Thursday, June 14, 2007
Lame? Sound? Who Knows?
Tomorrow, I'll be at the barn to ride with my new trail buddy and her horse. I find it interesting that her mare is nearly a dead ringer for my beloved Wildflower. But that horse's personality is different from my Wildie. My friend's mare has threshold issues outside of the arena, gets nervous in the woods (or at the mouth of the woods, which is as far as we got before the skeeters divebombed us despite copious layers of OFF and we had to turn back), and needs to learn to be patient when waiting.
Luckily, my new friend is very open-minded, possibly even a future convert to the Cult of Parelli. When we couldn't ride in the woods, we spent the time playing in the lane. She rode up and down the lane, getting her mare comfortable with being there. I worked on Cheerios' leadership issue. Thanks to his former leaser, he has the idea that he can make decisions under saddle. When it's time to go home, it's time to go home. Going southward down the lane means going to the barn, being untacked, and being turned loose or grazed. It does NOT mean turn around and go back up the lane several times.
Unfortunately for him, with me, it means we go where I decide, and the ride isn't done until I say it's done, and you need to learn that pointing south is not an automatic ending to the ride, and threatening to buck me off isn't going to change my plan. That girl ingrained a pattern into him, boy-oh. I have my work cut out for me. And the girl (and everyone else at the barn familiar with my financial situation at the moment) wonders why I refuse to consider leasing him out again.
Let's be honest. I like the girl who leased him. She was kind to him, really fell for him, and she took good care of him. But after three years, she began to act a bit too familiar with him. He was viewed almost as if she were his owner. That created problems. However, she was quite gracious when I asked to end the lease after Wildflower died. I thought it was clear: sure, if you're out riding the next horse you lease, you can certainly say hello to him. It's not like I want to keep them apart. But there is a boundary issue. It's OK to give him a hello pat when he comes up to you in the field. It's OK to give him one cookie if you have an extra. It is NOT OK to halter him, lead him to the front of the barn and graze him for an hour. It is NOT OK to cross-tie him and spend the afternoon grooming him without my knowledge. It is NOT OK to give him special treats, like fixing warm bran mash for your favorite horses, without my knowledge.
He is not YOURS.
He never was. You were borrowing him. You were granted the privilege of use for a period of time that has now ended.
It can be likened to having your ex's gf stop by for a back rub once in awhile, after he's already engaged to you. It's one thing to say a polite hello passing on the street; it's another to have it off for shits and giggles every now and then.
It also confuses Cheerios. He's not sure who his leader is. When she's around, he's treated one way and he can get away with things. When I'm around, I expect better behavior than that. It's like good cop/bad cop and guess who's the bad one?
I tried to converse with her about it. I've explained my goals with PNH and what she'd need to do if she wanted to continue leasing Cheerios. Basically, she would have to get with the program. I would have willingly loaned her my study materials and equipment, rather than making her buy them, and I wouldn't expect her to assess, but she'd have to behave the same way around him, and help me maintain that consistency.
She wasn't interested.
OK then. Back off.
But nobody gets this. They think the logical solution to my problems is to lease him again. It's all about money. Yeah, sure, that's the easy answer. Lease out my horse to someone whose inconsistency with my program causes me to have to undo everything every time I'm with him; oh, but it'll make me able to "help" my other lame horse.
Y'know, I CAN afford to do further diagnostics, to a point. Or, I will once my parents' estate settles and my house sells and Grandma's house sells. But right now, I'm in a holding pattern. However, my mare is being fed, watered, turned out, exercised, trimmed regularly, and is absolutely fine despite occasional bouts of stiffness or soreness. She CAN wait a little while longer. She has not changed. No matter what I do or don't do, I have no control over it. And the vet, well, I wasted all that money proving what I already knew to be true. I didn't need a second set of x-rays to tell me, gee, George, there's no visible sign of the problem here. Would they x-ray further up? NO. Because they can't. Or won't.
Can I afford to drag her to MSU for MRIs of her shoulders and spine? Yeah, probably. Is it worth it? I don't know. Can we fix her? I don't know. I haven't given up on her. I really believe that moving her will change everything. I really believe that the management is harming more than helping via non-compliance while pushing the shoeing agenda and thinking their way is better and doing it their way without my knowledge. She WAS BETTER before they came on board and started pushing their own agenda.
We tried boots. They BARELY helped. Had the problem been in her feet, which everyone but my NHCP and I insist is the case, the boots would have caused dramatic, immediate improvement. It didn't.
If boots didn't help, guess what—NEITHER WILL SHOEING HER. Boots serve exactly the same purpose as shoeing, without the resulting damage to the hoof wall from nails and constriction of the hoof mechanism.
But they are so deaf and blind out there. They saw it. They cheered at the improvements. Uh, funny—my NHCP and I are the ones trained to look for the slightest change, and we saw nothing. But people see what they want to see. Yes, that could be turned around on me. But we both desperately wanted to see IMPROVEMENT to avoid having the shoeing agenda thrust upon us further. So, why would we not see it and the shoeing advocates claim they saw it?
Then, they insist on adhering to the "shoes will fix it" campaign despite evidence that IT IS NOT IN HER FEET therefore shoes, boots, pads, styrofoam, duct tape, etcetera won't help!!!
AAAAGGGGGHH!!!! *banging my head against the wall*
I don't want to pour anymore money or worry into this mare. I just want the problem to GO AWAY. Period. I just want that horse to miraculously, overnight, without human intervention, become perfectly, wonderfully, beautifully, consistently sound.
We'll see how she's doing tomorrow.
Crap. It's nearly 3:00 AM. Time to hit the hay.