PostHeaderIcon The Mind of a Horse

You will be surprised to learn about Cisco’s mind. Cisco is a left brain introvert. That means he thinks through things and isn’t a big fan moving. He likes to move. He likes to stop. But what Cisco really is…is a worrier. He worries about things. It can take him a long time to get comfortable in a new place. His worry is very low key as he is thinking while he is worrying. During his worrying phase, he likes to move. That keeps him relaxed. When he moves, I’m usually talking about a walk, a nice comfortable walk. Depending on how much he is worrying, his stopping and standing still can go from fidgeting to hopping up and down with his front legs. Little rears, I call them.

A lot of people probably wouldn’t even realize that he is worrying when he fidgets and hops. People might yell at him and in a large commanding emotional voice, might tell him to WHOA…WHOA while pulling back on the reins. What would that do to you if you were worried and then someone tried to force you to stand still and yell at you..with a bit of nervous energy. Usually, that doesn’t work so well and when it does work, the human is lucky, very lucky that the horse didn’t engage in something called “whoops, my human just fell off and I’m out of here!”

At the April 2015 Spring Show, we went into the arena really well and moved fine. Except for the rope gate held up in the middle of the arena. We couldn’t go near the rope gate.

At he 2015 June Spring show in Ava, Cisco got a coughing problem which I now think was caused by a moldy stall. He had several shots from the vet to treat any infection that might be lurking in his lungs. And when we walked around the show grounds, he was fine…until I had him stop and stand still. That just didn’t work. He started prancing and dancing. I told him to walk on and he seemed calm and relaxed. We rode in the arena and tried to practice our opening and closing the gate. Oh that did not work at all. He hopped and pranced all over the place when I tried to stop at the panel gate.

At he 2015 September Celebration, we were just a little worried about everything, but we lived through it. The panel gate was a problem. He was nervous and prancy at the gate. It was a left handed gate, but he did finally let me open it up with my right arm and back through the gate. I don’t think I even let go of the gate, but he was nervous about it.

Now we come to the April 2016 show. I’m the show manager and have to wait until the show starts before I can go to my horse. Cisco and I can only do a brief session of ground play. Again we were on the obstacle course, ready to open the gate. Once again, he became nervous and prancy. Again I was forced to open the left handed rope gate with my right arm. You would think we had never practiced the gate opening. I’ve had a year to practice gate opening. Yes, he does appear just a little nervous at the gate, even when he is used to his environment. But another session of hopping and prancing around the gate during a horse show…nope. I never expected that.
We were in the fox trot obstacle course and then the open obstacle course. He was worse about the gate the second time.

I’m back in our home arena now and there is a round pen gate Cisco and I can go through. He is not exactly relaxed as we go through our gate entry. He doesn’t like to stand still during our gate opening and closing. So that is what we will work on. We will be opening and shutting a gate with a lot of stopping during our gate activity.

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