The question is?

We planned a trip to see Jewels on Friday. She loves treats, so before we left I had quartered a couple of apples to give her. I placed them in a baggy for transport.  When we arrived, Jake’s wife was loping a nice buckskin colored paint around the pen. Jake was leading Jewels out of the big riding area. It was late in the morning so he had already done what he was going to do with Jewels. I was pleasantly surprised she was looking healthy and fit from her daily workouts. I wasn’t surprised she still had the naughty look in her eye. I approached her and gave her a pat or two on the neck. She seemed calm and relaxed. I grabbed a snack out of the plastic bag and she sucked back. That wasn’t surprising. Jewels is always suspicious of sudden changes in her comfort zone.

Jake explained in detail, a few things he was trying to accomplish. He informed me how she acted during certain situations. Why her body was tight and she looked mad. There wasn’t much he could tell me I wasn’t already aware of.  Jewels is very unbalanced. She doesn’t know where to place her feet. She parks out on her front end and gets stuck when you ask her to move. She also loads up on her hind end before trying to escape something she’s fearful of. Blah! It’s nice to have someone else confirm it though. We stood chatting about the horse, the day and what ever else came to mind. All the while I was giving Jewels an apple to chew on. Suddenly, Jewels jumped out of her skin and ran backwards.  I must have rattled the bag more than the previous time. This incident was totally uncalled for. She had no reason to react like that. I’ve fed her apples and treats from a crackling bag since I got her. I thought we’d already worked this out. This wasn’t a new thing.

This turned in to another training session. Jake followed her right long making her run backwards farther than she intended to do. I’d bet money she didn’t anticipate that happening. He had grabbed the bag on the run to chase her down with it. I just laughed, because this is something her and I had done a countless number of times in the beginning. It must have taken him about thirty minutes to calm her down enough to wipe the bag over her face with out her reacting badly. Her feet got sticky while he was asking her move with the bag against her head. I was glad he helped her think this through. Jewels figured out she can move her feet without blowing up at an object. She finally settled in to the groove and stood calmly. Jake politely said, she needed that schooling or she wouldn’t understand it’s not acceptable behavior. I just shook my head. It’s almost hard to comprehend how much this mare despises being messed with.

Jake’s aware of my limitations on the ground. I had to ask the hard question still plaguing me. “Do you thing she’ll ever be a suitable mount for me”? He answered without hesitation. No, mam! Not at this point. That’s why I like this guy. He’s not going to beat around the bush or tell me what I want to hear.  I swallowed his opinion hard. We discussed what could be  if I didn’t continue her training with him or anyone knowledgeable of working with this type of horse. We both know, this is not her fault. Jewels never got a proper foundation put on her. We both know, if I choose to sell her because of it, she might end up in the wrongs hands, again. Someone who doesn’t understand the key for her success. She won’t work out for them, and the worse case scenario being. She’ll be sent to auction and end up in the back of a killer buyers trailer. That’s not going to happen on my watch! She just may never be a suitable mount for me at my age. I will not give up, yet! I still have hope. But, if all else fails. I will raise a colt from her.

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"It's better to ride even if you get thrown, then to wind up just wishing you had." - Chris LeDoux.
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