Since my last post, I had a few good rides. Then he came up lame, quite lame. I panicked, dropped major $$$ on a vet farm call what was likely a simple stone bruise that resolved itself within a week. Whew! Just to be safe, I gave him another week of light groundwork before getting back in the saddle this week. True to his solid mind, Eragon was just fine after not being ridden for almost two weeks. He was even fine with another fresh horse being lunged in the area while he worked–good boy! However, some of his other behavior over the last two weeks has been less-then-stellar. I’m learning that despite his sweet pony looks and general steadiness under saddle (especially for being sooo green), Eragon has another side. An edge you might say.
When Eragon was off work, he started to get really antsy on the ground. Obviously, the lack of work was starting to blow his brain. In the cross ties, he’d dance, and he’d sometimes try to nip or frisk when being led. No biggie, in general. But then one night, as I was walking him out to the pasture, he pulled some crazy moves. On the way out to his pasture, there’s a wooden pallet where hay is stored before it is tossed over the pasture fence. Eragon is very food obsessed, so it wouldn’t have surprised me if he had jerked the lead to get to the pile. But, that’s not what he did. Oh, no. As we walked past the pile, I felt a tug on the lead. I turned around to ask him to walk forward. He rolled his eyes at me and reared. When he came back down, he reared again, backing up while he was rearing. He backed up all the way to the pile, rearing every time I hit the lead. Eventually, he got into the pile, and continued to do the following:
1.Dance in the hay.
2.Grab a huge mouthful of hay.
3.Rear straight up, with the hay in his mouth, and PAW THE AIR like a wild stallion.
Now, I was so shocked by this behavior that I wasn’t very effective at stopping him. I was also frankly in awe of him because:
1.He was backing up on his hind legs and perfectly positioning himself in the hay. There was a hotwire topped fence, a small ditch, the pallet, and other obstacles nearby, but in all his rearing, he was VERY careful and in control of where he put his feet. No panic here–the whole thing was very calm and controlled on his part.
2. His rearing itself. This was no pop off the front legs. This horse was straight up VERTICAL.
3.The pawing the air part. To me, this was an extra and hilarious flourish. I mean, the rearing alone would have been enough. The wild-stallion pawing , coupled with the giant flake of hay hanging from the mouth was both comical and impressive.
He tried it again a few days later, but this time I was ready. I kept shanking the lead and yelling. For some reason, yelling at Eragon gets his attention more than any physical punishment. He seems to be very sensitive to the voice. However, the whole incident, naughty as it was, actually showed aspects of Eragon’s personality that just makes me love him more. First, his behavior, while disobedient to say the least, showed how smart he is. The fact that he was able to control his body so well and keep track of his feet solidifies his intelligence. Secondly, the whole nature of the disobedience shows a confident, domineering horse with a flair for drama. The extreme vertical rear coupled with the very controlled and lovely air-pawing displays Eragon’s fire and spice. A born performer, I think.
Stay tuned for Part 2.