I took Remi to the lake today but we did not have time to swim. I was looking to test my new approach to his spookiness. I had been coddling him when he got tense and trying to show him he could trust me to take care of him. That approach would have been perfect for a Water horse temperament but it did not work on Remi at all.
Remi is a Metal/Earth(Yang Ming) horse temperament even though he was exhibiting more typical Water horse temperament behavior. I realized this behavior was more of a personality issue based on his previous experiences and not his real temperament so I decided to approach him based solely on his temperament, not his personality. Based on my ride today I think this is going to work much better.
When I got Remi up to saddle him he acted mildly tense but I ignored this and went about my business of saddling. I did rub his belly a little just to be friendly. He relaxed and I tied him to an overhead tree while I rode Cerise. My friend arrived and I got Remi loaded and off we went to the lake. He was totally relaxed while I got on and dropped his head immediately as we set off.
He spooked twice on the trail but they were normal horse spooks when startled. We ran into a friend of mine and we visited for several minutes and Remi was completely relaxed. He got is energy up twice when he saw horses in the distance and instead of talking to him gently and letting him stop and look I took more of a hold of him and just changed the subject like it was no big deal and we had places to go and things to do. He relaxed.
It is amazing to me what a difference it made to give Remi a routine. Even though I know Yang Ming temperaments like a routine I did not realize what a big deal it is. I think if Remi was a person he would want to work on an assembly line in a nice nine to five job and then go home at night and watch TV. I, on the other hand, think horses should be able to handle all kinds of different activities and experiences.
The challenge I think with Remi is that he has never been able to settle into a job and be allowed to learn it well. He has been handled roughly and owned by people who did not take care of him or support him. New experiences for him have not been a good thing. I have exposed him to new things and it has all worked out well for him but I think I overwhelmed him with too much input. Now I will let him settle into a trail riding routine and let him relax.
Down the line I can probably gradually again introduce new activities. He has been quite a good teacher in the difference between approaching behavior based on the horse personality verses the underlying temperament. Madalyn