Well, Ezhno’s lease didn’t end up working out. 🙁
The day after my not so great ride LeaserS came out and had a pretty abysmal day with Ezhno. He got rambunctious on the lunge and she lost her grip on him, then she went to put him away and he tried to nip her/run her over on the way back to his stall (naughty pony!). She felt like he wasn’t the same horse as he was when she started leasing him and she made the decision not to continue with him.
It’s been more than a week since she let me know and my feelings about the whole situation are still jumbled. On one hand I know from experience that once a horse strikes a chord of fear in you it’s very hard to come back from that. But on the other hand, I feel so disappointed. I offered to come out the next day and help her after he’d had a day off to gather his wits, but she just wasn’t comfortable with him anymore.
It felt like Ezhno and I had failed a test we didn’t know we were taking.
I think LeaserS and I both had different expectations. I warned her that Ezhno needed a very firm hand, but I wonder if I should have been more dramatic in my descriptions. I knew there would be an adjustment period and that she would need a lot of coaching to learn how to be confident when handling him. She seemed excited, but I don’t think I accurately conveyed just how steep the learning curve would be.
I bought Ezhno from a family that was selling him because he intimidated his young rider, but it’s different to experience that capacity in person. In the time that I’ve owned him, I feel like I’ve only ever been truly afraid of him right after he was coming off of stall rest—and I just had to trust that after a couple of weeks of lunging/trainer rides he was going to be back to the old Ezhno. It takes a long time to find that trust in a relationship, and it makes me sad that I won’t get to see him develop that with another person.
I keep wondering if there was something I could have done to prevent things from reaching a breaking point. She’d told me a few days earlier that he’d been testing her under saddle, but I must not have fully understood because it felt like her final text came out of nowhere. If I’d been at the barn when she came to ride on Sunday, could I have diffused the situation? So many “what if” moments.
I’m not sure what my plans for Ezhno are now. Do I try to find him a more experienced leaser? Should I move him to a cheaper facility with trail access? Is it worth it to continue with his western/performance training? Or should we spend some time exploring dressage?
The Universe’s plan for us looks murky… but I’m sure we’ll sort it all out eventually. 🙂