I'd be interested in others opinions on this.
I believe we all have a default mode, and I include horses in this. When stressed,tired or confused, some switch flicks and we go into a default setting.
For me, it's wandering off. Too much alcohol produces the same effect strangely ;-)
Just right now, (pretty stressful times at home) I have this huge desire to go wandering.
So it's just as well it's only a week till Labour weekend and the first big trek for the season, for me.
3 days away, and dare I say, I am looking forward to it!
Hopefully that will take care of my desire to go wandering off.
Chief slips into his Feral state (default setting) at regular intervals. Like a real wild animal, he accepts what his life is but there is always that moment where some real basic instincts override.
He happily accepts all my dogs around him when he is with me or working in the yards, but when loose in his paddock and Charlie brings his home from work, he is like some savage beast from hell, fending off a killer animal. Fronts legs flying, teeth barred, he does his best to keep them off his territory.
He occasionally gets defensive still when confused or just fed up with what I am trying to do with him.
This afternoon I had a lightbulb moment. They happen every now and then. We have struggled on with long reining him and none of it's pleasant. He just isn't settling to it, no matter how much we keep at it.
What's the point in long reining? For me it's to make sure the brakes work and we have left and right turns established in a safe fashion, before riding takes place.
But at what point do you say enough? If it just isn't working, you've had help, asked others for advice (one person told me to give up on him as he's too old) and it still isn't happening.
So part way through a long reining session, I stopped, attached a pair of normal reins to the bridle and worked him more in hand.
He likes to be close so it was worth trying. Well hello!! what a difference. And while it's different to what we know to do, I can't see that it will make too many problems.
And thinking back to my own default setting, I am now wondering if that's anything to do with the sleepwalking I did as a young child.
I love how horse's make me think.