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We Are Flying Solo

May 17, 2010

Always Expecting The Worst

I have a new horse.  My mild-mannered Quarter Horse seems to have wandered off in the night.  In his place is a somewhat more brash and opinionated creature.  He is just as shiny as ever, but he relishes pushing around Jeff, his pasture mate, with pinned ears and bared teeth.  Instead of meekly submitting to something he doesn't want to do, he boldly states his own opinion, which may include kicking out in symbolic defiance.  There's a hint of arrogance that just wasn't there before.

Because I am, well, me, I quickly surmised the cause of Solo's Big Change. He most likely had a brain tumour and would be dead within the month. This was obviously the most rational and readily available explanation for this new horse at the end of my lead rope.

I presented this information to our most logical of friends, lifeshighway, sure that she too would be puzzled by this turn of events.

lh: "Hmmmm. Well, he's fitter now than he has been since you have had him. Horses often exhibit changes in personality when they reach a certain level of physical fitness."

Me: "Oh. Well, that would make sense too."

I may have a tendency to leap to extreme conclusions in a few...ok, many...situations.

But I think lifeshighway has hit the nail on its proverbial head. Solo is indeed fitter than he has ever been; he is sleek, muscular, and holding the perfect weight and his wind is much improved. I noticed a marked jump in base fitness after doing our two horse trials this spring and it has stayed in place throughout April and May. And the collective "they" say that horses do indeed develop an arrogant confidence of their own, a certain extra vim and vigor when they go from pasture puff to competitive athlete.

So, my horse is kind of a badass now.

And I think I kind of like it.


  1. HAHAHA ummmm.... I may have jumped to the conclusion that Jackson broke his leg (but was only slightly lame??) when he popped a splint last summer. I am still being made fun of for that one......

  2. I ALWAYS jump to conclusions! this winter Olly tried to roll in his stall(a whole other story)got stuck and kicked the wall. When I finally got him up he was limping. I instantly broke into tears and ran to the house to call the vet. By the time I got back to the barn with the phone, he wasn't even limping anymore. Guess that is the mom in me...

  3. Lol, go Solo!!!! It's fun to see them all full of themselves. If they discover girls, it can make them think they're pretty hot stuff too (ask me how I know THAT....*tear* I miss my baby's innocence). Glad to know I'm in good company when it comes to jumping to conclusions. I'm always convinced Mr. Princess Pony is about to die of some malady. It does NOT help that he is the World's Most Accident-Prone Horse though & actually has had a few near-death experiences. I thought horses were supposed to be stress relieving?

  4. Also, just so you know, I am going through Solo Photo WITHDRAWAL. Please remedy the situation immediately.
    Thank you.

  5. Oh my, Squeaker is already like that! I can only imagine what might happen if I ever actually succeed in getting her fit.....

  6. I'm so glad to have this blog to warn me about all these things I may experience sometime in the future! I just sent my baby to "boot camp" and the new trainer is putting us both on a pretty rigorous conditioning schedule. Hopefully I'll be able to rule out brain tumor if Bugs decides to get full of himself, lol, thanks!

  7. Agree that we need more photos!

    I like horses to have that confidence you're talking about...just a little hint of "I'm kickass, and I know it!"

  8. Bwahaha! Just like a good owner to jump to the worst. Luckily I have Jackson at my friend's ranch, and she has had horses for over 30 years. When I freak out she patiently listens and then tells me I'm overreacting (or not). The good thing is, is that she DOES listen, filters out the anxiety and knows when it might be serious.
    Your horse is now a badass? Well, then you have what it takes to win your eventing endeavors! Go Solo! :)

  9. I tend to do this to myself more so than my horse...I have a headache...wait...I'm dizzy too...oh no, is my vision blurring just a little...I think this is something serious...LOL. Ridiculousness! I think it sounds like your horse is fit and maybe is testing you to see how serious you are about pushing him along. Be sure to stay firm and confident as you navigate the waters :)

  10. You have officially won the caption contest at The Literary Horse! (And we figured out a prize - slightly less lame than gently used riding gloves, and slightly more lame than say, a new truck.)

    You can email me at for delivery method of preference. (any mailing address in US, or if being understandably careful, sent to you electronically via attachment)

    I laughed my way through this post. I can break my ribs and not bother to go to the hospital, but if any of my "guys" act differently, or - egads - there is something visible like a bug bite, THEY ARE GOING TO DIE from a wildly improbable cause. I call myself a horse hypochondriac. ;)

    Problem is, being an HH also helps you catch some very real things from time to time. Good mom or HH? Go with Good Mom.

  11. Congrats on the contest win! I found you through Jane's blog and I have to say, I'm loving my first visit. You might just be as fun to read as Jane is (don't tell her I said so! ;) )

  12. Also forgot to mention: I firmly believe this is Solo's TB side coming out! :-) Not a bad thing!

  13. Just make sure he's not being 'brass' or getting this change in attitude for something like a pain/physical or overwhelmed/overworked reaction. Not that I think it is, but that can happen too, if they are sore. But, there's a difference in an unhappy horse and a confident one!! Otherwise, sounds like a pretty confident horse to me! :)

  14. new follower :)

    i'm going through the same thing with my gelding, he is usually such a dead head and the past two days he has been HOT. the fitness all seems to kick in at once.

    go Solo

  15. Whew, sorry, I have been gone for two days for work. Jen -- I will try to address your photo needs more promptly. I am going to do my damndest to drag, uh, invite, some poor friend to our horse trial next weekend to take pictures!

    OMG I WON SOMETHING! I never win anything!! Thanks, TLH, I will be "visiting" you shortly!

    Thank you all visitors for you fun comments, I've had lots of giggles on these and am glad I am not the only one who is convinced that my horse is going to die every time he looks sleepy in his stall!

    And Em, you make a good point and it is something I am still watching closely -- pain can change attitudes quickly and it's definitely something we always need to stay on top of!

  16. Congrats on the prize! I need to go see what clever thing you said to win your glorious not quite a new truck prize.

  17. I've been going through the same thing with the pony I've been working with the last 9 months. When I first started riding him, he was pretty timid and unsure, but after our first show I noticed a big change in his personality; he was strutting around the arena without a fuss like 'no prob mom' and my trainer said something about horses gaining confidence in themselves after accomplishing things like shows etc. (not to mention, yes, fitness!) We finally took him out to school cross country this week and he was so brave, and I introduced him to a bank which he'd never done before. And he was like 'wha wha wha... oh jump... OMG FUN!!!!" and then he was cracking everybody up because he was prancing around like hot stuff and boldly coming up to every obstacle (he especially loves banks) and giving a toss of his head for victory (which I know is probably a bad habit but I don't mind so much if they're behaving themselves just enjoying their success over a new or difficult obstacle!)

    So yeah, seeing your horse gain confidence in himself is always really fun :)

  18. Thanks for joining us, Lyndz, I hope we can entertain!! :-)