First thank you to everyone who commented. All day long I received these wonderful comments and they each helped me think about where I am and what I want in my time with horses. This support is beyond wonderful - it's a tremendous gift to me and I appreciate everyone who took time to share thoughts, advice, and empathy! Seriously, I don't know how I'd do this without ya. When I hit the lottery, we're all going to Hawaii.
Today I've been thinking, looking within. I have to examine myself closely and figure out if this is just a problem I'm going to have forever, with every single horse.
I think I can very honestly say no. Lily came to me pretty bratty, and now she has a close to ideal attitude. She requires a reset when she's sat around for a while, but it's a one day deal. She doesn't test her rider. She doesn't try to kick when you pick her hooves any more. She's much better for the farrier. She leads perfectly now - no more pushy behavior. Her only vice - she likes to go fast, and will gather quite a head of steam, is not completely gone, but she needs more riding to fix that. But even that's not a bolt. It's a gallop and it's covered in joy. You can just ride it out and she'll slow down. She just loves to go.
And, more to the point, no matter how much she dislikes the path or circumstance presented to her, she doesn't buck.
So I feel comfortable saying that I'm not creating this behavior - to a point.
OBVIOUSLY I AM missing something with Cibolo, I think it's a level of sternness he requires (beyond the fact that he's not "broke" as TR points out). Somewhere I'm sending him signals that mean to him I'm failing some test. I'll be damned if I can see it, but clearly he can. Sure, I know I need more work as a rider, but seriously, I don't suck that bad.
And when it unravels, I have to get to a level of a neutron bomb (by my measure) to regain his respect. But I apparently have to stay at that the level to keep it.
Carson said it's about consistency and I'd agree. He needs this level consistently. Yet I don't believe every horse does need it at this level. If I acted this way with Lily, she'd spaz out. She is looking for ways to please. TR's Paso Fino is the same way. Get too heavy handed and he gets nerved out.
What I'm wrestling with is whether I want a horse that requires me to be in this space to get in his space. I know any horse will require some of that, but this guy needs a huge attitude. All the time.
And it's a big drag for me. I'll be giving him that attitude for the coming weeks, but the reality is that he's going to need it FOREVER. I agree with Paint Girl. That's just how he is. (Sure, with my new menopause era beginning the bitch is never too far away, I just don't know if it's where I want to be during my horse time.)
Cibolo will be the kind of horse that will test repeatedly. It's been more than a year. I don't think it'll ever stop. I think it's his nature. He checks every rope, every day, hard. It's one thing to give a firm tug on that rope to say, "yes, I'm still in charge." It's another thing to back him up 15 steps, whirl him around, whack him on the but, and fill my spirit with intensity to say "HELL YES I'm still in CHARGE OF YOUR FANNY, you BLEEP."
Hey TR, I disagree with you on one thing - that I've been drawn to color and papers. Remember, I did buy Lily, the most wonderful QH in the entire world - yes, a bum coffin joint, but it's manageable.
Sure, color was a factor with Canyon, to be sure, but I learned that lesson. With Cibolo, it wasn't about looks or papers (I wouldn't know what I was reading anyway). I don't like sorrels much. Yes, he's handsome, but I like paints, and horse with manes. I was drawn to Cibolo because of his low key attitude and his training that was evident from handling him. He does many things very well. He seemed solid for some time. This more troubling aspect of his personality has been limited to certain situations, and they were so surprising, I had no clue they were there. Then I thought I could get his respect and keep it.
(Besides, fellow bloggers, TR has three drop dead gorgeous horses and is the LAST guy who should talk about buying for looks! LOL! Woody, TR's dead broke horse, is a beautiful horse (his pic is in the end of this post), and if there was ever a horse to buy for looks, it's him (I tried, but he beat me to him). But Woody was a jigging mess when TR got him. TR's worked through that issue.)
I don't mind working through issues like jigging, spinning, etc. I have worked through some of Cibolo's spooks, I've got him working like a circus horse in the round pen. He loads better than he did when I bought him. But explosions? Aye vay, as my italian grandmother would say.
Okay. One more thing. Can I tell you that I'm kind of proud for having rode it out, cantered him across and not was not scared?And I appreciate the comments that I might have the training chops to work on this. If I could do it over and over, have him confront that situation repeatedly and ride it out, AND if I could maintain that neutron bomb persona for even 70% of the time it might work.
I just don't know if I can, or want to be that intense, take the time (years - I was really hoping to ride in some environment that would undoubtedly melt him down), and risks involved.
As Mrs Mom says "we don't bounce like we used to."