AHaha, lesson learned on the switch. By switch I mean a 4 foot long, flexible, sapling type branch that I picked off of a bush. It would leave a welt on a human but probably not a horse, though it did raise the dust off Scarlet a good foot into the air. At the time I really only took the switch with me for what was in my mind, a fairly unlikely emergency. I thought it was good enough until I could get back to the farm store. It's just the emergency happened. And Scarlet only looked at me when I fully expected her to run away...Trust me, it does not feel good to find yourself in that situation, knowing you have to make that horse move, only to realize you've misjudged your stick.
Let me point out though, that insufficient though my stick may have been, if it were not for the advice of this forum I would have had nothing in my hands at all. God only knows what would have happened then. So seriously, I can't even begin to express how grateful I am for everyone's help.
So I did buy a lunge whip and Scarlet knows exactly what it is without me ever having to have used it. Now her manners are much better, she is more submissive. The vet said she is indeed a good horse for a beginner (he has horses too), and surprisingly, that she has no restrictions despite her age (mid to late teens) and slightly arthritic legs. The vet also seemed to really want a buddy for her, so we are having a very adorable mini-donkey delivered this weekend. The donkey is easier for me to take care of while I'm still learning horse skills, that way Scarlet won't have to wait on me and my learning before she gets a friend.
I have found a trainer. But...despite Scarlet's improved behavior I still just don't trust her now. I think I just need my confidence back and hopefully the trainer can help me with that : ( But like you said, emcdevitt, I feel like this escalated very quickly. I'm sure I must have made mistakes with horses before, but it's never led to a confrontation like this.
She's also airborne more than any horse I've seen. It's delightful to see and I'm glad she feels so good now, but honestly it makes me even more nervous to handle her. It's just different from the plodding trail horses I'm used to that never ever went by any means other than land.
I think my horse's spirit animal must be an impala.
I do know a bit more about Scarlett's history now and what led up to this crazy behavior change. Apparently she was the newest horse in her old herd of about 5 or 6. She worked her way up to horse #2 in the pecking order. When those horses were given grain they were all fed from a single trough and whoever could eat the most, the fastest won the food. It looks like she was given something to eat every time a person visited the field and has been trained to expect this. On the other side of that coin she hasn't really been asked to do anything for a human for a little over a year now at least (I feel at one time though she was a highly trained and obedient horse). And finally my husband at last admitted, despite my strict orders, he was allowing my daughter to feed Scarlet the grain while I was at school. So I feel like this is why Scarlett came stepping up on her
that first episode when we tried to leave without giving her anything.
Anyhow, it looks like the first visit from the trainer will be in a little over a week (pushed back due to the incoming snow). Hopefully I can stop being such a wuss again and then maybe this story will have a happy ending.