I haven’t been riding much for the last month. It’s been raining and I am too lazy to ride in the rain. Usually I don’t have a problem with not riding my horses over the winter, back in the day with Poseidon and Apollon, I always felt that they did very good in the times where they were left alone. You know, the more I asked of them, the harder they found it was, to handle everyday life. Like it stressed them out, when something was asked off them, and because they had to deal with what I expected of them, they found it that much harder to deal with the stress at feeding time, or the wind, or their own shadow, you name it. But in the periods where I didn’t ride them or train them, they kind of settled in and found some sort of harmony with this world they always fought so hard…
So, no, it never bothered me to not ride my horses, until now. Saleem is a direct opposite of my two old red boys. The less I train him, ride him, the less I ask of him, the smaller his world becomes. I have been watching him all the way through December, and he has become jumpy, he spooks over things that would never ordinarily bother him, he becomes touchy again, (even though I do groom him every single day, at least when he isn’t wet,) and all in all, he just becomes a very stressed out horse, more and more unable to handle everyday life. You can almost see how his world is diminished, how his head implodes for no reason… the other day I caught him spooking over a tarp that was lying next to the fence, and had been lying there for weeks. All of a sudden, it was dangerous… that from a horse who blindly follows me across plastic tarps, if I ask it of him. But left alone, he grows anxious.
It hasn’t rained for the last two days, so Saleem and I went for a ride yesterday. Out on the open road, away from home, making his world bigger again. He is fantastic. As jumpy, as spooky, as touchy as he can become at home, once I work with him, he is just with me.
Today, the sun was shining, and he showed up at the fence, waiting for me to take him out again. So we did.
We even cantered through the local forest, which for Saleem and me is quite something, since the path is slippery and Saleem hardly ever dares canter unless the ground is dry. But he was just so brave and so happy and once we came back home, he was so much calmer and so much more able to handle the kids and the world and the plastic tarp next to the fence…
It is always amazing how different they are. But I surely have learned that I need to make an effort with this horse, even if it rains for a month, because he doesn’t handle being left alone well. Noted. I will do better in the future.
I just never had a horse like that before.