Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Nose Rest of Reconciliation

Dawn is feeling much happier.  When I rode her this morning, I lunged her first.  But we didn't need to lunge long - her demeanor was more relaxed, and I got good transitions pretty quickly.  And, although there was one muffled squeal on her first right lead canter departure - her harder lead - there was no bucking or kicking out.

And there was another sign of her better frame of mind.  When I took off the halter I'd been lungeing her in, to put on her bridle, she stopped me and rested her nose against my chest.  It was the "nose rest of reconciliation" - it was her way of expressing that we were connected again.  She rested her nose, I held her chin and stroked her face and neck.  We did this for quite a while.  When I bridled her and mounted up, we had a very nice ride - she was still very forward but was listening well and able to offer some softness.

Dawn is a very sensitive and emotional mare.  A few days ago, when she exploded, there was probably more going on for her than just the worry of another horse charging by nearby her.  My younger daughter, who's been home for the holidays had been visiting (although not riding) Dawn daily.  They're very deeply attached.  My daughter left Saturday for a trip and I expect Dawn is missing her.  And last Friday, Dawn's two closest mare friends, the ones whose stalls are next to and across from her, and who she hangs out with in turnout, left for the weekend.  Dawn was probably disturbed by that too.  One mare - the one she's closest to - came back yesterday - the other one is still at the trainer's.  When the other mare returned, and went to turnout, Dawn whinnied loudly to her and galloped up, and then proceeded to guard her from the other mares who were also interested in saying hello.

Dawn's feeling better now - her friend has come back, and she's decided I'll do, since my daughter isn't here.  That's one of the reasons I've always loved mares - their loyalty and fierce pride can make them hard to deal with at times but it's also a source of joy.

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