He goes by many names. Here, especially, he's Wind In His Tail. His registered name is Joe Cool, but due to his bloodline I had redubbed him (quite unofficially) War Dancer (coming from - of all beings - Man O War and another later, lovely beast Native Dancer). Due to his extreme personality at times I have renamed him War Child, and at his worst War Criminal. Ha. Otherwise we just call him Happy.
Yes, literally, he has a smiley on his shoulder. And you've probably already seen the heart on his butt. He does have a LOT of heart, a big one, but that belies his nature to misbehave at any opportunity. Recently I've had an opportunity to take him camping and riding with some friends and, during his refresher courses, he has demonstrated his more apt moniker, Demon Child.
Not only has he fractured one of J's fingers by getting the leadrope tangled and jerking him about, he has many times pounded us on the top of our noggins with his steely chin, shouldered us into walls, posts, and other such, but the last in this string was him beginning to paw the ground (just being haltered in the stall was evidently an outrage) except the top of my hoof - sorry, my VERY human FOOT - directly in the path of the downward forceful strike.
So ONCE AGAIN I had to face the inevitable decision, as I had already thrice before, to keep or to find a home? Four times have I been thrown by this animal. Once resulted in concussion. My foot has looked like this a few times, one or the other. He acts like a racing stallion the minute I walk in the barn. Tearing back and forth from the outside to the inside stall, barely able to contain himself to be haltered, then it's the circus to the field...
Yes, babies, believe me I don't make it easy for him to act like this. He gets LOTS of ground training, backing up, circles, a few lashes of leadrope across his front legs when he strikes out and rears up.. I have had training, he has had training (and been TERRIFIC) we've done the natural horse-person-ship along with a more agressive (ahem..) Cowboy style (not proud, already told you this is a confessional..) with smacks on the snout for biting me on purpose (I know, I know, they say to never do that!) but if ANY of this worked for ONE SINGLE SECOND don't you think it would have in the last three years?? I've even ridden him around this beautiful property a couple times (he is much, much better under saddle.. riddle me that!?!) and yes, loves to have a job - needs to be doing something, for sure. But time after time, he is just. too. much. for me to handle on a daily basis, so he ends up in the field bugging the other horses.
Yes, he doesn't even treat THEM right. Not responsive to typical Leave Me Alone Now cues by others of his like. Keeps taunting like a naughty spoiled child. I have since had him either in stall or out alone where sometimes he can see other horses and sometimes not. He has gone for 3 days at a time in the field not eating, just running, running, looking more like a greyhound than a horse, but in the evening at least he gets hay and water, the only times I think he ingests anything (because his buddy is also in the barn, but not too close).
ALL THIS TO SAY THAT all this time I thought it was ME. That EYE was not a good horseperson. EYE was not confident or knowledgeable or capable. ME. And because Happy was such a drain on me, I ignored the other gentleman in my life (a lot of things in fact, in my life) because I kept trying to understand how I could fail so incredibly miserably. But once I began working with Louie, even though he had some of the same field-lazy habits that any horse seemed to develop, he came around within two days to understanding what I wanted from him. I tried the same behavioural stimuli with the other horses on the property. They all responded well too.
It was then I realized I had been duped, perhaps only by my own mind, but now understood I AM FINE. I AM A GOOD HORSEPERSON. HAVE MANY SKILLS. AM VERY CONFIDENT and capable and respectable by the equine community. Where else has this translated?!? How about in YOUR life? How many times have we banged our heads against the brick wall that is/was our partner/co-human anytime, anywhere, with our child, with some systems that don't seem to work no matter what we do??? Fortunately for me, I had/have another being to tell me "Yes! I get it. I understand your communication" to know that I wasn't just an equinary idiot. When even strangers are nicer to us than our (fill-in-the-blanks: family, lover, friends even) and respond to our very socially clear cues and conversation, then we finally can understand that MAYBE IT ISN'T US!! just the combination of 'usses' at the time. With Happy, I'm investigating the fact he may have been improperly imprinted, on human OR beast, and has a mental state akin to being autistic. I don't hate him or abuse him, but I do demand his concern for my personal safety while we figure it all out. We still have loving moments together.
A big AHA for a small matter. But that's how it works, these fractals. Atoms look like galaxies and systems behave similarly, quantum and universal. All of our answers are right there in front of us, in a drop of water, a flower petal, a puff of wind. Waiting for us to listen, to see. No gurus need be involved, simplicity is where you find it.
I'll leave you with a fave quote of mine, from Kung Fu - "When you cease to strive to understand, then you will know... without understanding."