Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Devil Mare

I thought I owned a gorgeous Hungarian Warmblood.

I thought I had a nice young dressage prospect.

I'm pretty sure I remember signing a check for one 16.2 hand, bay mare. 

Apparently, I was wrong, and what I got, was in fact a Devil Horse.
Yup.  A scaley, snarling, devilish beast.  Not that I wouldn't want one of those too, just that it wasn't my intention to make it my "first" horse.  Kinda like how you buy basic black boots and basic brown boots before you justify the purple suede hooker heels, or start filling in with metallic python flats.  There's an order of acquisition which I have clearly ignored...

So, yesterday I wandered out to the barn at my usual time, boppin along to crappy top 40 in my car, pleasantly surprised that traffic was non-existent.  I chatted with the barn ladies about the horsey shopping trip... chatted about clothes... chatted about the weather... just boppin along nice and easy.

Then I got her.  The beast, the dragon, the she devil.  And all the sunshiney sweetness of the day was gone.

We tacked up in the old wash rack stall which means the mare has bars in front of her face, which she took advantage of to sharpen her fangs on while we groomed.  It became very clear that I was allowed to brush the middle of her neck, and her hip, but under no circumstances was I allowed to polish her head, chest, girth, butt or legs.  Much stamping and ear pinning ensued...

By some miracle I got the dragon harnessed and booted (something told me that we'd need our "extra" protective boots) and headed for the ring.  She started out like a normal horse, fairly calm on the lunge, a little tense, but forward and not overly kicky-kicky.  We even had some decent canter transitions, so just as I thought "oh goody, no big bucks... time to get on!" She unleashed.  Vertical bounces, sits, head waggles, the works...  So I immediately dismissed any notion of her being "calm" and worked for another 10 minutes on the ground with lots of transitions and trying to keep her as focused as possible.

I was feeling ok about everything, but right when I got on, everyone else left the ring to go walk on the road... which, as we all remember by this point is Pia's favorite freakout excuse ever.  My attempt to keep her distracted worked okay, I just "scribbled" all over the ring.  loops, turns, figure-eights... anything to keep her from laser beam locking on the departing horses and bolt/bucking to go join them.

She snorted like a dragon and picked a bit of a fight with me, but we were mostly ok.

The small victory was that Pia stayed forward and never felt "stuc."  The total defeat was that she refused to relax and even after 15 minutes I didn't feel the hump in her back give way.. This was about the point in our lesson when I lose track of exact ordering... I know that we did some leg yield --> circle exercises, and I know that we did some medium work.  But then at some point pia FREAKED.  Not her normal "I'm-gonna-kick-out-at-your-leg" objections, and not her "oh-you-want-to-canter" bucks, instead it was more like "I AM A DEVIL DEVIL HORSE AND YOU WILL NOT BE TOLERATED"  She bucked, and twisted, she shied, she spun, she went bonkers.  the good news? I stayed on.  Though, after a particularly violent twisting buck (and a very angry scream from me), I found a lull in the action and popped off to lace her across the butt once.  Of course, as soon as I popped off, she knew what was happening and tore away from my hand. 

devil mare.

But, fine.  You want to gallop around?  You'll gallop around.  You'll gallop until you're so tired you want to stop, then you'll gallop some more. And then you'll gallop some more.  Then you'll change direction and gallop again.  Until you hate me chasing you and are begging for me to stop.

Which she did.

So I picked up my sweaty, panting DEVIL HORSE and walked her nicely back to the mounting block.  I got on, expecting an attitude adjustment, and barely saw a difference.  Sure, she was tired for a few minutes, but as soon as she caught her breath we were right back to where we started.  Bitchy, pinned ears, kicking at my legs and all in all unpleasant.  We worked our halt transitions (which weren't awful) and played with some turns on the forehand (which leave something to be desired) before finishing off with some trot work.  The trot work was still wretched, but at that point it had been well over an hour, with lunging antics AND a gallop frenzy included, so I didn't want to push our luck on her legs...

All in all, it was a really disappointing ride.  BO started asking at what point would I want another horse.. and I stood by my theory that it would take a lot more crap than this to get me there.

I'm really hoping this is a hormone thing.  I won't give in even if it isn't, but man oh man.. yesterday was hard. I'm starting my research on mare control.  Mare Magic hasn't prevented her cycles from being stormy.. so I might have to step it up a notch on that front.

Fingers crossed that today she's more equine than devil spawn...


  1. Wow, if it is hormones, I'd say that girl might be begging for depo shots, or regumate? Might take the devil mare down a notch to she-witch? I am impressed that you stayed on! I hope she returns to her normal Pia self soon....

  2. Good job staying on.

    Everything else been eliminated besides hormones?

    You're really making me appreciate my quiet guy, although he has blown up on me once. I (inadvertantly) poisoned him with Amplify when he lost a good bit of weight after I brought him home. He was a c-r-a-z-y horse for about six weeks. I didn't know any better and paid for the mistake with a train wreck trail ride meltdown... bolting, sky high buck, me hitting the dirt.

    I hope you find a rememdy :)

  3. I didn't realize Pia was Hungarian Warmblood, so was KIKI, and the most alpha, dominant, stubborn, challenging horse I have ever met...though I appreciated every moment of it. These mares are smart, they are always trying to figure us out and see if we are going to be submissive to their pressure...good luck and stick with her, she will love you for it,

  4. M- right? She was a GEM yesterday (post to come) so I really am thinking this is probably a cycle issue.. I've been googling all I can on hormone control.. and I'm thinking I might try a round of regumate in the spring to see if it solves our issues, them possibly explore a less $$ option..

    TtH- I *think* I've elimanted everything else. It doesn't seem like an energy issue, her saddle fits fine, she's sound... I keep thinking its something crazy like kissing spine, but that seems less likely..

    N- YES! Hungarian Mare Beast! She is S-M-A-R-T. Can't do any exercise more than 3 times or she anticipates it, can't let her get bored, always have to have enough happy distractions that she doesn't imagine monsters.. she's a challenge, but when she's on, I see the glimmer of how amazing of a partner she could become...


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