"Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins". -Charles Stanley
I got up to the barn today, a beautiful January day, the sun was actually out (it hasn't been out in what seems like forever), the snow has melted, and it was a warm 45 degrees. I had every intention of taking Finn on a short trail ride and hack around the property. My trainer said he was fantastic last night, she did a lot of canter work with him, and he is getting strong and confident. Usually when she rides the day before, I have a fantastic, willing, light horse the next day. I was really, really looking forward to this ride after a long week.
He was out in the paddock when I got there and he pricked his ears from the other end when he saw me. Brought him in and he was a rockstar on the cross ties, not dancing around and pawing like he usually does. When he saw the saddle, he pinned his ears. AND IT WAS ALL DOWNHILL FROM THERE. Girthed him, and he tried to cow kick me. Brought him in the indoor and he kept trying to cow kick, and was prancing around at the end of the reins like an idiot.Tightened my girth, tried to get on, he stepped away from the mounting block a few times, finally got on. Walked a few 20m circles, with his head in the air. He would not relax. Thought that maybe if I picked up the trot he would settle. Pressed lightly into his sides, no response, pressed a little more. After what felt like a lot of urging (not typical), he broke into a trot. BUCKED, SQUEALED, and tried to get me off. Just like that. I knew something was wrong. This was not my horse. This hasn't been my horse since June.
Walked him back to his stall, untacked him in there, and he immediately peed like crazy. I am hoping that he just had to pee...He will only go in his stall or out in the paddock, and he has cow kicked and acted like a jerk before when he needed to go. At this point I already had him untacked from thinking he was lame so rather than tacking him up again I decided to bring him in the indoor and watch him move.
Let him go, and he took off like a rocket. Galloping full force around the indoor for 20 minutes. This is a horse that is in work SIX DAYS A WEEK, is on practically NO grain, is on SMARTCALM ULTRA, and has ALL DAY TURNOUT in a giant paddock. Seriously, Finn, WTF?!!!! I don't get it. I just can't explain him anymore.
I have a horrible feeling that neurologically there is something wrong with him. I have had him tested for lyme very recently, which would be the first thing I would think of. It's like he will be totally fine and calm and willing, then a switch flips, and he loses his mind, and I can't get him back.
I'm terrified of my own horse. I don't enjoy him. I couldn't wait to leave the barn today. I spend two hours driving back and forth to see him and work with him and it just feels like a huge waste of time. I don't know why or how we lost our bond, but it's not there anymore. I have had vets, farriers, X-rays, chiro, massage, acupuncture, blood work, saddle fitters, thermography, feed changes, supplement changes, barn changes, ANIMAL COMMUNICATORS (crazy much?), everything for him and NOTHING that I've done has helped. All the while, thinking, shouldn't it be a little simpler than this? I know horses are a lot of work, and time, and care, but this just seems extreme. Is it? I've done everything aside from taking him to a clinic and getting a bone scan, which I just don't know if I want to do.
He wasn't like this when I got him. He was a sweet, willing horse that I could canter around no worries. Now, I won't even canter him. Ever. My trainer does, but I won't. I used to jump him 2'6, in the outdoor, with his ears pricked, and tell him he was a good boy when he cleared over 3', as his ears tilted back to me, and then forward, eager for the next jump. I can't even bring him outside anymore. I close the doors to the indoor when I ride. I used to take him down the trail and talk to him the whole time about everything, while he listened and looked back at me as if to say, yep, mom, I know exactly what you're saying. He was my escape. From work. From my toddler. From everything. He was a friend, and fun, and my confidence. He made me feel strong, and loved, and happy.
I dread seeing him. Because I know that it will be the worst part of my day.