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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

6/2/01 - 10/11/11
~ Forever the Marest of Them All ~

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Attitude X Factor

Gogo is feeling a whole world of better after the injections, aloe juice, and Doxy. And that's great! Except for one thing. When Gogo feels poorly, she gets very, very sweet, and very snuggly. She wants me to take her head in my arms and cuddle her, which is the way she's been for the past several weeks. And when Gogo feels good, she has an... attitude. Now that she's feeling REALLY good, she has a REALLY BIG ATTITUDE. Really.

For instance. All that cuddliness? Gone. I always give her a snuggle when I walk by her stall and she has her head poking out over her stall gate, and even just last week, she would cuddle up to me whenever I'd reach up to pull her face over. Now? Nope. She lifts her head away from me and looks away in a way that clearly says, "Mom. You're embarassing me." She's always been punky like this, so this is no surprise. But I was enjoying the sweetness!
And she's starting to do little things to try and reassert her alpha-ness, like I talked about in my last post. I stop her while leading, and she takes another step forward after she's supposed to be standing still. I lead her somewhere, and she lags behind, or drifts. I ask her to stand still, and she looks at me for a moment, then moves her feet. I've had her for three years... she knows the house rules by now. I am a self procleaimed manners nazi, just because horses are big and quite frankly, I'd rather not be getting dragged around, mauled for food, bitten in the butt/face/hand/boob/whathaveyou, or kicked in the head. One of my unbreakable golden rules is that you NEVER put your mouth on ANYTHING unless it is food that is specifically offered to you. She has never, never been mouthy in any way, so this has never been a problem. Alllllll the horses here chew on the crossties, except her, and when she tried this once or twice this past winter, she got a stern talking to. She never did it again. Until yesterday. AND she had the nerve to do it right in front of me. I was brushing her tail out with her paddle brush (yes, that gorgeous, thick, dreamy, shining tail? Yeah, I spritz on some Showsheen and rip a tailbrush through it. Every day.), and I looked up to see her craning her neck around to look at me. While she was staring at me, she purposely reached over and took the crosstie in her mouth. The flat end of the paddle brush made a very loud WHACK as it made contact with her butt, I can tell you that! She jumped a little, and held still for a moment. Then, she turned her head around to look at me again, and took the crosstie in her mouth AGAIN, as if to say HA! Your beatings cannot stop me! Cheeky, cheeky wench.
She also knows that at mealtimes, you hold still and you WAIT for your food. You don't eat it until you get out of my way and I give it to you, then walk away and leave you to it. You do not paw, bite things, kick the wall, scrape your teeth on stuff, pin your ears, or get in my space. Normally she's very polite about these things. But yesterday? She pinned her ears over her stall gate at everyone around her, made like she was going to kick the wall, then walked over to her feed bucket and scraped her teeth on the wall. Which she has done exactly ONCE before in her entire life. Again, another stern talking to. But what did she do just seconds later, when I walked away? Walked back over and scraped her teeth on the wall again. I walked into her stall as she was still doing it, whacked her one, backed her up into the corner, told her to stand and think about what she had done, and closed her door behind me. I fed everyone else, went and cleaned the back grounds, and then went back to feed her. She was still standing in her corner waiting for me. Sorry mare, but you know the rules! I am no-nonsense when it comes to rules on the ground. Everything is cut and dried, black and white. You can do this, and you can't do that, end of story, no exceptions. Today, she was back to her polite self about her food, but it wasn't without an air of disgust. She is very smart, especially about food - you get fed when you wait for me. If you don't wait for me, you don't get fed until you do. That is easy to put together, if you are a cheeky mare.

Under saddle, post injections, I had some sort of dream fantasty that Gogo would be totally thrilled to be feeling better, and would trot off like a million bucks right from the get go, and all would be fabulous! Ah... no. Gogo has other ideas. Yes, she is feeling a TON better, but since she is now finding it easier to do things with her body, she has an entire army of new ways to evade me. When she DOES get going well, the work is brilliant, but we are back up to our 45 minute warmups because she just isn't keen on playing the game just yet. I have to take a step back for a few days, I think, and just go back to letting her warmup by crusing around and being relatively benign to her. When I start asking her for more than she thinks she's ready for too early on in the ride, she just doesn't play. She won't. I can't make her. But when I stay quiet and just let her be for a little while, she always comes around. Always. And just from seeing her in the mirrors as we pass, she is moving phenominally, flexing her hocks more than she has in a very long time. She feels fantastic. She's just... punky.

Very, very punky.

Tomorrow comes the true test: we are going XC schooling at Red Rock in Rhode Island. It has water, banks, and plenty of varied jumps. And at $25 a school, it also has the right price. Very excited!

Boy I love that wenchista. I do really enjoy when she has this snarky attitude. It's never nasty in any way - never any pinned ears or grumpiness - but it definitely has an air of better-than-thou snootiness to it. Directing this cheekiness into productivity is a very refined art, and it's not easy. I don't pretend to be successful at it day in and day out. There are days that I just can't figure out how to approach it. And there are days when it all comes together and really clicks.

It's something I realy live for, every day.


Roaniesmommy said...

All very intresting!
I am glad that she is feeling better, and I hope that she starts being good for you. :) Haha.

Also, she is gorgeous. This is my first time on your blog, and she is gorgeous.

Dressager said...

Haha! "Cheeky wench." Deep down inside, you know you love it. As you stated.

I can totally understand missing the cuddly, pathetic, but adorable snuggling. But it's good that she is definitely back in the game lol.

Sam said...

I know exactly how you feel! At one event I took Val to, the stadium course was a long, long walk from the barns, so we saddled up and headed out much earlier to watch my trainer go. I was just leading him with his halter; we had brought the bridle for later. He ate grass for maybe two hours, then finally got bored with eating (!) and was being all loving and in-your-lap. He's never, ever like that! He exudes "Do not touch me, for I am Great Valerius, the most amazing horse of all horses!" I would actually use the word pretentious to describe him! So I was sad to see that attitude go away. :(

Albigears said...

Haha, well- I can relate to Gogo, I have some of the same tendencies myself.

Great article, by the way!