Monday, September 04, 2006

I just went out in the dark to make sure everyone was getting along. I made some herd changes at dusk, which I normally don't like to do, but with this sedate bunch I figured it was no big deal. I put Lyric and Soxy, the fatties, together, and moved skinny Coda in with the rather trim Danni and the growing but not thin Tonka. Danni and Coda haven't been together before, but know each other over the fence and seem to like each other. And Tonka and Coda have been together, but now that Tonka has had two mares for a while I wanted to be sure he wasn't beating on poor old Coda. Herd politics, ya know.

All is well. I think Tonka has been ostracized by the other two. I went out and kissed at them and announced my presence, and Tonka came in from the pasture to say hello almost immediately. What a nice boy. So I scratched and petted him for a bit. Then I imagined getting on, so I pretended I was putting my foot in a stirrup. Boy did he think I was going to kick him or something! He scooted away and came to a stop, then let me do it again and pet his ribs and shoulder with my toe. Then I did it on the other side, the "correct" side. So now he thinks it's just another weird thing people do. I put my hand on his wither and back and hopped up and down and he wasn't at all bothered.

It's really weird, getting used to a new horse. I just thought of it because of how much Tonka and the others do for me with no halter. But Danni, who has been handled in a more conventional way (tied when saddled, etc), and I should point out she is very well trained, is having a hard time understanding that she's expected to stand still when I'm saddling or grooming her. I could tie her, but why? I saddle her in an enclosed area, so I should just be able to saddle her. She really is starting to get the idea, and it's amazing how they can learn to do things "my way" without formal "training." All I do when they wander off is place them back where we started and continue on with what we were doing. And all new horses get it, after a while. Although I must admit that Soxy wandered off with the saddle pad when I started to saddle her the other day. We ride her so much bareback I think she was saying she prefers not to wear a saddle. But to pony Tonka I needed it. Really though, having a new horse is an eye-opener. I'm so comfortable with my bunch I forget they aren't all that wonderful. Coda is a good example. I let him out, completely loose, no halter, to eat his beet pulp, then went to take a shower. He did wander a few feet to eat some grass when he was done, and Lyric was hollering that his friend was not where he was supposed to be. So I went out and wrapped my arm under his jaw, took him to the tape gate, opened it and sent him through. Awesome good horses.

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