dancing horses

dancing horses

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

In Which Carmen Makes a Bid for Boss Mare

Don't worry she fails. 

I've noticed a marked increase in her confidence level. She leaves Irish to graze and doesn't seem to care when she's in the barn with me and he's outside. 

Carmen is also listening much better and not so worried about what's going on around her. Yesterday I was lunging her before the rain started and it was quite windy. She was going along and then suddenly slammed on the brakes and ran backwards a few strides before stopping. She looked at me. I stood still. 
'No' I said 
'Something fluttered' she reported
'yes I know. It flutters a lot but if it comes in the ring I will take care of it'
and she trotted right back to work. 

Now about her bid. I was doing my night time chores and her hay rack was empty. I was dealing with Irish first and this did not impress her. As I walked by I heard her snap her teeth at me from behind. 
I stopped and looked at her. 
you better not have done what I thing you've done
She looked at me ' wasn't me. It was probably Irish'
Irish 'do not bring me into this -I know better'

I stood there for a minute and she poked me with her nose- she didn't open her mouth but it was 'bite like' I responded immediately by sending her out of my space. She backed right off. I carried on with my tasks. This morning she tried to move me out of her space in the stall and I sent her off again. 

I truly don't mind that she's testing boundaries. I look at it as part of her growth in self-confidence. 

However, I am boss mare. 

Period. I will not tolerate rudeness in anyone and that includes my horses and dogs. I prefer to respond to the mild cues so that it doesn't escalate. I find horses send a million signs before they escalate to something dangerous. Sometimes it's easy to miss. I may very well have missed a couple. The trick is to react quickly and then move on. I don't need to send her away and then cuddle her and nor do I need to over react with anger. 

Tonight, her manners were perfect. I suspect that there might be one or two more tests that I don't intend to fail. 


  1. Deal with it and move on has always been my motto. It sounds like Carmen is figuring out who she is and exploring boundaries a bit.

  2. I have just been enjoying my catch-up read on your adventures with Carmen, Irish, Ed and the barn in general. Your blog posts are truly captivating, because they deal with life - it's ups and downs, and lessons - in the guise of the training and riding of horses. Love that. The Memorial post to Steele took me right back to "It's All Over". Maybe it was the horse-shaped patch of bare ground, maybe the sight of the magnolia bush, a baby waiting to grow and thrive. And it came to me. I abhor waste. And Steele's death was SUCH a waste. I loathe when someone's carelessness (your neighbor) causes great pain to an innocent someone else (you and Steele). I am thrilled beyond belief that you have Carmen, but find myself thinking of Steele almost daily (even though I never met him and do not know you). He, and his story, have a hold on a part of my heart.

    All of the little quirks and the ups and downs with Carmen made me smile. My first horse was a mare, purchased as a 4-year old, and for the first twenty years of her life she never fully outgrew those quirks. She was always a bit unpredictable, could be fantastic (and when she was on, she was REALLY on), and then, in the blink of an eye - could behave like a fool. But I loved her. I really did.

    After she retired, I began riding a TB gelding, very well bred, stunning to look at - that I eventually acquired through a combination of grace and circumstance. He was the horse love of my life. A stunning, graceful, kind and beautiful creature; that, to this day, I can feel moving beneath me in my dreams.

    But I really like mares - and am loving watching Carmen grow, fill out, and develop (physically and mentally). Love the look of her beautiful eye, there's something in her eye that says she will become a calm and steady girl as they days and months go on. I would say she has a kind, intelligent eye.

    I think it may be the ups and downs of learning and training together that weave those unbreakable bonds between horse and horseman (or in this case, horsewoman).

    Can't wait to read more of your adventures...and I hope you'll remember to email me a photo of Carmen (and the one of Steele we discussed on email) when you have the right one and feel it is the right time. I would love to send you something special in Photoshop - an image of your dancing horses.

    And PS. I do think you felt two noses on your back that night. It's just that you only saw one.

    1. thank you Andrea for understanding us so well, even though we never met. I do love Carmen while missing my beautiful boy. I have a couple photos but not just the 'right' one yet. the one in this comes the closest. But I am working on it.

      I too believe that she is a true diamond in the rough. We both need some rough edges cleaned up.

  3. :) Great post! Makes me feel better to read that other young horses check out their boundaries too!


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