Saturday, January 5, 2008

Good as Gold, Sometimes

Siete is up to some new tricks. If my husband leads her out of her stall to the pasture, she squeals and flops around like a fish on the end of a line. Going in with him, she tries to race into her stall and attack her food.

When I am alone, I have a set routine to put the horses into the pasture each morning. I close Siete into her stall and lead Silk out first. There’s no gate directly from the corral to the pasture, so I open the corral gate, and we walk about twenty five feet out in the yard to the pasture gate. Then, once Silk is safe inside, I go back and get her daughter. Siete usually waits patiently and walks calmly with me.

It cuts down the amount of time this all takes when my husband is around to help. I also encourage him to handle the horses as much as possible. If I’m away, he’s in charge, and I want him to feel comfortable since he’s new to all this horsey stuff.

Siete is my husband’s girlfriend. He’s crazy about her. His interest in horses bloomed when she was born. The feeling is mutual. She lights up when she sees him and is very jealous if he pays attention to anyone else, horse or human.

I’ve been disturbed by her wild behavior with him. He’s handled it well. He’s not the least bit afraid of the horses. When she starts to act up, he does what I would do, making her wait and back up before he leads her through the gate. He won’t let her rush to her food bucket in the stall, but it’s escalating instead of calming down. I was very curious to see what would happen when he went out of town and I was on my own with the horses this week.

Siete has been good as gold with me. There’s no funny business at all. I’m wondering why. I recalled that when we had to shoot a big syringe full of antibiotics down her throat during her bout with Lyme Disease, she fought like crazy if my husband tried to help me. It was only when Siete and I were alone that I was able to get her to willingly let me dose her. I took it as a sign that she was learning to trust me. Perhaps that’s why she lets me lead her around without acting like a mischievous teen-ager. On the one hand, it makes me feel good that she sees me as the leader. At the same time, I want her to be safe for anyone to handle, especially my husband and my daughter.

When he returns, I intend to work with my husband and my little horse to make it all mellow again. She tends to take direction from me better than he does, so I’ll have to go slow and not put too much pressure on either of them. In the meanwhile, with all these dramatic changes in temperature - from sub-zero to nearly 50 degrees almost overnight - I have to admit I’m appreciating that Siete is being good as gold.


Transylvanian horseman said...

Maybe your husband could lead her with a bridle on? That would give him more control, and might earn him more respect from the mare.

Victoria Cummings said...

That's a good idea. I think she's just testing him. They say that every day, in a herd, the horses challenge each other to see who the leader is. I try to keep the order in our herd as me, Silk and then, Siete. So, it's normal that when we add someone new, she's going to challenge him. I was also thinking about getting a rope halter for her.

Ewa said...

Dear Victoria,
That temperature changes are really crazy. Here it was very cold last few days, today it is raining.
Thank you for wishes and Happy Blogging and Horsing 2008 :)

Arlene said...

Siete sounds like she is posing a multiple choice question:
A) Am I just testing to see who is
boss,I'm in the 3 position not
B) Am I looking for attention, even
if it's negative
C) None of the above, nobody really
knows what I want, least of all
me! It's cold, I want grass and
I am bored with winter. So this
seems like a fun game when I can
get away with it.

I'm sure this is just a temporary situation, this behavior will most likely disappear as quickly as it appeared.

Diane said...

Victoria, what a lovely blog -- full of a beautifully healthy spirit. I'll bet Siete would be a great candidate for clicker training. It's amazing how horses take to it!

So glad to have found your blog.

Sand to Glass
Dogs Naturally

Victoria Cummings said...

Arlene - I think Siete would answer yes to all three! She's just all charged up with nowhere to go right now.
Diane - Hello, and yes, I think I have a clicker in an drawer in my tack room. It would be a good way to occupy both me and my little horse right now. Thanks!

Strawberry Lane said...

Sounds like she is a daddy's girl. Tricky little one.

Now, when mom comes along it's all business.

Good idea to work with both of them. Good luck with the ... husband. :-)

But then, maybe he is not like the man in my house, who has no excuse as he's been riding much longer than I have. But he sure pampers our boys.

Knowing you, the problem will be solved quickly.