I decided to go ahead and scratch O from the drive fest that was going on today in Burnet. Her fat leg is about 70% better than it was, but I didn't want to chance it and risk anything happening. I'm pretty sure all would have been completely fine, as she was never lame, but why risk it? She means more to me than just a silly schooling show. Not to mention the fact that Sunrise Ridge is now *gulp* just two weeks away. Where did winter go!?
O seems to be out of heat now, although it's not clear if P is (admittedly I can never really tell when she's in anyway). Unfortunately this blazing flare of hormones has triggered Dylan to start up his favorite vice again - fencewalking. If you remember, when he arrived he was literally the worst fencewalker I have EVER met - and I've met some real addicts. I actually had the fencewalking completely cut down to nothing for the last several months, aside from the occasional prancing and screaming that went on when the neighbor's stallion was turned out in their arena across the road. I had taken away most of the little barricades that I had put up against the fence to stop his walking. I thought we were doing very well.
And then the mares came into heat, and not surprisingly he lost his mind a little bit. He was right back to stalking the fence. I certainly can't blame him, it's just in his nature to be worried about them when their hormones are raging, but still. It's very hard to keep weight on a walking horse, and it's also very hard on my fencelines.
So, we created what I like to call Battleground Fencewalker.
You can see where he was just walking around the barricades and ignoring them. I change up the pattern a bit every time I see him making a habit out of one certain path, so that he has to alter his course again. As long as the mares are standing around just eating or hanging out, he is content to just eat and hang out himself. But if they are running around, or go up the hill, or do anything that he hasn't approved of - he's not happy about it. He's that Stage 5 Clinger boyfriend who gets all freaked out when his women make a decision without him.
Vices like this are annoying and super hard to break. If you have a confirmed one that comes to your place, you're already on the losing side - it's so much easier to prevent habits from ever starting in the first place. You can get them to stop, if all the cards are in order, but if one card slips back out of the deck they can start up all over again. It's like the default back to their chosen drug. Or, if you prevent one habit from happening but don't change any of the environmental reasons why it might be happening - like putting a cribbing collar on a cribber but still leaving it in it's stall all the time and not giving it adequate forage, time outside, etc - then it might manifest itself into new vices, like weaving or walking or whatever. Putting Dylan out 24/7 with forage, and having Zuul there to keep him company.... that really helped him. Really, REALLY helped! But, I can't change springtime hormones... I just have to work with what I have. Thankfully, nobody else on my property has any vices whatsoever.
Does your horse have a vice that you just can't stand? What is it? And how to you go about preventing or helping it?