This evening, I started mucking the mares' pasture while Brett went up to the top pasture to bring Flash and Mufasa back down to their pasture. He does this almost every day. About the time I finish mucking, Brett usually shows up with the hay cart. Lucy was pacing impatiently while I finished up and dumped the contents of the cart into the compost bin that Brett finished the other day.
I could see Flash in his pasture, but no Brett or Mufasa. I started walking up towards the back pasture and soon saw Brett standing with the halter, and Mufasa running. Not good.
Brett was frustrated. He had been trying to catch Mufasa for a good 20 minutes. He was tired and not happy about the setback. Mufasa was running like a deer -- the bounding, not breathing running that indicates fear. But fear of what? Brett said Mufasa had met him at the gate, as usual, but as Brett started to slip on the halter Mufasa ducked and ran off. Now Mufasa was in full panic mode.
I took the halter from Brett and walked toward Mufasa. Brett walked over to the gate and watched. Mufasa eyed me warily and then took off. As his butt passed me, I swung the rope. He stopped, turned and faced me -- but wouldn't let me get close. He was clearly worried. His shoulder twitched nervously. I stopped outside his bubble and talked to him, breathing slowly and calmly. He looked at me intently, tried to stay, but couldn't do it.
The interesting thing was that he ran to Brett. Twice. Brett didn't have the halter so he just stood and stroked Mufasa's neck and back; telling him it was okay. The second time, Mufasa stayed while I approached. I talked to him, praising him for being brave and staying, before slipping on the halter. Brett led him down to his pasture, where hay and Flash waited, with no drama whatsoever.
Mufasa is an interesting nut to crack. He clearly thought he was in trouble or danger or both. Poor boy.