So, over the weekend, whilst I was on the old homestead helping (or, actually, attempting to help) Farmmom and Farmdad move the cattle, I had to have someone taking care of Bubbah.
I asked E to do it, and he agreed. Upon my arrival back, during our Horse Production class this morning, I asked E how he was. The response?
"That horse is psycho."
"My horse is not psycho."
"He's spooky, he pulled back when I went to untie him, he twitched every time I touched him..."
"When he spooked, did he try to run away?"
"No, he just jumped a little."
"I see. Did he pull on the lead when he jumped?"
"And when he was pulling back, was he fighting? Or was he just moving back a little when you came to his head?"
"Well no he wasn't fighting..."
"And when you touched him.. he didn't freak out, did he? He just twitched his skin a little?"
"You know, when I bought that horse he had about the same amount of rides on him that the colts do when they leave the program here. It was also the first time he'd ever been to town. He's been handled, to my knowledge, by a total of four people.. five, with you. This is the first time he's been handled by anyone but me, and for a few minutes, Miss C over there when I was hosing his legs down, since he came here."
"So, he's not psycho. He's young, he's inexperienced, and considering all of the facts I think he did pretty danged good with a brand new, never met him before handler, don't you?"
"Well, yeah, but you need to get lots of different people to handle him!"
"I know. But too many people are scared of him."
*Sigh* He's an excellent boy, he's doing as well as any of the other, supposedly "well broke" horses in the program these days, and better than a couple of them.
We did have one moment in class today where I wondered if he was going to listen.. and if he hadn't it would have been a Very Bad Thing.
See... over the weekend, E had tied Bubbah out at the hitching rail to clean his stall. Z proceeded to bring his horse out and tie him right next to Bubbah.
Z's horse has a reputation for kicking for no apparent reason.
Yep. Bubbah got kicked.
He's fine, no swelling or heat anywhere, so it didn't even bruise him, but he didn't like it.
Well, today in class we had all been gathered up to listen to instructions, and as I was letting the horses on either side of Bubbah peel away, up comes Z on his horse, right in front of us. And he's letting his horse push into Bubbah's personal space bubble.
Bubbah reared up a little, and held himself there for a few seconds, while I just tightened the reins a little, tried to keep him from striking out, and said in a calm, reasonable, soothing tone...
"Get that kickey piece of shit away from my horse before he starts a fight."
I can't blame Bubbah for challenging that flea bitten gray (no, really, that's what color he is) after he'd been kicked, and the gray did get into his space, so Bubbah didn't get reprimanded too hard.
But.. once he reared up, he'd started to strike, until I collected him. Once my hands were in contact with his mouth, he stopped. He didn't drop back to all fours until the gray was moving away from him, but he didn't strike out with his forelegs.
He ignored his instincts, which where screaming at him to use a measure of force to push this horse out of his space, this horse that had already kicked him when he was tied up and tried to assert its' dominance over him, and listened to me.
He's a good boy, and he's learning things nearly as fast as I can teach him.
But I couldn't ask for better manners, already.