I need some tips. I have been leasing my now 10 year old Paint Mare for about 4.5 months now. She boards at a very nice barn about 5 minutes away from my home, so it is really easy for me to go see her. She is really well broke and is a "baby-sitter." She is great with my almost 7 year old daughter. She is my first experience with a horse beside trail rides (which is why I'm leasing her). I am on a lease to own, so June is the buy month...she is almost ours. She will continue to board at the barn she is at as they have an indoor arena, its owned by a very nice knowledgeable family, and her buddy is there, I could never take her away from Diva! I am a 15 year certified vet tech - only small animal though, so no horse experience, but I am comfortable around any animals, I can read them pretty well.
So when I started leasing her I came to see her daily, just ground worked her, bonded with her etc., plus my weekly lessons and my daughter's weekly lessons. I probably brought the visits down to 4-5 times a week because, lets face it, I have a full time job, I have a 6 year old (with Leukemia), and life in general.
This month I have been a pretty bad horse mom. I work from home, but my clinics that I work for are 4 hours away and I had to spend a week at those. My daughter's oncologist is also 4 hours away, and we had two visits this month, plus that is where my family is, so we usually stay for 2-3 days instead of driving back and forth. Work has been insane, the weather has been aweful, and I have been out to see my horse may 4 or 5 times this whole month...so she is pretty sour and definitely testing me...rearing when I'm on her, bucking when I'm lunging her, just plain out sassy.
Today I went to work with her, I usually go around 1pm, well I went at 8am, on the way home from taking my daughter to school. I decided that 8am is just going to work better for me, but she doesn't get turned out til about 8:30/9am. So...not only did she not get her morning hay with her friends, I haven't seen her in over a week, and I changed my normal visit time. She was bad, mad, and fully ready to tell me. She did fine for the grooming, but when I brought her up to lunge her (which I decided is all I was going to do considering I had taken her away from her grazing and she was ANGRY) while she was on the lunge line she would pull her face, (fine I can work with that), rear at me, and kick with her front feet at me. She wasn't charging me and was a good 6 feet from me, but all in all was making sure I knew that she was not having it. Each time she did this I stopped her, then stated her again. I made sure she did 1 full circle without a tantrum then took her the other direction and repeated. I then took her off of her lunge line, back on her lead, did about 2 minutes of showmanship stuff and brought her back to her pasture.
A. I didn't want her to win, but
B. I do not know enough to keep working with her when she is like that...it's too dangerous.
So...what do I do? I would like to keep going at 8am otherwise my visits will continue to be few and far between. Should I give her hay when I'm grooming her? Is there a really yummy, special hay that I can get her that she ONLY gets at that time? Is she going to get too used to that and then if I groom her minus the hay in the future will that make her sour? Should I just continue to go at 8 am, and do what I'm doing, groom her, lunge her, ground work her, and eventually ride her again? When she acts like that she usually wins because I am so green I can not tell if she is bluffing or really going to do something, so I stop what I'm asking her to do...I try to ask her again once I gain my composure, but she knows that she can get away with this stuff with minimal consequence...What is the consequence? If I had a dog try to attack me I would know exactly what to do, but when my horse acts as if she wants to kick me, I have no clue what the "punishment" is.
Right now my plan is to continue the 8am visits and work up to her behaving for me again.
Also, because I am again at the end of this month going to have to be gone for 2 weeks, how to I prevent this sour attitude? Is it appropriate to ask the BO if she knows of anyone that would like to work with her? Can I offer her as a lesson horse? She is just so good, I do not want to ruin her.
Thank you sooo much for all of your help all of the time! I am so grateful that I found this site!