If He Had Been Poseidon…

I have been having some issues with Ablaze lately, when I am grooming him. To be honest, I can’t believe it took me so long to figure out what was happening… Sometimes, I am just so stupid, I should go find a shovel and hit myself over the head… Anyway.

Ablaze began, a few days ago, to not want me to touch him down the sides when I was grooming him. The first day, I kind of did not think much of it. There can be a lot of reasons for that, when he suddenly doesn’t want me to touch him down the sides. I mean, Apocalipse could have kicked him, and he could be sore, or, I don’t know… He may have had a bad night with too little sleep, which always makes him fussy… I settled for keeping an eye on him, and looking out for swellings or signs of injury over the next few days.

I love it how my mind instantly jumps to worst case scenario. “I can’t touch him, he must be in pain…”

The next few days, I will admit that I became increasing frustrated by this sudden change in my young man. I truly saw no reason for him to behave like this, at all…

The thing is, when I walked up to him with my brush in hand, he turned and faced me, sticking his face into my face, chewing on my jacket or licking my face, all the wonderful Ablaze “hello, I love you” kind of things, but as soon as I tried to walk past his face, and touch his neck with the brush, he turned, and made sure to face me at all times…

Made sure to face me… Made sure to face me… Made sure to face me…

Here is where the shovel comes in…

I took a step back today and took a closer look at what was happening, wearing my, “what if he had been Poseidon” glasses. The thing is, whenever I am in doubt over something my horses do, I have to remember to ask myself that. If Poseidon had behaved like that, what would it have meant?

I don’t know why that works for me, but it does. Poseidon and I were soul mates, I was so in tune with this horse, and the second I compared Ablaze’s behaviour with Poseidon’s, I knew what was happening. Poseidon was hyper sensitive. The way I walk up to Ablaze, while facing him, while holding out a hand with a brush in it, is something I would have never done with Poseidon, because if I had… he would have made sure to face me.

Basically, Ablaze is just being polite, all of a sudden. He sees my body language, he sees me pointing to his side, asking him to face me, and he does, and here I am, being a huge idiot, thinking that he is just running around in circles when I try to groom him…

I instantly knew how to fix it as well. It is very easy, once you stop being an idiot…

So, instead of facing Ablaze, reaching out my hand with the brush in it, pointing to his hindquarters, (which should always make a sensitive and polite horse turn and face you,) I simply make sure to face in the same direction as him. Turning my back on him, facing forward, grooming him towards his face, not towards his hindquarters. It’s all in the body language. Ablaze instantly stopped running around and I was able to groom him just as easily as I usually am.

I have to admit, I am astounded by this sudden change in him. He was never one for being that sensitive, or that polite. What I am getting from him now, is a young horse that is bending over backwards to read my body language and answer me perfectly at all times.

That is a huge responsibility. I  want to encourage him to keep talking to me, to keep reading me, to keep being this alert to me. I have to not fail him now. I have to give him the right response from now on, and every single day in the future, so that he knows that he may understand me, but I sure understand him right back.

It is so easy to take away the passion in a young horse. The will to comply and pay attention. Just give him negative feedback, when he is, for instance, being polite, and he will stop being polite. I am so glad that I always apply my “ignore and carry on,” policy, when I first encounter problems. I may not have given Ablaze the answer he was looking for, to his perfect response, but at least I did not tell him off for it either.

So, yeah, basically, this is a jumping for joy kind of post. I am so happy that Ablaze has opened up to me like this, all on his own. I never asked him to work with me like that. I am thinking that Apocalipse might have had a hand (or a hoof and some teeth,) in teaching him some manners lately… I am just so happy that Ablaze is clever enough to add two and two together and use the same kind of body language on me, as he is using to get Apocalipse off his back. I always knew he was a fantastic young man. (I know, unashamed adoration here, I love that horse, he is perfect, perfect, perfect…!)

Now, I’ll go find a shovel and make sure I don’t fail him again. If he is paying that much attention, so should I. It is the very least I can do.

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About Starstone

-Owned by horses. Writer, Photographer, Director, Musician.
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