Thursday, March 18, 2010

Commander gets jealous

Jealous of Ben, that is. Jealous of Ben being ridden, and he himself not.

Which is amusing, since Commander has a lazy streak and will cheerfully suck out of a diligent effort if you let him get away with it. But then, once he determines you aren't taking "nuh-uh" for an answer, he'll work as hard as you ask him to, and not complain. So I suspect the tests of his rider's intent are more a game for him than a real disinclination to earn his easy keep.

But jealousy, how did he reveal that side of his increasingly intriguing personality? Because Ben's pet teenager, Rebecca, has come to visit the boys over the last two days. She's groomed them both and fussed over them both, but only ridden Ben each time.

And Commander has not been pleased. After all, hadn't he joined Ben in greeting Rebecca enthusiastically? Hadn't he revelled in her industrious grooming of the mud crusted on his coat, in her scrubbing away at the itchy fur he's shedding? Why, then, oh, why wouldn't she ride him too? He could see Ben being tacked up, right in front of him, since Rebecca did that outside in the run-in; he could see them working in the ring next to the run-in; he was right there when Rebecca brought the big lug back and untacked him and made a fuss over him.

Why did she then ignore him? Why wasn't it his turn then? It wasn't fair!

No, really, Rebecca told me that both days, after she was done with Ben, Commander stood right at the gate, facing out, waiting for his turn to go to work. It couldn't have been plainer what he was thinking if he'd been wearing a neon sign flashing "What about me?!?" Today I got to the barn just as Rebecca was leaving, and I can attest that Commander was still waiting with muted indignation. I grabbed his bridle, a saddle pad, a helmet, and the crop (I never have to use it but it's an effective visual aid with this guy), trotted down to the paddock, and sure enough, there stood Commander at the gate, still waiting to take his due turn at serving the humans. Unlike previous times when I've come to ride him, this time he stood still for bridling instead of pulling his initial slow-motion duck-away. I swear, he seemed relieved that someone, finally, was going to do right by him.

He stood politely while I flicked the saddle pad over his back and hopped aboard from the mounting rock (I'm getting better at it; getting into the neighborhood of graceful, even). We had an enjoyable little putter around the ring and he moved right out, the most forward he's been since I started barebacking him over the last few weeks. Maybe he was determined to show the world (or at least any handy human) that he deserves every bit as much attention as Ben.

This jealousy thing could be quite useful, I suspect.

This guy is a hoot, and gets hootier every day.

No comments: