OK, that's a little extreme. Still, when it comes to my 26 year old mare Chamie, and her work on the lunge, even in the arena under saddle...today she told me that she's had enough.
I worked her on the lunge today, the first time I've worked her at all since her pony session with Miles. She gave me an epiphany. Though I owned her from age 8 until she was about 16, she has endured a lifetime since.
She didn't do anything crazy, and she moved as comfortably and soundly as I've seen her, which is great. Chamie just told me she is done with arena work. She listened to me, because she was taught to. She obeyed the lunge commands as she was trained to. Still, her heart is not in it. Yes, she is a mare, an old mare, in RAGING heat (!!), but that wasn't all of it. I think I've felt it ever since she came to the barn...her acquiescence, her obedience...but that's it...there is nothing else there. No passion, no heart, no drive to work. She cooperates because she has to, and because she was taught to. She is an old mare who has put in her time, one way or another. She is happy in her retirement, and I need to give that to her.
That's not to say she is completely off the hook. She is as sound as ever, and I really want to take her out on the trails when Spring arrives, if not sooner, and show her a life outside of the barn and pasture that she loves so much. I have a distinct feeling that if Miles goes with her, she will be the best little trail horse ever...she better be, if I put my family members on her:)
Miles continues to be my sweet, sensitive boy. I'm doing evening chores at the barn 4 times a week, and thus haven't been riding nearly as much as I should. Still, even yesterday when I rode Miles for the first time in longer than I care to admit, he went ca-razy on the lunge but was a total gentleman under saddle, even when my phone leaped out of my jacket pocket and onto the ground right next to him. In short, nothing has really changed, and even after days of neglect (ha!) he's still my Best Boy.
The difference between Miles and Chamie is so...interesting. Miles never stops being engaged...I get Chamie's attention with treats (ok, this is also true with Miles to an extent). Chamie loves the barn, loves being around people and other horses and, of course, food. Miles love those things too, but he also loves working and going off on our own and exploring. Chamie has paid her dues...Miles doesn't understand what dues are. Does that make sense?
In short...Miles needs more rides, and needs to work more than we are now, while Chamie is done with the arena. I need to get her on the trails soon to see if that is something she would enjoy and be reliable enough for my family to ride her as well.
Also, Detroit Lions? You broke my husband's heart.