I could hear chainsaws buzzing as I went outside this morning, so I opted for an easy day. Wore my Tilley's hat. Used the Dr Cook's bitless. Stayed in the arena. While putting on fly spray, I accidentally poked Bandit's eye. I was moving my hand to get near his eye when he turned into it. It was a pretty hard poke and I felt horrible about it. But...Bandit being Bandit, and after 4 years together, I was forgiven in 30 seconds. Washed his eye a little with some water and he seems to be doing fine. But I decided then to let him do a lot of eating and only a little work.
Bandit might offer that as a trade: "Ummm...Bob, how about you poke me in the eye again and then let me graze for 30 minutes of our 45 minute "ride"?
" I'm pretty sure I was forgiven before mounting up, but I'm CERTAIN I was forgiven by ride's end! Part way through, my wife showed up. She took a couple of pictures and one short video. Wish she had taken more video. Bandit wanted to TROT. Or CANTER. He went from "Hmmmm, that patch of grass over there looks good"
to "I'm a STUD! Watch me!"
And the moment she stepped inside the house? He looked, saw a patch of grass, and stopped next to it. The reins slid thru my fingers as he dove his head and went back to munching!
No getting around it. He's a ham!
Wish I could get my wife to hold her phone sideways...
A still picture, taken first:
I mostly let him set speed, except a couple of times when I told him to stop near my wife. This picture was me asking (insisting?) on turning right when he thought left was better. He DID agree to turn my way, but we obviously are thinking different thoughts:
There is a discussion of "hot horses" on a dressage thread. I didn't comment because it IS a dressage thread. But from MY perspective, the horse didn't strike me as necessarily "hot". Maybe, but maybe not. Could just be like Bandit - an independent soul and a bit of a ham.
To me, a "hot" horse is one without an "off switch". I've seen that term used for sport Border Collies - "Oh, my BC doesn't have an off switch!
" I had a place that adopts out Border Collies tell me they don't have
off switches. I pointed out that on a ranch, a Border Collie without an off switch is called "dead" - you shoot them to stop them from harassing sheep. They told me I don't know about Border Collies. I'm pretty sure THEY don't! But let's not get off on dog adoption places...
Mia struggled with an off switch. When she boiled over, or got excited, she STAYED intense for 20, 30 minutes. Two hours once, in the arena! She'd cool down to 210 degrees, or maybe 205, but it took AGES for her to relax. I've done 8 or more bolts on her - diarrhea squirting bolts - in a half hour. My rancher friend pointed to a mountain about 15 miles away and told me, "Ride her to the top and back every day for a week and you'll have a great horse!
" I pointed out I was too old to try. He laughed and said he probably was too, but if his sons ever came down....
She could go entire rides without taking the slack out of the reins. But if she spun up, you'd best hang on and plan on spending a brutal time in the saddle trying to calm her down. To me, THAT is a hot horse. But even with Mia...she now lives in a place where 2-4 mile runs are common & done for fun. All the time. And she seems to have an off switch now.
Bandit is not hot. He was when I got him but I think it was a learned behavior. Bandit can get pissed, crow hop, thrash his head around...and 60 seconds later be Mister Calm. I would call him a free-spirited COLD horse. He can go from "WOW!
" to "Nom-nom-nom, grass is good!
" in seconds. He can get poked in the eye and 30 seconds later be rubbing his sore eye against my chest. He can go from "Look at me!
" to "I love grass
" in seconds. He's an expressive horse, but not a hot one.
PS: I've been criticized on HF before for Bandit's elevated head. It ain't me pulling on it. And he does it when I'm in two point. When he feels animated, his neck comes back and his head is high. A minute later, his head may be below his withers. It is up to him and he stays well balanced with a flowing back. It is who he is. And I'm happy with him and he's happy with me.
It would be interesting to take the hot horse on the dressage thread and do with her what my friend suggested doing with Mia - take her out and let her work, and work HARD, for 10+ hours. Do some 30 mile rides including 3,000' of elevation gain, daily, for a week. My guess is she would calm down considerably. But...would you WANT that in a dressage horse? Would you want to teach her to place a high value on efficiency? Might make her an easier ride, but not nearly so much a good dressage horse. But it is hard to speculate like than on a dressage thread because it is viewed as criticism. It isn't. I value a horse like Bandit because I think his showing off is fun, but I'm also glad he prefers eating most of the time. That doesn't mean others cannot value something different.