WHY Do I Find a Problem with Her?
Tango, my riding horse, and as some of you already know, is...ridiculously hot-headed. Not in the insane, bucking, rearing sense; she just wants to RUN RUN RUN. Since we put a stronger bit in she's slowed down a little and actually listened to it and me, but she still just wants to go. Desperately. Having said that, she is the opposite of a spooky, disrespectful idiot. You would be extremely hard-pressed to scare this horse, and she doesn't bolt (anymore, though she does get strong), rear or buck, even when she gets pissy or frustrated. Her ground manners are impeccable. She doesn't kick, bite, nip, or even pin an ear at you on the ground. She'll follow you over and through anything. Despite some shoeing difficulties, she stands and allows her feet to be handled and she's fine with you touching any part of her. Now that you have a picture of her, I'll explain our current predicament:
So I hate arena work. I stand it for our once-weekly lessons, not only because she's really good at the lesson barn, but because it's easier to learn in an arena. I think she hates it too. It's boring-for both of us-to just go around in circles and not see anything new. We both enjoy gaming, but around home really all we have that we both find interesting is trail riding. For the longest time I wouldn't take her out because I didn't trust what she might do out all alone on the trails, and then finally today I got bored fighting her in our field/arena and took her into the neighbouring hayfield. She was anxious and trying to go faster in the direction of home so there was no way I was taking her back like that and so I made her go out farther. And all the way I kept saying: "Hey, we're this far, we might as well go farther." We went in a massive arc around our place, at least 10 miles, and all the way her head was up, ears forwards, and pounding her little legs off as fast as she could go in a walk. Well, a couple times she was slow and relaxed, but not much.
The only two times she spooked in that entire hour and a half was 1) a drainage ditch suddenly emerged out of the grasses and 2) a massive tree stump half-covered by grasses. Both times was nothing more than looking sideways and shying a couple steps to the side-it wasn't like she turned and bolted for home. She got pissy and tried to fight me on occasion; her ears would be back and her tail lashing, but she always gave in to me, however grudgingly, and she never bucked or reared with me, no matter how angry I made her. We even passed another field of horses and all she did was look interestedly at them. She was SO good, and I talked kindly to her and praised her (not enough, I think) and gave her a loose rein as long as she kept at a fair paced walk that wasn't ridiculously fast.
Yet, I'm pretty sure I was a big b*tch to her. I snarled at her and pulled her back pretty forcefully when we got home and she just wanted to run again, I scolded her (not physically, obviously, just growled) when she kept whinnying, and though occasionally she tried to speed up on the trail into trot without my cue, I wasn't unreasonable, just eased her down.
I already knew she was an awesome trail horse but I've never had her out alone, or successfully ridden out from home before. She was so good. Her only faults were actually my fault (for not keeping her attention on me, though cut me some slack, we couldn't exactly move off a straight line without trampling crops or go too fast without tripping on the uneven ground). Though she desperately wanted to go home she never made an excuse to ditch me and take off, or tried to throw me, or spooked at idiotic things, or completely ignored me. She was SO good, and yet...all I can think of when I see her is how fast and strong and stubborn and willful she is, and how difficult it is to deal with all that. All I can see is her faults, despite the many many MANY positive aspects she has to her.
My dad can't believe I'm anything less than overjoyed with her. I am happy with her, and I KNOW I'm so lucky to have her, but I can't believe how ungrateful I am. I mean, I guess I could do endurance races with her =P Maybe that would tire her out. What do you think? Am I being a fool for hating her go-ness? Do you think just lots of rides like today's would mellow her out? Though keep in mind yesterday we had a big horse show that tired her out so thoroughly, and when I rode this morning she was all spry and ready to gallop again. Not much tires this mare.