The Joys of Owning a Smart Horse

I have ridden/trained/dealt with MANY fairly dumb horses in the 20+ years I have been riding. And I love dumb horses. These horses took patience and repetition to truly teach them concepts, but once learned, those lessons were set in stone. Teach a dumb horse to ground tie, and it could be scared out of its wits and wouldn’t move an inch.

Now, I do not own a dumb horse. I own a very smart mare. I didn’t really think horses could deeply reason or scheme or really PLAN until I met this mare. A mare that could learn the rules, and learn when she can break them. Case and point.

This weekend, my sister and dad were in town. My sister and I decided to take a quick trip to the barn to pet May/feed her cookies/ pick her feet. Almost the whole barn was at one of the last horse trials of the year, so I knew things would be fairly quiet.

We showed up to the barn, and we walked towards my trunk to grab some treats and a hoof pick.

What did we see? This face… looking rather put out at being caught in what is (definitely) not her stall. Fully in the stall. No food in there. No chain up. Just hanging out.

Notice – she picks the stall with pretty ribbons on it.

My sister, who has spent a lot of time around horses as a kid, immediately starts looking around for a halter. “Don’t worry about it,” I tell her. “She knows where she’s supposed to be.”

My horse loves me… right? LOL

So we start walking towards her stall and… she comes with us. Face full of all her opinions about it.

I opened the chain to her stall. The chain is still up. She doesn’t do this with brute force. She weasels her way under the chain…. and only when the barn is empty for a significant amount of time. Maybe she has figured out my trainer’s normal schedule and knows when things are “off”. I have no idea.

Either way, she was quite put off when we closed and secured her lower door. She even gave my sisters a snort when she told her to “be good”. This mare…

So… anyone have any recommendations for a stall guard? Doesn’t need to hold up to a horse leaning on it. Just needs to keep her from going under it.

Also – a friend of a barn friend is coming out tomorrow to give May a try. She just sold her horse and moved to the area, so she is looking for something to ride without taking on full horse ownership. Fingers crossed!


36 thoughts on “The Joys of Owning a Smart Horse

  1. Here is what I sent you on facebook (thank you wordpress for finally letting me log in

    She is so smart May is. I guess I should be glad Tate is so so so stupid. SO STUPID. Remus is like a C student. Not dumb but not Einstein HA HA HA


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah’s mare Rapid is so similar. And she has destroyed every stall guard! She found an extra long one though, and that helps. It is the mesh kind, not just a bar. There are also these cool metal stall guards I have seen at shows. They seem a bit sturdier…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. OMG May! I mean, at least she’s not a naughty smart – she’s all chill about her “out of stall experiences” haha and certainly not a “let’s run away” type of horse haha. That’s why I’ve never gotten a stall guard for Amber – she knows that if something moves, generally she can push it hard enough to break and get out. And she’s super methodical about how much weight she puts on it and where. I watched her do it once and WOW I was relatively in awe of her smarts haha. And I’m certainly keeping my fingers crossed for a new potential lease on May!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The hilarious part is that she never breaks anything. She just squishes her body under the whole thing. Oh mares. So smart… and so great when they use their powers for good and not evil.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. omg Amber! hahaha I am not sure May is ever that motivated to do anything. She is mostly quite happy with her life. Just would (apparently) like a stall in the main aisle. (even though her view is better out of her current stall)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do think she really likes the activity. I guess she can see the rings from the other stall, so that is interesting? She’s definitely the kind of horse that appreciates stimulation, instead of one that gets overwhelmed by it.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. OMG yes! Doc did this at camp – managed to leave it up and it was connected to baling twine on either side so I know it would have busted at any pressure. He just turned himself out to graze while we grabbed dinner. I swear, horses!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There was a Halflinger at the barn I worked at in high school that managed to contort himself under a long rubber stall guard that had high and low clips. I don’t remember how far I’d gone, but I wasn’t out of the aisle more than a minute or two and when I came back he was at the opposite end just looking as innocent as could be (granted, it was winter – they’d been stuck inside a couple days, but thankfully all the barn doors were closed). I know one of the other Halflingers managed to do the same thing at some point, but I can’t say they ever went and chilled in another stall haha! Hope that the rider situation pans out in favor of everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh gosh. I hope that the larger stall guard works! We can close the bottom half of her door, which is fine in winter, but I really like her getting the air flow into her stall of just a stall guard in the summer. Fingers crossed that she doesnt just get MORE creative πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Haha may! Rasty has learnt to unlock the bolt on his stall… and then he opens up all his friends stalls too!! He has also snuck under the rubber stall guards at shows… I now have a mesh one that (so far) keeps him in!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t give her ideas! I could totally see her choosing to open a door and take herself for a walk. Luckily, the feed room is always closed and secured with something that requires thumbs to open.

      Liked by 1 person

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