Yes, it's true. Marti is going home and after you read the following, you will understand why.
Following our small breakthrough, Marti's behavior remained fairly unchanged. He was still not so sure about being caught in the pasture, but eventually was coming if I had food. I decided to give him another shot, and went to lunge him again as I had been doing last week before he went all kinds of bat-poop crazy on me. He had previously been great on the lunge, so I groomed and tacked him, and added a surcingle to the mix to see how he would feel about that. He cringed, as he does when you put something new over his back, but was otherwise fine. Out on the lunge in my enclosed field/arena area, he started off fine, and then offered up a canter, which he hadn't done before - I didn't think he knew how to canter on the lunge. He was pulling like a freight train at one corner of the circle, and cutting in on one side, but that is a green mistake, so we were working with it to make him a little more even all the way around. Marti, however, had other ideas. On the far end of the circle, in full lunging regalia with bitted lunge caveson and all, he just stopped turning and started running in a straight line. Buh-BYE. This is exactly the way he had figured out previously to get away while leading: come forward, spin on his haunches, and bolt in the other direction away from the person. He ran through a stud chain with my full weight on him that way, twice, with absolutely no regard for the flimsy human being on the other end. On the lunge, he just took off in a straight line. There was absolutely nothing I could do except get my shoulder ripped out of the socket before letting him go. He galloped off at high speed, fully outfitted with gear and a lunge line trailing. As I watched him galloping away from me at full speed towards the fence, barely slowing in time to avoid fully crashing into it, I thought to myself, wow... one of us is going to get killed here.
And that's when I decided I had had enough. A horse his size with a blatant disregard for pressure even though he knows exactly what pressure is is not one I want to be working with as a fun side project, because it's NOT fun. Could I eventually fix him? Maybe. Could a more skilled person have more success with him than I could? Likely. Do I want to put myself in harm's way for a potential evetual bop-around ride? Nope. Honestly, I don't. I wish it could have worked out differently, but it didn't. The owner has been very gracious about it and knows his shortcomings. She will be taking him home either tomorrow or within a few days.
It just isn't worth it to me. I gave him a good try, and the negatives of the situation FAR outweigh the small positives. I hate feeling like I 'gave up,' but I don't actually feel very strongly like I did. More like... protecting my assets. Mainly my currently-intact body. And his.
I am not going to pursue finding another lease horse. My landlord is finally fixing up my fence and barn behind my house, so Gogo will be moving soon to the 5 acres directly behind me instead of the 15 so that the larger acreage can be set aside for growing hay. I have an offer to take on the mini from our farm (AKA Devil Pony) as her companion, and this will be great provided that I assure myself that the local pack of coyotes won't eat her. The other major challenge I'll have is that this pony was previously horribly foundered. Wait until you see her feet, you will die of horror. She is currently sound enough to run around attacking the big horse she is turned out with without apparent lameness - and by some miracle she lands properly and is growing in a new healthy hoof capsule - but wow it's scary. She'll have to live in a grazing muzzle, especially during the spring. The other option is a mini donk, which for SURE will keep the coyotes at bay. But I dunno... pretty sure Gogo would kill a coyote if she got the chance.
So that's that, I guess.
2 days ago