After the brouhaha on Saturday, J and I talked about giving Ashke some time and space to work through some things. We decided Sunday and Thursday would be days of "rest" for the boy and instead of riding him we would do things that he would enjoy. In other words, working him in a different way. So on Sunday we brushed him out and then went for a walk.
We walked down 149th to Zuni, turned left and walked down to 144th. At 144th we crossed the road at the traffic light, then walked around McKay Lake. We then crossed 144th at the pedestrian crosswalk and walked back along 144th to Pecos. Straight up Pecos and we reached the stables again. We walked pretty much non-stop for 2.5 hours and I figure we came close to doing five miles or so.
Ashke was snorty and blowy the entire trip. He did great! He didn't refuse to go, balk at any thing, or startle at much (he didn't really like the squeeky bicycle behind him or the lawnmower, but other than that he did really well.) We did have an issue with him picking up a mouthful of dead leaves and grass and fishing line at one point, but I was paying attention and managed to get the fishing line out of his mouth without incident. Another good reason why fisherpeople should clean up after themselves instead of throwing the tangled line into the grass. That could have killed him.
There was one thing he kept doing that has me worried. Do you remember this?
He kept doing that. In fact, at one point we had walked down to the lake and let him check out the water. When we turned around to go back up to the trail there was a slight embankment. I lead him up to it and said "up!" He leapt up the embankment and then added a buck and kick out at me with his hind hooves. He wasn't close to me, but it was still behavior that he shouldn't be directing at me. When we were almost home, he did the above move in my directio, this time coming very close to hitting me. I wacked him on the shoulder with the end of the lead rope, then grabbed his halter and told him I was upset with him. I lead him the rest of the way home without allowing him a bite to eat, or to do anything but walk quietly next to me. I used a very harsh voice and told him what a bad horse he was. When we got back to the stable yard, I stopped and waited for J to go to the port-o-potty. I was standing in front of Ashke, not petting him or talking to him because I was still angry. Ashke tentatively reached out and hooked the bottom of his chin on my shoulder and then tugged me forward toward him with gentle pressure. I moved forward until I was up against his neck. He curved his head behind my shoulder and pressed me against him. I gave him a hug. He gave a big sigh and hugged me back.
Now, I know that we humans have a tendancy to give our animals human emotions and I am very well aware that Ashke could have been doing something completely different in his mind and I am interpreting his behavior in a manner that makes sense to me. However, I do believe he was upset that I had smacked him and talked to him harshly. I also think he was trying to make amends.
What do you all think?