Mare meltdown

After the ride I mentioned in the previous post I took Dassah into the barn to untack (I had tacked her up right outside her pasture as I didn't want to deal with her and her pasture-mate calling back and forth and getting all worked up. And boy howdy there would be lots of calling - her pasture-mate calls so politely and then Dassah trumpets back like some dinosaur/fire-engine/fire-breathing dragon. Let's just say the dainty with Dassah stops at her figure.

So, great ride, gorgeous day. I needed to add some balm to a scrape of Dassah's and I don't feel like lugging my tack back to the barn so we ride over, no biggie, and I hop off right at the barn doors. Dassah is calm and peaceful, her pasture-mate minding her own business. No sooner to we step inside the barn (seriously, Dassah's head has barely made it inside) when the siren calls begin. Back and forth, panic-attack like calls. I slip Dassah's bridle off with her halter in my other hand and as I'm raising the halter up, Dassah springs back like a cat and takes off.


Out the door she goes, racing like the quarter-horses and throughbreds in her ancestry. I love to see her flat out go (which we haven't done since last spring, like a year ago) but not with the saddle loosened down to one billet buckled on the bottom hole. I knew she would stay by her pasture-mate so after letting her blow off some steam (30 seconds at the most), she settled right down by her gate and started noshing.

Oh Dassah, you and food = predictable.

I look at her, she looks at me, and then sighing, drops her head and swings towards me. On goes the halter and back to the barn we go.

Same deal, same calling, but I noticed something - she wasn't panicking. I had her in cross-ties and she wasn't trying to escape or go nuts. She was just having a polite teenager-meltdown. I decided to just ignore her and let her gather her wits. I untacked and put away everything as slowly as possible. When I went to treat her scrape, located on her hock, she didn't pull away or get antsy which showed me she was fine and simply acting dramatic.

I grabbed a bag of carrots and took my time snapping them into thirds and feeding them to a stalled horse just down the way. Dassah stopped pawing and calling and stood there with ears pricked. Another thought occurred to me to (totally abusing treats here) maybe make myself a bit more appealing than her pasture-mate. I certainly wouldn't do this every time and certainly not when she was throwing a fit - that would be a blaring mistake. But Dassah had softened and wasn't calling as frequently or pawing as much. Plus, I used this to my advantage by waiting until Dassah had remained calm before offering a carrot. If she pawed or called while I was standing next to her I walked away, offering the other horse a carrot. When Dassah stood quietly I returned to her and offered a carrot to her. If she moved or made a sound while I was moving to her I turned around and went back to the other horse until Dassah had been still, physically and verbally.

It was an interesting exercise. I appreciate instances like these where it isn't smooth sailing and I have to think and act. I also really appreciated ignoring Dassah while she threw a fit. Interesting thought, huh? It made me step back and think - and gave me the opportunity to let Dassah sort things out for herself. Had I a hitching post I would have used it - or as Oh Horsefeathers does, a Patience Tree.

It's so great to watch my horse grow up!


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