Occasionally she would be a real pill. For one, she disliked men. She disliked most people in fact, but would come to me whenever I called. She would let 3 people ride her - Me, Dona, and Jim. Everyone else would just be pushing their luck. She'd fight in the cross ties for no good reason, pulling like hell until either a rope broke, the halter broke, or I calmed her down. There was never really a reason. Even though I always made an excuse, or picked some tiny insignificant thing to blame her actions on - a sudden stiff breeze, a bird swooping too closely, one of the horses nickered at just that moment.... but the truth is that's just how she rolled.
She was impossible to give shots to. I could medicate or vaccinate every one of the other horses, but Lady. I had to have a pro do her.
The last time she got shots from the vet, we had to put her in makeshift stocks, tie her head to a post with a lariat, and blindfold her - and she still fought.
The next time, I just got some sedatives and doped her a little before the vaccinations. That helped a little, but even with meds in her, I suspected that she would pull some giant pain in the rear trick, so I made sure that the first shots were the most important ones. Smart move on my part. I only got in 2. She would have had to have been knocked out cold to get the rest of them in her. She fought like hell for what I did give her, even with sedation.
But, we carried on. We needed to train more, I thought. We needed more time to work. We just needed ... more. More what? More training? No, that we'd beaten to death. We couldn't move forward with different stuff because she wouldn't do ANYthing on the haunches.
Some she would do on the ground for me, but she still fought like a devil with the other horses. Her picking on them went beyond basic herd heirarchy. She would get bored, and start baiting the other horses to get close so she could give them both barrels. She would stand in such a way that the only way for any of them to get past her was to go past her rear end, and she would kick them as they passed or try to. This was not new. But it was starting to wear on me. She hadn't threatened a person - yet but she started picking on Velvet especially. Anyone who thinks horses don't get jealous, needed to see her. If I rode Velvet more than her, she would beat up on Velvet more. When she got this way, I would separate her from the other horses, and within a few days, she'd be the most mellow thing in the paddock.
That was how I could calm her down easiest. Just keep her alone.
That's how I finally got my final clue. The one that was staring me in the face the entire time I had her. The clue that had been flashing at me in neon, screaming at me from the depths. The one I was trying so desperately to ignore. The one I kept wishing would just go away. But, like all things that are so blatantly obvious , it is not to be ignored forever. To ignore this one is to ignore not only the nature of Lady, but to ignore what my ultimate goals are with horses. The time is drawing near for me to choose. On one hand, I could choose the dreams I've had since I was a little girl - to raise and train horses, to teach people how to ride, and to trail ride often, maybe even compete in reining, or cutting one day. On the other hand, I could keep spending hours on top of hours beating my head against the proverbial wall trying to change a force of nature that clearly was not intended to be around beginners or children - which is just polar opposite of what I want to do. There is no middle ground. Whenever it comes around, it's going to hurt like hell. Life long dreams that have haunted my subconscious for years or an unpredictable, and often dangerous horse, whom, in spite of all her faults, still has my heart braided into her mane. Just thinking about the choice makes my soul ache. But the time was drawing nearer, and like an out of control freight train, I was totally powerless to stop it, or even slow it down.