Wednesday, June 22, 2011

When you have to win all the battles or lose the war

Snoopy is who he is. Tina likes to blame his blundering, boundary-less, intrusive, mouthy personality on me, but I think he would have been that horse no matter who raised him. After all, when he was a baby, our groom Hilde worked with him as much, if not more, than I ever did.

I love my big, black horse AND he is a pain in the ass. After six years, I've decided he can't help himself. He wants something in his mouth all the time. All. The. Time. Truly, if he were human, he'd be a chain smoker. Or maybe that guy who's always chewing gum.

So as I'm leading him, he wants to hold the lead rope in his mouth. Or the longe line. Or the reins. Or my shirt. I smack him and he stops - for five seconds. Sometimes less. I always start out being nice. I take the lead rope away from him. Next, I take the lead rope and tug him sharply. We escalate from there, until I'm either popping his nose with the rope or smacking him across the chest and backing him up across the yard.

None of it matters. He doesn't remember, and it wears me down.

For a long time, I let him hold the lead rope in his mouth when we walked. I thought it was a harmless way to keep from beating him every five seconds. It's like having a kid that tests you EVERY (FREAKING) SECOND OF EVERY (FREAKING) DAY. You start picking your battles.

This, unfortunately, was a battle I should have picked.

A few weeks ago, I was taking him back to his stall and stopped to talk to a friend. We were chatting about nothing in particular, blah, blah, blah. And then it happened. Snoopy reached down to grab the lead rope. Except he missed the rope and got my index finger.

Let's say it all together: "OOOOOOOWWWWWWWW."

There was no broken skin, nor broken bones. There was a lot of spanking, and cursing.

Here's the thing - it's been weeks and I still don't have all the feeling back in my finger. It was my own fault for 1) not paying attention while I was chatting, and 2) ever letting him hold the lead rope.

I hate being a mean mom. I have to choose ALL the battles. Do you think he'll ever grow out of his oral fixation?

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