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Unwilling, stubborn or simply scared

Not being long time horsemen can create some extra challenges. You think now you understood the creature that is supposed to serve you well but then the next day some new issue shows up. That’s how we are feeling at the moment.

Over the last few days the Peruvian mares - our city girls - learned that rivers and creeks will not swallow them or do them other harm. They do step into the water and have crossed a few shallow bodies of flowing water just fine.

It looked just perfect until yesterday afternoon when Diadema showed some strange behavior. Since we got her she had been a bit pushy, didn’t allow us to catch her in the corral and even turned her back to us indicating she is going to kick. That stopped after a few minutes of playing around and finally when tied to a post she accepts being saddled without any issues.

Yesterday afternoon started with the usual game. Then Luis sat up in the saddle and she refused to walk. With some convincing using his heels he got her to move a bit but then she intented to move into brushwood, rub him off on a tree and in general was simply fighting his command pulling the bit. They both got into a struggle of wills.

I did some reading and based on that it appears to me that Diadema might be scared and unwilling to perform. The other issue with her is that he doesn’t hold her gait. She can gait beautifully but when she is not in the mood for it she changes to a trot with all the usual bouncing up and down of the rider in the saddle.

Topacio on the other hand is the perfect lady. Her gait is very smooth. She walks, gaits, becomes faster and her gait turns into a very fast four beat staccato. When asked to go even faster she gallops so smooth that it is like flying. Yesterday while Luis and Diadema were trying to understand each other Topacio and I were doing eights and other shapes in limited space. She reacts to minimal touch with the legs or with minimal pull on the reins. Even voice commands are starting to work.

From day one on Topacio appeared as a shy mare while Diadema has been bully and pushy. As it turns out Topacio is a quick and eager learner while Diadema is either unwilling and stubborn or afraid of something.

Diadema acts a bit different with her caretaker Carlos who feeds the two mares. Carlos can walk up to her and catch her easily without any fuss. To me that indicates she might be scared. So we’ll try to have Carlos ride her next.

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