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Hrsegirl 01-17-2011 11:36 PM

Attitude Change..
I'm just on a posting rampage tonight! This is my 3rd! All about the same horse! Uffda! :-x

Well anyways...Friday when I was up to see the horses, I noticed Cherokee had advanced his little attitude problem. I noticed it a couple weeks ago and just thought maybe he was being crabby, he has those days.
A little info on Cherokee: He is a 13 yr old ex-barrel racer. Has been at multiple homes.

The last couple weeks when I go see the horses, he hasn't been letting me catch him very easily. It's like he's playing hard to catch. I actually can't even touch him without him trying to walk away. He will pin his ears and walk away from me. I don't understand why he started doing this, he used to be such a teddy bear!

I was wondering if he was resenting me for not being there as much as I should. I've been super busy with work and have only been able to see the horses MAYBE once a week. I know that's not very good, but what can I do when I have to work? But I guess he doesn't just do it to me, he does it to my boyfriend also.:-(

I was also wondering if it's maybe jealousy? We got a new mare in October sometime, and after he bonded with her, he started to act that way. He also gets after her alot lately. She will just be standing next to him and he'll pin his ears and bite her. I don't understand...any thoughts would be helpful.

gottatrot 01-17-2011 11:52 PM

My general bias is that horses have a logical reason in their own mind for everything they do. I really dislike when people say horses have an "attitude problem," or similar phrases like "my horse is being bad," etc. I believe horses are extremely smart, but I don't think they have the complex thought patterns that humans do. I seriously doubt your horse is thinking, "I sure haven't seen her in awhile, I wish she would come and spend more time with me so we could build a real relationship together." More likely, your horse has a simple reason for not wanting to get caught. It might be related to not wanting to be separated from the herd and worked alone, or it might be that since you only go once a week that you take him out and work him really hard. Horses enjoy exercise, but only when it is "fair" work and the horse is in shape for the level of work he is doing. If you gradually get a horse used to going on rides or exercising alone, and build up his muscles gradually, he will be happy to leave the pasture to work. Especially if you throw in a few days where you only do pleasant things like hand grazing, grooming, or working on leading. But if you always take your horse out and work him hard, especially if you are always doing new things he doesn't understand, he will not want to get caught. I have seen lots of horses where the owners grab a horse out of the pasture, lunge hard or ride hard for an hour or two, and throw the horse back out. It doesn't take long before the horses won't let the owners catch them anymore.

Hrsegirl 01-18-2011 01:14 AM

When I go see him, I don't work him hard. I rarely work him at all in the winter. Normally in the winter, I'll catch him, brush him, pick his feet if its needed and give him a few alfalfa cubes. Sometimes we will go for a short ride, and most the time it's bareback so he doesn't even have to have a saddle on. I don't separate him from his herd either, his buddy stays right beside him at all times during the grooming process. I don't really understand the way he is acting, but I wish I could!

mls 01-18-2011 09:52 AM

How cold has it been? At 13 years of age and an ex barrel horse - it would not be out of line to think about changes in his joints. He could be sore thus making him cranky.

churumbeque 01-18-2011 11:02 AM

I get cranky when I am in pain and horses do too

Hrsegirl 01-18-2011 01:46 PM

High temperatures recently have been like 0 all day and around -15 at night. They have free access to their barn at all times. Any suggestions for him? It's not impossible to put him in every night. The barn is insulated with heat lamps in it, so maybe I should start to put him in every night. That would definitely help him I suppose. Any other suggestions?

churumbeque 01-18-2011 03:19 PM

It would be harder to go from hot to cold every day and more likely to get sick.

ScharmLily 01-18-2011 03:31 PM

My gelding (25 yr old arab) definitely gets cranky when I haven't spent enough time with him. He also dislikes when I pet another horse in front of him. He will either turn his back and walk away (usually comes to meet me) or give kisses to get attention. I truly believe that horses vary widely in their intellectual ablities, so although most have relatively simple reasons for behavior, I do believe that there are those who are much more perceptive. My gelding is a complicated guy.

Does your guy wear a blanket? When you spend time with him is it rushed and hurried? They definitely pick up on this and it can cause them to be grumpy.

mls 01-18-2011 03:32 PM

If he is stiff - locking him up so he can't move would make it worse.

An oral joint supplement, an injectable joint supplement or understand he may be on the testy side during the cold snap.

Hrsegirl 01-18-2011 11:32 PM

I seriously do believe that he is grumpy because I don't spend enough time with him. I went to see him yesterday and today. Yesterday he was quite the old grump and today he was perfect. Was not grumpy at all, was not hard to catch, didn't walk away from me. He was in a very happy mood as a matter of fact. He was bucking and playing while I was moving hay from their feeder to the barn.
I did put them inside tonight as it is supposed to get like -40 with wind chill! Ahh!

I haven't noticed him being stiff at all so I'm not sure its anything to do with his joints. I'm not sure what he is thinking but whatever it is, must have something to do with me not seeing him enough.

No our time together is not rushed and hurried, I try to spend equal amounts with both horses like brushing, talking to, petting and going for short walks around the yard. I never try to hurry when I am up there with them as I don't get to see them everyday. Thanks for the advice and hopefully I've got it figured out.

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