietly. He apparently lunged at her, grabbed her by the arm, and quite literally tossed her to the ground. I didn't see it, but she says her whole upper arm is purple.
The first thing that caught me was the fact that she'd bent down--If I bend down in the round pen to say, tie my shoe, he'll take it as an opportunity to turn or stop without asking. The second thing was that it was in his stall. Obviously he sees this as his space, for the most part he is right. We did have some issues earlier in our relationship that a respect stick seemed to fix, so that has been brought back out and now stands out by his stall. The third thing that caught me was that she mentioned that he may have been beaten, something I have also thought in the past. When you ask him to move out of your space his head flies up, his eyes roll back, and its obvious he's in "protection" mode, more so than just "bah, get your hand away from my face!"
Let me just say that she didn't just let him get away with attacking her. Of course he won that round, but later she had one of our NH boarders work with him. She said they worked for about a half hour, and really pushed him to throw a little bit of trust out there. I think she follows Parelli, which honestly I could care less about what program specifically she works. I think he's officially been moved from the "horse with a problem" category to "problem horse". He has no trust in people in general, and for myself I'll say that he only has a tiny bit. However, throughout his life I now know that he has most likely learned to comply with what you ask of him, rather than truly be submissive and really want to do it. Behavioral training started today, and it will most likely really start tomorrow. Since Pam knows that I am monetarily strapped, she's worked out with Kristen (new trainer) that its 15 dollars a session with no time limit. Kristen wants to work with him through the week, and probably next Thursday it will be me working with her working with him, and then we'll talk about long term.
I think what honestly bugs me most is that nobody saw it coming, and apparently training isn't everything. I've always known that he has an attitude, and that he is never one to just back down at the wave of a crop. Having said that, he has excellent ground manners, and he's definitely made improvements in his round pen behavior. He doesn't yank me around the yard, nor do I have to yank him. I can stick my hand out towards his butt, and he'll pivot on his front feet in a full circle. Without a halter on, I can hold my hand out as he's walking and say "whoa" and he stops dead. Whether its because he was truly beaten into compliance or what, his "well-trained" demeanor is no indicator of "well-mannered".
So, for anyone who read that whole thing, thank you! I would definitely appreciate some "problem horse" success stories, haha. Needless to say until I get the okay from Kristen, riding has stopped, which is so sad because I love my new saddle! Now lets all hope I get that overnight job I'm in the running for.