Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A Ruckus in the Pasture

Tex has been doing great.  Honestly, he's a different horse.

We were outside his pasture the other day, way down by the road, talking about replacing that section of fence.  We were engrossed in our discussion of how to get through the blackberry bushes, and what line to take, when we noticed that Tex had arrived.  He was standing on his side of the fence, close by, watching us.  Fortunately, Brett had a cookie in his pocket (he usually does) so I quickly rewarded him for joining us.

In the pasture, I can walk out to Tex when he is in "his corner" grazing with Flash.  He will leave Flash and follow me, all the way back to the gate.  I don't have treats on me.  He only gets a treat after we get to the gate -- I have them in a bucket outside the pasture.  I can even draw him in while we walk, so he is walking close to me.  How cool is that??? The first time it happened, it was all I could do to keep from jumping up and down, throwing my arms around his big red neck, and covering his mane in kisses.

And then there are the occasional small steps backwards.

One morning, when I took Tex his morning vitamins, the goats were out.  We usually keep them in until after the horses finish their vitamins because the goats looooooove horse vitamins.  Tex doesn't like the goats and will retreat from his bin, leaving the vitamins for the goats.  So, the goats mobbed me and Brett when we went in the gate.  They backed off of Brett and Flash pretty quick, because Flash will bite the goats on their backs if they get too close to his food.  But Tex retreated.  We tried to push away the goats and banged our buckets on their backs.  It didn't phase the goats, but Tex was alarmed and moved further away.

Then, Lucy in the next pasture started pitching a fit because it was taking too long for us to deliver her vitamins.  She began galloping along the pasture fence.  Normally, she canters and bucks and farts -- I don't know that I've ever seen her gallop before.  ...she's pretty fit at the moment and it shows.  Her energy added to Tex's alarm.  Brett headed over to feed the girls so the drama queen behavior would stop.

Meanwhile, I dragged the feed bin out of the pasture and left it on the grass outside the gate.  Then, I went back in with Tex's halter.  I approached him with no problem, but as I was slipping on the halter, a goat approached and he jumped backwards.  He came back to me, but he didn't want anything to do with the halter.  Not with goats around.  No way, uh uh.

I left.  I went to the round pen and picked up Jackson's manure.  I checked on the chicks.  When I went back to the pasture, Tex immediately came to the gate.  I slipped on the halter and led him out, so he could eat his vitamins from his bin in peace.

Even though he initially pulled back from the halter, I'm calling it a win.  He thought about it and when I came back, he was happy to be haltered.  In fact, when he finished his vitamins, he wanted to go on a treasure hunt and was not happy about going back to the pasture.  Normally, I would have loved wandering around with him looking for great grazing spots but I was already late for work.



6 comments:

  1. He's come a long way. How wonderful!

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  2. I agree with you Annette. It was a win. He gets to have the time to reflect and make a decision....not a decision to avoid pain or pressure, it was a positive step towards what he would like to have.
    Well done!!
    Robin

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  3. Goats can be so pesky, can't they, Tex? Good for Tex, he's coming to you.

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  4. An American in TokyoMay 30, 2017 at 4:53 PM

    Oh wow!!!
    It sounds like that workshop paid off in a great way!!!
    Yay, Tex!!!

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  5. Definitely a win. Your patience is paying off

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  6. About a year ago or so, I was thinking a lot about indirect feel -- the pressure we put on our horses as soon as they see us ....from a distance, like you out by the back field. I thought that was the true test of your relationship and I was monitoring Leah's reaction to me as I approached. It tells the whole story. I'm definitely going to increase my use of treats after reading your latest work with Tex. Currently, I'm out. I'm going to get some and put them in various spots and keep them in my pockets to reward that special moment.

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Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.