The thing is, she's not that horse anymore- but I've been treating her like she is. I've been letting her get away with what seemed to me like little things that added up to something big. Like walking off without my direction and swinging her hindquarters around instead of halting square. It took an outsider looking at the situation to say to me, "you've got a submission problem."
That totally blew my mind.
But she was absolutely right. I have not stepped up expectations with Gwen's progress, I've still been walking on eggshells around her for fear that if I ruffle her feathers she'll blow up like that wild thing she used to be. The thing is, by NOT laying down the line I've been making it more likely that's what she'll do.
It was pointed out to me that since she's a flighty, nervous animal who is incredibly insecure, she needs me to be in charge to feel safe. But because she's a mare, she'll test me. If she steps over the line and I don't step up, she'll get nervous, and then she'll get scared, and then she'll be gone.
Of course laying down the law doesn't mean I have to get nasty or aggressive with her, I just need to correct her when she makes a decision without me. If she takes a step I don't ask for, I need to put her back. If I'm riding and she tries to fixate on something, I need to move her body so she can't. I need to ask her for more, lots more, to keep her busy and to keep her mind from wandering. A Gwen that has her mind on me is not a Gwen that's spooking and bolting across the countryside. That's the Gwen I want.
It's time for me to help my baby girl grow up.
|I've been too busy to take any photos of the Quarters lately, so enjoy this dandelion instead.|