I have long suspected that Xena is not the sharpest crayon in the color box. This winter I dubbed her Xena, Warrior Cheerleader. She’s pretty and she has the moves to thrill you, but those are bubbles erupting in the space between her ears, not gears grinding.

Now I admit that either the not-smartness is compounded by an attention disorder or the disorder is the problem. She operates under the mistaken assumption that her congenital, and complete, absence of focus (aka, airheadedness) is equivalent to an inherent ability to multitask. Not so much, darlin’.

When she gets to focusing on something else (often) while I’m trying to train her, she understands only a fraction of what I just asked of her, and then rapid-fires a few random responses that kind of resemble something she did to make me happy at some point in the past two years. I can hear her thinking the equine version of “whatever, biyatch.”

It’s really painful when the training session is specifically to address focus-on-Pam issues. My pain is both mental and physical. I have to say “Gooood giiiirrrl!” — a lot — to get through to her. I really want to say “Diiip waaad” — a lot.

Then, too, when she gets frustrated/distressed/crabby/etc., she responds by throwing her body around. Not so swell for me when we are attached by any physical means such as a rope or, worse, my backside in the saddle on her back. She is, after all, the cheerleader with the hot, snappy moves. And she weighs about 1,400 pounds.

So today, the challenge was to get her more focused on me — I do so love to be the center of the universe — while working in the pasture. When I got tired of the physical effort of keeping her obedient on the end of the rope … I let go. We were out on 25 acres. I know it sounds crazy, but what was I going to do? Out pull her? Wrestle her to the ground and torture her with a round of “typewriter” on her chest?

That said, in case you haven’t had the experience of training a loose horse in a large pasture, it’s really really really hard for the average two-legged human, or the more-out-of-shape-than-average two-legged human such as myself, to keep a horse moving, preferably running, until said human decides the horse has learned that it’s better to stay attached to said human in a manner which could be deemed polite. Dare we hope for obedient?

I am totally, freakin’ exhausted. At the low point, I was calling Xena every curse word I could summon when she went all the way to the top of the tallest hill at the far corner of the fence line, acting like the last of the 10,000, with me feeling bad for her as I hiked myself along to the top of the hill too. Then, when I called her to me, she (instead) spun, farted, and bolted all the way back down the hill and across the pasture to stand along the fence by her buddies who were corralled behind the shop.

Me, without any firearms handy. No oxygen either. I was not feeling so kindly toward the Xena horse at that moment. Luckily, it took me long enough to get back down there that my “good girl” feature was back in order when needed.

Well, obviously, I lived to tell the tale. And I can report that Xe lived to fart another day. I can also say that I believe I won this round, but a rematch of wits is scheduled for tomorrow because I’m quite certain she hasn’t fully grasp the magnitude of my adamance about the lesson.

I’m already dreading the exercise at: pam@viewfromthenorth40.com

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