Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wednesdays with Tex: The Back 40

There is a large pasture at the very back of our property, behind the dressage court, that we refer to as "the back 40."  We don't use it a whole lot because it is a long walk back there and because the fencing isn't the greatest.  In fact, it is quite low in a few spots -- so low that Flash, arthritis and all, jumped out a few years ago when he was up there alone.  So, we never put a horse up there without a buddy and only for a few hours at a time, when we are home to supervise.

Sunday, after Lucy and Pistol had their turn up there, we brought Tex and Flash up to spend a few hours grazing under the oaks.  Jackson didn't get a turn -- the ground is muddy in that pasture and Jackson needs to stay on dry ground.  I did let him out to graze around the barn, where its dry.

On the way up to the pasture, both Tex and Flash were excited.  Tex walked fast and, as we rounded the corner to walk past the dressage court, he started licking his lips.  Man, that grass looks good. Tex was also leaning into me, the way a young horse will, for security.  I asked him to knock it off, to walk like a man grown up gelding.

Once in the pasture, Flash immediately dropped his nose and started grazing.

Tex felt the need to run around a bit.  I just love his flowing mane and burnished chestnut coat -- even when he's dirty and shedding.

Tex approaches life with gusto; whether he's eating, or rolling, or playing, or grazing.

A few hours later, we trudged up to the Back 40 to bring them back to their regular pasture.  Flash stood by the gate while Brett slipped on his halter.  Tex stood a few feet away from me, thinking about leaving.  Long time readers may remember that, in past years, it has taken upwards of an hour to catch Tex in the Back 40.  Tex remembered, too.

Brett looked at me.

"You can go ahead and leave," I said.  "You're tired and I can deal with this boy."  Brett nodded and opened the gate.  Tex watched them go, with his head high.  Then he looked at me.  Then back at Flash's quickly retreating butt.

I didn't move.

After a few minutes, he dropped his head and walked to me.  I gave him a cookie and then scratched him on the withers and on his back.  Goodness, you're shedding. The halter and lead rope remained hanging on my shoulder.

Then I walked away; away from Tex and away from the gate.  I turned to face him, and called him to me using our signal from liberty work.  He came right over.  Again, a cookie and a back rub.  Eventually, I took the halter from my shoulder, undid the buckle, and stood holding the buckle strap at the top of his neck with the nose just below his.  In less than a minute, he dropped his nose into the halter and I buckled it.

Then we walked calmly down to the barn where I gave him a good grooming before turning him back out in his pasture with Flash.

Another milestone for my big red horse.

12 comments:

  1. It sounds like he's smart. He had a couple choices when he saw his buddy leave--one would be to freak out and start running around the back 40. Another, would be to join up with you so he could get back--which takes thinking two steps ahead of the game. I'm impressed. He has, indeed, come a LONG way.

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    1. I think one of the reasons I enjoy working with him so much is that he is very smart. In the past, he's freaked out before thinking. He's learning to think first -- like you said.

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    2. The relationship you've built with him must allow a moment of pause--a trust pause--which allows him to flip the switch to his thinking side. That has to be very satisfying for you to witness. It affirms your instincts.

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  2. Well done! Your work with him is inspirational.

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    1. It amazes me, really. I followed my intuition and it worked.

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  3. Oh I am so proud of you both! The pastures gorgeous!
    p.s. I didn't know horses liked their lips 😀

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    1. Ah, yes, they do. They are quite the individuals.

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  4. This is really impressive. Tex is a sweet boy and so smart. He's learning to think things through like you and Linda said. Way to go Tex! All your patience and calm work with him has paid off.

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  5. I love his grazing posture, like a foal, with his leg cocked, "Legs too long, grass too good!"

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  6. An American in TokyoApril 6, 2017 at 1:20 AM

    Yay! Tex sounds very, very smart!
    I think he was thinking of all the options in his head before deciding to go to you. Good boy, Tex! =D

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  7. Your grass is GREEN... what's that about?
    signed,
    dead brown pasture recently revealed by rapid snow melt

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    1. We get all our rain in the winter and early spring -- and just a little bit of snow that doesn't stick around form more than a day or two -- so we are greenest this time of year. By June, we are typically brown and stay that way until November. So, I'll be asking you the same question in a few months...

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Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.