Jess is an older, dark brown Quarter Horse gelding whom is lacking in the handsome department. However, he has proven to be quite worthy on the trail and in the arena, this mellow fellow just knows his job!
On Sunday, Ranch Boy and I walked My Boy and Luna over to the ranch, as I planned to ride My Boy on a trail ride. I didn't want to leave Luna alone at home because the 35 ranch horses, which normally neighbor our pasture, were also at the ranch, meaning Miss Luna would have no horses in sight! Eventually I will have Ranch Boy take MB down the road and I will stay home and watch Luna to make sure she doesn't panic and get through the fence or something.
I put My Boy in the corral next to the colt Howdy, then Luna in a panel pen next to My Boy. It was full of grass and weeds and she did a good job "weed eating" it for me!
A few hours later I took My Boy out to get ready for our ride. Luna looked concerned for a moment as we walked away, but was then fine and didn't even whinny. She could see plenty of other horses in the corral to the left of her, so that was good.
My Boy was great while I tacked him up. The Arab/Appy/TB gelding next to him on the hitch rail was anxiously fussing the whole time, swinging his hiney into My Boy, and MB just stood there without a care in the world. It is one thing he is pretty 100% perfect for (being tied, groomed, and tacked up.) I thought it was going to be a great ride.
But it wasn't. We rode in the middle of a large group or horses, and behind a pony mare that he knows and has been ridden with before, but perhaps was a little "too interested" in. He shook his head and pranced every time the mare got too far ahead of him on the trail. Generally, it was not a pleasurable ride, but none of the behaviors were anything that I haven't seen from him from time to time on the trail, nor were they unmanageable. I would have liked to school him more on the trail but with the nature of the ride (it was all younger children) I could not do that. But when we got home.....let's just say while the other 19 horses were being un-tacked and put away, My Boy got put on the longe line and got his hiney worked! That is part of the problem. He is over-fed and under-worked right now. The horse gets fat on air, I swear! He is carrying too much weight (you can see how soft he is on the hiney in the above photo, even though he is resting a leg.)
Another issue is the head-shake, or as Ranch Boy calls it, his "tic." It started several years ago and seems to be worse in the spring. He is easily irritated by flies, but it isn't always flies. It almost seems like a nervous system issue...perhaps a photo-sensitivity reaction that I have heard horses can get. Maybe he is developing an eye condition. I am not sure. It is a vertical head jerk, a quick nose towards the chest kind of thing. At this point it doesn't interfere with his comfort level, even when being ridden. But it could, down the line.
Secondly, the weight issue is probably not helping his arthritis. He is not any more "off" in the hind than he's been since I've had him, but as he ages, it certainly can't be getting better. I'm going to add MSM to his joint supplement. Sometimes I wonder if his head-jerking isn't a reaction to a bit of pain, too. I'll never know 100% I can just try to keep him comfortable and usable.
I do know that the majority of the time he is a such good boy in so many ways, but at times needs a refresher course in respect. This is true of any horse, whether they are 18 year old like MB, or just 2 years old like Luna!
So that is the update on My Boy. Our weather has changed a bit so I am not sure I will be getting much done with my horses this week....but I am hoping the arena stays safe enough to do some more work!