I have been working more with Remi, my Yang Ming horse temperament, lately and I have noticed a pattern of behavior that is very interesting. Remi had some tough experiences before I got him and was a bit of a nervous wreck. He had been owned by a roper and had done well but was sold because he bucked off his owner. He had been turned out to pasture where he injured the heel on his right front and the cut was never treated so he developed a very bad scar.
Remi was sold and started in barrel racing training. He did well but the heel injury caused him some problems. He also has severely contracted heels on both front and his gaits were rough. After traveling to several rodeos Remi again started bucking with his owner. As a Yang Ming horse temperament he wants to have a good relationship with his owner and he also wants to do his job well. I suspect Remi’s original owner was not looking for any kind of relationship and may have worked Remi hard without any concern for his feelings.
My client that had Remi cared very much for him but I think the pain in his feet kept him from doing his job well and this contributed to his frustration. Remi does not seem to have any bad memories about barrel racing and is completely relaxed when I take him to the races when I run Cerise. Roping is a completely different matter. I took Remi to a barrel racing pen that is also the site of many ropings and he was very anxious. As soon as I unloaded him from the trailer he held his head high and got very tight in all his muscles. I had to bring him up to the arena because he was so worried left alone at the trailer. Once up by the other horses he settled down a little but still worked hard to keep me and Cerise in sight all the time.
I had planned to ride him that day but decided to just let him settle and not have to work. Finally he dropped his head and licked and chewed.
Another time I noticed his concern was when I took him to the team sorting. He got out and looked around at al the cowboys and cows and again went tense all over. After trying without success to get him to relax I walked him up to the pen and let him watch the sorting. After a few minutes he dropped his head and started licking and chewing and he did a full body shake then started yawning. The same behavior occurred again just the other day when I got out my own rope to practice. I was not surprised when Remi again got stiff and held his breath. I tied him at the trailer and simply tossed a few loops and then fed him a treat. After a few minutes he relaxed and I could rub the rope all over him.
I left him tied and walked away and again he licked and chewed, shook his whole body and then started yawning. This pattern seems to occur any time Remi is exposed to something that has been a bad experience for him in the past but works out OK. It is almost like his nervous system is resetting itself to accept the new information. The more I work with Remi the more his willing, happy go lucky Yang Ming horse temperament shows itself. He plays with the other horses in the pasture and wants to be petted when I come out to see the other horses. I know he will always have a tense spot he will go to if he gets upset but I am getting it covered up with many good experiences so he won’t go there as often. He is learning it is OK to trust again. Madalyn
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