When I lived at home one of my favorite spots has always been our tack room. The smell of used leather mingled with horse is just perfectly peaceful and a combination that always immediately calmed my nerves. When I moved I lost that little slice of heaven.
Of course the barn I board at has a tack room but I have a ton of stuff. Somehow saddles and bridles and all those horse essentials seem to have collected and bred so now I have quite a few of each. I didn’t want to crowd their small tack room so my trailer became my backroom. But somehow it just wasn’t the same.
Yesterday happened to be one of those days were my frustrations just seemed to continue to mount. Nothing seemed to go right no matter how hard I worked. I have been gone on a trip for work (the long absence of posts probably was a hint. sorry my iPad and I weren’t agreeing much) And the first day back just seemed to be a shit show. I was frustrated and well frankly pissed off about a lot of things.
I was so frazzled I debated not going to see the boys after being gone so long but at the last minuet I decided I really did need a nuzzle and to give them a treat if nothing else so I drove out to the barn. I unlocked my trailer and suddenly I was enveloped in the smell of a tack room. The warm leather and horse and a hint of grain and apples wafted to my nose and it was as if all the stress of the day suddenly just released. My trailer has become my child hood sanctuary and one that has been badly needed.
If I could bottle up that smell and take it with me to work I surely would! There is nothing quite so amazing as that smell other then warm horse after your done riding of course!!
So I stuffed my pockets with treats, grabbed a halter and headed out to see the boys. I rushed down and Jack was eagerly awaiting at the gate ( He knows the sound of my truck now) and Cash wasn’t quite so convinced until I started whistling and calling their names. Cash perked his ears and whinnied and Jack sighed and moved out of Cash’s way (sorry Jack) because Cash is the undisputed boss!
So I decided to work the boys today. Nothing too crazy because as some people probably won’t believe, I do not have a death wish and two weeks off and the boys defiantly have a bunch of energy! So I worked the boys one at a time, and free lunged them over some canter and trot poles and let them get out all their snorts and bucks and think about working again instead of being pasture puffs.
It was while working Jack that I truly had an insight into both of the boys. Cash is defiantly a more “TB” style quarter horse. He’s all energy and spit fire, long legs and loves speed. And while I was working him he was listening to me for transitions and such but he wasn’t really paying attention. His ears were up and eyes looking at everything that even thought about moving outside the arena. He would snort and look at the scary dog hiding under the apple tree. He’d go over the poles I had set up because they were on the rail and circle back to me to try and weazle a treat out of me. When that didn’t work and I pushed him back out he would continue in the gate I told him to but he would just do a more automatic response of going over the poles. Snort and shy at the new dump truck and repeat. He never was truly focused on me. And while he wanted to please, it was more for his personal reward then for my affection.
Jack on the other hand is much more of your typical Quarter Horse. Even for a three year old. While he has moments of being a spitfire and snorting and jumping and doing all the things young (and not so young I’m looking at you Cash) energetic horses do he quickly settles down and starts looking at the the things around him. He watches his feet and snorts at some of the stuff outside the arena but he truly listens to me. He really pays attention to where I am in the arena and what my body language is telling him to do. I can turn him by how I angle my body and move towards him, I can stop him, I can draw him further into the arena and push him back to the rail. (ok most of the time not always)
I think having that break from them and coming back kinda helped open my eyes a bit to how they both think. Cash has always had a stallion outlook on life, and a more alpha one for sure. What he says goes and no horse is gonna tell him different and so in the ring he acts like an alpha. He’s gonna look at things, challenge things and be less caring of what I do unless it benefits him. And while he respects me and what I ask him to do, his personality is always gonna be more dominant then Jacks.
Jack was an alpha at one point but now he most defiantly is not and I think a lot of that has played into how he acts during training. Being a lower horse in the “herd” really makes him pay attention to where the leader is. In this case it would be me. And exactly what I’m asking him to do.
I honestly can’t say which personality I like better because they both have their perks and their downfalls depending on what I’m asking them to do.
I think the pecking order in a herd may have a lot of impact on how we train these horses. I could be completely wrong because my “herd” is small here and I’m dealing with two boys. Mares may handle the situation differently and two different groups of alpha and betas may respond completely opposite but it defiantly plays a roll here with these two!
Check back soon. I’ve got some book/product reviews coming up for you! Until next time!