Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A discouraging day

Whether because a storm is coming, or because I haven't worked with him enough lately, my horse was acting like a complete idiot today.

I took Panama's blanket off later than intended today. It was still too cold at 8:00 this morning, when I was on my way home from dropping Michael off at work, and I fell back asleep after getting home. So it was after 11:00 in the morning, and more than 30 degrees outside, when I finally made it to the barn to take off the blanket.

Panama seemed pretty willing to stand still for me, so I started taking off the blanket without first tying him up. Unfortunately, when I was almost done (one buckle left to go) he decided to take off running for no apparent reason. He was pretty much out of control as he ran around the barn — I could hear the buckles hitting the side of the barn or the fence. As he emerged from the other side he started to run harder, fell, and slid six or eight feet on the blanket. This broke the buckle that was still fastened, because when he got up and started running again the blanket came right off.

I immediately picked up the blanket and threw it over the fence to inspect it for damage. Panama did a number on that blanket, but I'm hoping our local tack shop can repair it: He ripped one of the gusset seams out, tore a little bit of the lining, broke the buckle, and broke the fastener on one of the belly straps. Luckily I have two blankets, so the other one is going on him tonight.

Panama stood on the other side of the pasture watching me, his head up and his ears pricked. I thought he would be okay with me catching him, but apparently he was still pretty worked up because I had to run him for a little bit first. Finally he stood still so I could halter him, and somewhat reluctantly followed me to the hitching post.

I'm not sure if this was still from his deblanketing experience or because of some other reason, but Panama was very jumpy while I had him tied up. Three or four times, he freaked out and tried to pull back on the rope. (He usually stops when I scold him.) At this rate I will need to get a new lead rope for him soon, because this one is starting to fray in the middle from all the abuse!

I groomed Panama as best I could, and even used the massager on his back along his spine (which he loves). That relaxed him a bit, but he was still a nervous wreck. This jumpy, jittery behavior is quite discouraging. I don't know if it is due to the lack of work, but I'm going to start grooming and lunging him more often and see if that helps. However, I'll wait to ride him until he stops freaking out every time the wind blows...



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