With good health, and training, my horse is getting a bit of an attitude.
A couple days ago, I was putting Cowboy away, and I spotted Leah, from the periphery, moving at a brisk pace to enter his stall before I closed the gate. Leah knows that when I bring them in, she gets to escape the mare herd (the mean girls) and get her supplements, so she's always eager to return to her stall, but she is usually easy to push away. I put my arm in her path to redirect her--ask her to wait her turn and....
I got it ripped off.
She dove in with all 1,200 pounds of her body.
The devil himself wasn't going to stop her.
It was one of those moments when you look at your arm--banged up, maybe broken, skin ripped off the elbow, as you realize your leg hurts, too--and think--that was dumb. REALLY dumb. And, then you wonder why, why would you have decided to put your arm and leg in between an open stall (food) and a 1,200 pound animal. It happened so fast, I could only go with my instincts and experience. BUT one variable was off--experience.
Leah had changed.
My arm wasn't broken, though it is still sore and scraped. I don't even remember how it got scraped or what it got scraped on--it happened in such a flash.
That night, I took Leah for a ride to the neighbor's barn. Her different, "Girl Power!," attitude showed in everything we did. First, she didn't let me mount, or more accurately, she started to take off as I threw my leg over. We were in the neighbor's pasture when she was doing that, and she could see the other members of her herd grazing, so she was definitely mad that she wasn't with them and was acting out quite purposely. I mounted and dismounted over and over and over, until she got it right. The ride went well, and we headed home. Once again, she saw the herd grazing--and she tried to break away. I circled her back. Turned for home, she tried bolting away. Circled her back, and so on.
When we arrived at the barn, I figured that was a good time to work her in the arena--so she doesn't get the idea that coming home and eating is always the end game. My husband had ran the tractor into my arena gate a couple weeks before, and it wouldn't shut without great effort, so I left it open and figured I'd test her and see if she bolted to it. I figured she would give me enough of a warning that I could adjust and redirect her away, should she decide to break for the opening.
She did break for the open gate--and I did NOT have any warning when she decided to go. So, we went through the gate and I got her into a circle and back into the arena--where I dismounted and CLOSED the gate.
All this is to say, my sweet Leah has changed--and that's a good thing. She is no longer anywhere near obese. In fact, you can see her ribs--a thing I never, ever imagined I'd let happen to one of my horses. Now, after her obesity founder, a little rib has become quite a wonderful look to me. And, it has made a world of difference to her. Her new weight is changing her body, and her new body is changing her athleticism, and the athleticism is changing her sense of herself and what she can do.
Remember Little Joe, the horse my friend gave me. He foundered last year, too--at her house. He recovered sometime during the year, but right after I got him, in spring, he developed an abscess. (I suspect it was the way he was trimmed. Her farrier had left a lot of sole on the foot, probably as a protective measure, and my farrier took it out to return the foot to normal--but that transition may have caused the abscess.) I poulticed and soaked it--got it to drain a little, but it would come back in the same place--or never fully go away. Eventually, I stopped soaking it, and decided to let time do it's thing while I continued him on a restricted diet with supplements.
Well, his abscess seems to have finally fully broke and he, too, is feeling good and staying thin. Unfortunately, he is proud cut, and I have to constantly remove him from the mare herd, but he is a well trained little guy and will be a lot of fun to ride. I'm going to saddle him up this morning and see what he can do.
Tonight will be Beautiful Girl's 3rd lesson/ride.