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Discussion Starter · #3,401 · (Edited)
The weekend here was actually fairly pretty, though still very cold. Yesterday especially was beautiful- bright, bright blue skies and lots of sunshine. The roads are mostly still covered in snow and ice, but it was too pretty not to go do something. So I put on my YakTrax and took Fizz for a walk to the overlook and back.
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We were fortunate we were only passed by one car- the road is basically down to a lane and a half at this point, and the snow banks are nearly as tall as me, so not much room to get out of the way if there was traffic.

And now today, we're back to...this.
Think she got a little up her nose with that roll :ROFLMAO:
 

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I love watching horses roll. It's really funny how individualized they are about it. Like horses with really tall withers usually can't go all the way over, and some seem really prissy like they just lightly touch their side to the ground while others just dig in and shovel into the ground with their head. Halla would amaze me because she could always get dirt encrusted between her front legs. Amore has to spin around and around multiple times before going down. Sometimes she'll spin a few times in both directions, and then change her mind and never roll. She did that even when she was young, so it's not about arthritis or anything. And Hero gets up and down so many times people think he is colicking. LOL. Then some have to always buck when they're done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,403 ·
I agree. I have way too many videos on my phone of horses rolling and looking silly. Fizz usually goes all the way over, multiple times (what's the old saying, a horse is worth $1 for every time they do a complete roll?), but the frozen ground right now is really irritating her and she can't get the roll she really wants. I'm sure when I get blankets off tomorrow she'll figure it out.

I was actually listening to a podcast the other day and heard the host share a really interesting story about a horse who had been on stall rest- because he had a leg fracture from a kick, he was in a fairly confined space. Over the weeks he was stalled, she noticed he was holding his head at odd angles, making weird movements with his lips, and generally acting a little spacey. The first day he was allowed a small "paddock" for turnout, he spent most of his time rolling, and all the odd behaviors went away the next day. She talked to her vet, who was closely involved, and they felt that all the strange physical signs he was exhibiting were connected to the fact that his stall was too small for him to feel comfortable rolling in, and that it was chiropractically affecting him so much that he almost appeared to be neurological. Once he could "self adjust" by rolling the way he wanted, he was back on track. I've never heard anything like that before, but it was intriguing. The rolling looks cute, and even satisfying, to me, but it makes sense that it might serve a more fundamental physical need for them beyond just itching a scratchy spot.
 

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So nice to see some sunshine where you are, well, at least for a little while right! Awww, I'm glad you were able to take Fizz out even if it was just a short walk. I'm sure she liked that! What a cute rolling video, too! So cute seeing them roll in the snow. I bet she enjoyed that!!
Promise was having the same trouble the other day when it snowed - she couldn't roll all the way over, even though I could tell she wanted to. The frozen ground is just brutal! :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,405 ·
Two naked ladies enjoying a sundrenched breakfast.
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It was above freezing this morning, and the sun felt SO good. Observation: It was actually above freezing overnight last night, so I left blankets off for the first time in many weeks. This morning, every piece of hay was gone and the sheds were a mess. Most nights, they have plenty of hay left over and there is a poop pile or two in the sheds but nothing dramatic unless it's stormy. I think that's a useful anecdote on whether or not horses are more comfortable with blankets on, whether they need them or not...

Something I've been chewing on for awhile...With the pandemic and winter, my horsey community is pretty limited, so I've been listening to a lot of horse podcasts (also useful when chores take twice as long as other times of year...). I've started to notice a trend- so many of these shows focus on giving advice to people who are stressed out and feel bad about their self-worth when they work with their horses. I can't tell you the number of "equestrian mindset coaches" who either host or are guests on these podcasts. And the level of anxiety people are feeling seems through the roof, particularly if they regularly go to clinics or horse shows. One of the podcasts is targeted to high-end hunter/jumpers, and nearly every story the host (who is a successful business woman and professor) tells about riding a round at a horse show involves her talking about how she leaves the ring in tears because she feels that she isn't good enough. These kinds of stories seem to be repeated across the spectrum of equestrian sports- from the high end hunter jumpers to the adult re-riders to the competitive reiners to the teens who are trying to get a start on the path to be a pro. It's just made me wonder: What is it about horses that makes so many people want to invest copious amounts of time and money, yet spend so much time stressed out and anxious, requiring special counseling support to get through it?

I realize that I wouldn't have to read that far back in my own journal to read about feeling anxious and not good enough, so I guess I can sympathize with the feelings. And maybe you all are my free "equestrian mindset coaches" helping me keep moving forward by reading and commenting on my journal. But after listening to enough shows to recognize this seems to be a fairly central theme in the horse world, it just really makes me want to understand WHY so many people feel this way. And I think it also makes me feel pretty committed to going out and enjoying riding Fizz this year and not getting so hung up on things not going perfectly. If it's not enjoyable, then why the heck am I spending all this money and so.much.time taking care of the horses when there are so many other things I can be doing instead? I feel really bad for what seems to be a huge number of adult amateurs who are spending five or six figures on horses they are terrified to ride, in environments that make them feel powerless and inadequate. What is that about? Does anyone else see this or even feel this themselves?
 

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That's very interesting, and gives me something to ponder over. Something I was wondering recently along the same lines is if most people through a period of disillusionment with horses. Is it because so many things with horses are sold as fairy tales and fantasy? My own disillusionment came when I realized that trainers were saying one thing and doing another. Like saying if I just rode like this or that, my horse would shape up beautifully, but then in reality, when I watched behind the scenes, they were using all kinds of gadgets to "nip and tuck" their horses into the aesthetic form they wanted. That was when I started seeing the ugly behind the beautiful parts of the horse world.

I guess as a kid, I thought if I just worked hard, I could go to the olympics. But later in life I found out that pretty much only those with a lot of money and who were willing to discard all the horses that didn't work out would have those possibilities. I suffered a little from too much Black Stallion and National Velvet.

The show scene is another story. That disillusioned me pretty quickly, when I saw all the compromises it would take to be truly competitive. I wonder if that dichotomy between wanting what is good for their horses and wanting to win can cause stress for some people. But also I think people are thrown into things they don't have enough experience for. There's probably a lot more to it than that...
 

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I see it a lot. I think that’s why I so like @gottatrot’s theory about holes.

I have seen it at shows. The time I wrote about taking Bones in and failing to the cutting, it was crazy watching all of these open (top) riders lose their temper and beat on their horses. The cows were hard and things just weren’t working for a lot of people.

I of course was giggling about the fool I was making of myself. When I went into the herd though and things continued to go wrong, I felt this immense pressure to beat on Bones. I didn’t fall into that pressure, instead I probably embarrassed myself by laughing like a lunatic. The pressure I felt was to make sure people there watching knew I knew Bones was not doing as he should, and that my expectations were higher. It was a silly thought and I’m glad I didn’t fall into the trap.

When I went and sat in the stands, many of the old timers commented to me about what they saw in the ring, and about people beating their horses. They were not impressed with Bones of course, but they were not impressed with the lack of control the other riders showed.

I have seen people who are very good, and could be competitive, stay on the sidelines because of not feeling good enough.

I don’t think the kind of pressure that we put on ourselves and each other does anyone any good. Sometimes other people cause it, but often it is internal.

I feel a sort of pressure riding Cashman. He is such a big beast and a mustang on top of it, and people look down on him. I can’t cut or run a reining pattern well, and if I’m not in a work environment his worth is not easily apparent to the people around me. I have to remind myself that it doesn’t matter what they think. People have a lot to say about it too. I’ve sat in the stands last year to have people come to me to tell me how much they didn’t like that I was riding him. It’s an odd thing to me. I guess it should be remembered that you must be up high when people are trying to tear you down. Some part of what you are doing challenges them...

It’s too bad that we cannot be kind to ourselves and self confident. I don’t understand what makes us tear our own selves apart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,408 ·
@Knave, love your post. I had not thought about coming at this from the perspective of feeling pressured to show others that your horse is worth being proud of. That's so interesting, and I think I'm glad I'm not part of a community that thinks that way. The idea of being judgemental about the value of someone else's horse is foreign to me. I know you've written before about the "mustang shaming" in your community. It's hard for me to understand that, particularly since your horses are out there doing the job alongside other people. And of course, I look at the beautiful videos and pictures of you and your daughters riding so naturally with so much skill, and think that you are one of my horsey heroes and can't even imagine you having insecurities about riding in front of other people. Isn't it so strange how our perceptions of ourselves can be misaligned with others' perceptions of us?!

The most recent podcast I was listening to divided the causes behind these feelings of anxiety into two main categories: 1. Feeling afraid of getting hurt, and 2. Feeling afraid of not being good enough in the eyes of other people. The "fear of not being good enough" people tended to be in the show pen, though not exclusively. I think that leads to some of the behaviors you were describing @Knave, as well as what @gottatrot's talking about with trainers taking shortcuts to look good without fundamentally being good.

I think I relate to #1, the fear of getting hurt, more strongly than the feeling of being judged. When I think about the times that I've least liked how I've treated Fizz, it's been in situations where I was just straight up scared, and took that out on her with a lot of pressure (either yanking her around or yelling). I'm not proud of that. I don't know where that response to fear comes from because I have never really experienced being physically unsafe in my life, thank goodness. But I think that being more conscious of it is helpful; while we can't avoid every situation where there's a chance of getting hurt, I do try to plan ahead for what I'm asking Fizz to do, to make sure that it's something we should be able to handle. I know I've mentioned before that her falling on me a few years ago has been a defining experience, because knowing that it happened once means it could happen again. I don't know if I'll ever "get over" it, but I do believe I can manage my way around it.

PS- I actually do enjoy listening to these podcasts. They make me think a lot, and try to figure out my place in the world of horses. It's just that this particular topic has been nagging at me and I needed to talk it out! ;)
 

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Firstly, thank you for the compliment. 😊

Secondly, I think that is also when I have lost my temper. If I let my anxiety build to that point I tend towards those meltdowns.

For me it is two fold. When the horse I am riding is very young, or having a bad day, I am nervous about things going wrong. Then when I have work on top of it I take that anxiety and intensify it. I am thinking, ‘If she doesn’t watch that calf he is going to turn back and I’m going to have to go get him. I might have to rope him.’ I feel the pressure knowing my horse might not be able to handle the situation, and I feel cornered.

Those are the moments I have lost it. That does me no good, and only effects my horse or my children negatively, and I am ashamed of those moments.

One time I was feeling that way. Bones was just a baby and the day had been super hard. He was so wrapped up by that point that he was kind of melting down.

I lost my temper about how things were going, so I jumped off of him and started dragging this calf by hand into where I needed it to go. I was blind with my temper, and I heard my husband yell, “you rotten bitch!” I was going to come uncorked, and I looked up in a rage to see him beating this cow off of me. My fear and anxiety had me make a really bad decision in a temper, completely unaware of the consequences.

I think that was the perfect picture for me of one of those moments. I try and bring down my anxiety when I am getting to that point, but it seems almost impossible in those moments of fear and pressure. I am lucky they are few and far between.

Don’t ever think you are alone in those reactions!
 

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Very interesting points. Something I have come to realize is that we all lose our temper with horses at times, and we all get afraid. Maybe there should be more information about that for horse people. I've been learning to forgive myself when I do lose my temper, because it makes me feel like such a failure. But I have a lot of great people I want to be like, including both of you, @egrogan and @Knave, and when I can observe people who honestly admit they get afraid or frustrated it makes me understand we all do.

It wasn't long ago that I was reading about a great eventer, who was talking about how he gets afraid. It used to be that I assumed the people out there doing very courageous things just didn't feel fear like the rest of us. But I believe we all do. When I was a kid, I really struggled with being afraid of riding but also wanting to do it so badly. My fears were about being out of control, more than being injured. Now I think we will always have phases of fear when we do things that are pushing ourselves or our horses to a new level. I'm not sure about how to help people who seem to get trapped by fear and never get over it. That does make one wonder why they stick with horses.

I've come to realize it doesn't matter if I have fear, because it is natural. I guess it helps me to not fear having fear, if that makes sense. So I don't think about it as much as a big deal, or worry about overcoming it, because I've been through it enough times to understand it's just natural and will go away once I have enough experiences with the horse. Knowledge and experience are the enemies of fear. The main thing is to use the fear to help us think about safety, but not to let it affect our actions toward the horse (such as becoming frustrated or angry). Easier said than done! But something I work on.

When Hero ran over me recently, of course I got mad because of all the endorphins that blasted through me as I was trampled a bit. But after I yelled and flailed around some, I laughed at myself and told myself that was natural. Horses forgive us, we forgive them. So we should forgive ourselves too.
 

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I like that idea too @gottatrot . My husband came to help me once with Bones when I first bought him and told me that. He said, “Don’t you think everyone gets scared? You decide how bad you want something and you do it anyways.”

It was a good point for me and I remember it when moments get overwhelming. Always before I thought I was being weak if I was scared. I knew the John Wayne quote, “courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyways,” but I didn’t think about it.

Now it is easier to be brave. Of course, I say that, and yet I have a brick wall over driving in certain situations... lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,412 ·
I've come to realize it doesn't matter if I have fear, because it is natural. I guess it helps me to not fear having fear, if that makes sense. So I don't think about it as much as a big deal, or worry about overcoming it, because I've been through it enough times to understand it's just natural and will go away once I have enough experiences with the horse. Knowledge and experience are the enemies of fear. The main thing is to use the fear to help us think about safety, but not to let it affect our actions toward the horse (such as becoming frustrated or angry). Easier said than done! But something I work on.
Great stories and examples in the last few posts. And I am aspiring to get to stage of "not fearing having fear." I think where I am right now is...something happens that is scary, my first reaction might be to grab a rein or say "STOP," but I am now at the point where the first reaction might be involuntary, but in the next moment, I can at least process the fact that I am scared and what I am doing in response isn't helping. What I want to get to is to break that involuntary reaction, where the first action is to recognize "this is scary," and the next action is a thought that says "getting loud with her is not helping" and the behavior towards her is more intentional. Per that negative punishment thread, I'm not saying there is never going to be a dangerous moment where a quick, strong redirection needs to happen (e.g., shying away from something in the woods that launches you towards oncoming traffic), but a frustrated crowhop because we are walking slowly to allow our friends to keep up with us is not something that should be so scary to me to cause that involuntary reaction. I think the rational answer in that situation is the acknowledge it makes me nervous --> ride forward anyway to release that tension --> circle around or backtrack to allow the friend to stay close. But don't take frustration out on Fizz, it's not her fault she's riding with a horse that has a smaller stride than her.

I've noticed this reaction in myself working with Hugh too. He is now over a year old and so, so strong. He still really dislikes being passed by big trucks if he's leashed and walking on the road, and he erupts at them barking and lunging. With the road as icy as it is, I worry he is now strong enough he could pull me right off my feet, so when he has that reaction it makes me want to grab him by the harness and pull him back away from the road. I need a better response because getting yanked like that just makes him more upset.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,413 ·
Unrelated to this discussion, in a sign that warmer days are coming, this morning I was greeted by a dramatic sight when I went out to feed: the foot or so of snow on top of the shed roof finally let go last night. It doesn’t look like any horses were buried in the avalanche, thank goodness.
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Its nice that it finally came off, but let me tell you, shoveling that heavy, densely packed mess was a real PITA!!

(PS-please ignore the poopy mess, I had not picked it up yet and they clearly stood in front of the sheds all night because of the avalanche!)
 

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What I want to get to is to break that involuntary reaction, where the first action is to recognize "this is scary," and the next action is a thought that says "getting loud with her is not helping" and the behavior towards her is more intentional.
Amen and hallelujah! It looks like my future riding may involve more paved roads. It will mean back to wearing a helmet all the time and I'm pretty sure Bandit won't approve of all the neighbors. The selling realtor has already warned us of a horse sculpture someone put next to their driveway. She says live horses HATE it! Balancing the need for safety with not overreacting will be a challenge.
 

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That is a funny thing to imagine @bsms ! I remember a video where they introduced some horses to a pretend stuffed horse (with humans inside to make it move I believe). There were a lot of interesting reactions! Lol

Oh Egrogan I hope warmer days are coming! I didn’t know what @gottatrot said about the turkey buzzards. Now I am going to keep an eye out for them. Queen is shedding just a tiny bit, and Cash has a little slip around his forelock, but those are my only signs of springtime, except the baby calves of course.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,416 ·
Vet came this morning for Lyme vaccines. I brought the horses up to the barn about an hour early to give them a much needed deep clean. With blankets on and off so much, they get a quick brush in between changes but I haven’t given them a deep curry in awhile. Talking about spring-LOOK!!
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Izzy cracked me up, I spent the most time on her because she had the most hair flying off in all directions, plus she had a lot of dead mane that I needed to pull out. Unfortunately having the blanket hood on does run some of it, but it doesn’t seem as bad as last year. 30 minutes later when the vet showed up, we had to pull her out of the fresh shavings, where she had been happily dozing.
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So much for a deep clean! 😂
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Took me awhile to catch up on back posts here ... interesting discussion about fear of getting hurt and fear of "not being good enough". I have a couple of thoughts although nothing very original.

I have long -- long-- thought that competition is way overdone in our society, and that on balance it is far more destructive than it is positive. There is a big segment of horse people who for whatever reason have come up believing that competition is the only way to be a 'real' horse person. Their first exposure to horses was in a lesson barn where the aim was to produce competitive riders, and they never really experienced any other facet of riding to any great degree. I believe you see this more in English styles, as there has always been a big population of western riders whose sole aim is trail riding.

I probably feel so negatively about competition because I don't enjoy it. Even when I win, there's so much stress involved it never seems worth it. So I have this jaundiced view going in. I see how horribly horses are often treated in the service of prizes, and it turns me off even more.

Fearing getting hurt seems a function of two separate things. One is not riding as a child, and the other is surviving a bad fall. I can't imagine getting on a sproingy horse like mine and casually heading off alone down a steep rocky trail if I had not spent a sizeable chunk of my childhood doing exactly that. Even now, when I first swing up after a long hiatus I always have this moment of "hey, there's nothing to hold on to up here!" Then it goes away. But for all the times my horses have dumped me, I have never gotten terribly hurt. I don't know how I would react to that.

I also lose my temper pretty regularly. Oh, that is a part of my personality I wish I didn't have. Seems like the main reason I get angry is because I have expectations. No expectations, no temper! Nothing I do out of anger is ever a good thing.

I have a tip for Hugh, though. When you see a truck coming down the road, have him sit and look at you for a treat. I say "watch me! watch me!" Keep little pieces of cheese or something with you (trainers use waist belt "bait bags"). This works for most dogs. Dogs think: ack, scary truck, alarm alarm! Hey, I scared it off! Woo, I'm gonna do that next time too! You have to interrupt that thought process. Preferably well before he starts barking and pulling. Take advantage of being able to see farther down the road than he can, and get him staring up greedily at your pocket before vehicles pass.
 

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So much HAIR!!! LOL! I can't wait until my girl starts to shed a bit then we can get back to that shiny easy-to-groom coat hahaa. It is definitely hard to keep them clean in the winter. Especially since they just get so dusty with their thick coats!

Hahaha Izzy was full of shavings, that's so cute! She's like 'why'd you wake me from my nappppp!'

I hope the warmer days come to you soon, too!
 

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I can’t wait until everyone is shedded out! I want so bad to see what color Queen will be, and just to get rid of that ick hair.

Mama Pepper has started to shed some. She’s a dirty mess. I clean her corral every day, and still she’s coated with poop that I can’t brush off. I am impatiently waiting for the day it is warm enough to wash her. It won’t be until May at best, but I am still anxious.
 

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We have a horse blanketed now (winter laminitis) and She is the only clean one. The downside is she is afraid to lay down and sleep with a blanket on! We are quickly melting and our roof avalanche also came crashing down - burying the hay room door. You are right PITA with all of the shoveling. Mud season will start here soon - we are in ice berg season now as the snow melts and turns the ground into an ice rink. I truly despice spring!
 
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