Join Date: May 2009
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Thanks a lot you guys. Mom2pride no offense taken whatsoever - I KNOW that I've inadvertently caused this by simple lack of attention. Because she's older and already has her foundation, the behaviors really weren't surfacing when all I was doing was grooming and feeding her. I stupidly assumed she would be fine for her layoff, and began asking virtually nothing of her other then to be a pet. It's not so much that I allowed the bad behavior, as I've allowed her to be a "pet" for so long now that she has developed a rather high opinion of herself and NOW that we're asking her to be a work horse again, we're getting the major attitude. The ear pinning and aggression only come out when being asked to work, otherwise she's like any other snuggly and affectionate beloved pet.
I will definitely keep pain in my mind, but at this point I'm not going to throw a bunch of money to a vet. Having owned this horse her entire life, I am fairly confident of this being behavioral in nature. She has ALWAYS been rather strong willed and opinionated, and we've had minor problems before - they just used to be directed at other people, not me. And with that point mentioned, I AM considering the possibility that someone is mistreating her. It's a bit "far fetched" as she's in the outdoor pen and shouldn't be handled by anyone whatsoever, but within the first week of being there the jerkwad we got fired went after her with a whip because he somehow managed to mistake her for a gelding (who comes in at night). The only other time I've seen behaviors like this surface was when she was mistreated by a pair of vindictive boarders a few years back. As mentioned, it surfaced more of a general distrust and dislike of strangers that WOULD escalate to aggression if she felt defensive. I've never had her actually hurt anyone (and at this point, she hasn't yet either).
So I can think of ZERO reason for anyone handling her, but I have taken it into consideration. However, if she was being mistreated, I would expect the results to surface in ALL areas of her life, no? She still comes trotting happily to me in the pasture, enjoys whuffling my pockets, and being fawned over, I've seen absolutely NO change in her general behavior, just her work ethic.
As for exercise, at this point it's fairly limited. She has a fairly large pasture with plenty of room to move and get even a decent gallop if she wanted. Because of the leg injury, riding and lunging aren't exactly an option although we are looking into light exercise again as she's had several months off and the leg appears good and hasn't had any issues all winter. She's brought into the arena regularly and turned loose for a good roll without her blanket and the chance to move out, she's pretty quiet and usually keeps it at a prancy jog even if the others are racing and bucking.
Thanks again for the advice, I know I have to just CALM DOWN. I'm usually so rational around horses, and for some reason I'm just having difficulty with this one. Zierra has spent a great deal of time being much more then just a horse to me, and I owe it to her to step back and relax before I attempt to tackle this. Shay-la is able to look at her objectively and as a horse right now, and she handles much the same way as I do and is also one of the few people Zierra is ok with so I think her taking over for now is the best option. I'm standing as an observer and just watching so I can get a handle on her behavior.
I definitely won't rule out pain, and I actually *may* have to call the vet soonish as Jynx has developed a rather unsightly growth on her face which I'm pretty sure is a wart of sorts but seems to be growing fast. We also have a horse who needs their teeth floated so we'll try to coincide the appointment to be most cost effective to everyone!
I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.