If you’re looking for a creature to give you an ego boost about yourself in general, let me tell you who not to go to.
Hillary has been in Ocala for over a week now (god it’s ONLY been that long??) which means that Henry is once again my full-time ride. One of us has been pretty pleased about this. Hint: it’s not him.
See, Hillary has bought his love. Like many times over. She comes armed with what seems like thousands of German Horse Muffins, doesn’t spend a lot of time fussing with him, rides him, doesn’t demand as much of his performance as I do, and then she leaves. It’s his ideal relationship.
And then there’s me.
I think he’s been a bit lazy lately about carrying himself, being uphill in his canter, and keeping a good shape, so those are my priorities for the time Hillary is gone. I come swooping in there with a bit (he’s really sure he doesn’t wear a bit anymore at all, after almost 3 years of very rarely wearing one) and ask him to be round and uphill and push some of the more intense flatwork buttons that she does not. This is not to say that I ride him better or anything like that at all, just that I’ve been riding him for 8 years so if I didn’t know how to ask for more and push all the buttons by now, it would be pretty sad indeed.
Henry though… he’d much rather give about 50%, and pretend like it’s the best he can do. I know him better than that, so I insist on his 100%. Now that he’s been living his best life with Hillary for a few months, he thinks I am a walking case of Bullshittery, and he’s not totally convinced that he’s required to participate at that level, considering that he’s now seen an alternative. This horse would really love to be a low level schoolmaster and ignore your opinion most of the time, I swear.
The day after these pics, I went out to go get him for a hack and he took my cookie, slapped on his devil horns, and hightailed it to the back of the pasture before I had a chance to put the halter on. Rude. The ultimate in rude. He hasn’t done it since then (I guess he thinks he made his point), but I also haven’t dressaged him since, so… ya know. He remembers, and he is very opinionated. People who don’t know him don’t always believe me but man. If you anger or annoy him in some way, you WILL know about it and you WILL pay for it. It’s Henry’s world and we’re all just living in it.
I’ve also been trying to get him shed out, including the 9000lbs of shetland pony-esque hair on his legs, which requires extra general fussing-with-him, which he hates. Cookies, jompies, fuck-offies. That’s what he’s interested in. If you’re looking for a horse to make you feel loved, he is not it. Even though I know that deep down he does love me in his own Henry way.
We’ve done a lot of pole work and hacking and a couple jump schools, which have all improved his mood. He’s noticeably happier and more agreeable when you go to get him on the days after he jumps. Anyone who wants to say that horses aren’t smart or emotionally developed, I beg to differ.
He’s still got another week to put up with me before his lady in shiny armor comes back to save him from this ridiculousness. I don’t know what he’s gonna do when we move and Hillary isn’t there to baby him at all. He might just go on strike completely.