Thursday, January 31, 2008
Have I told you how good Silk is? She doesn’t get jealous when I pay so much attention to her baby. She is totally calm in 50 mph winds. She walks when Siete leaps and prances. On days when it is safe to run around, Silk exercises herself in circles in the pasture as though she was in a round pen. Then, she herds Siete out and makes her run around the same way. If it’s too icy, she doesn’t let that crazy young horse provoke her into a heel kicking contest. My biggest worry when I bought Silk was that she wouldn’t be affectionate enough. Now, ten years later, she starts murmuring and runs to the fence as soon as she sees me.
Okay, that’s the good horse. Her five-year-old offspring is not so perfect. I realize that in our herd pecking order, I am first, followed by Silk. So, Siete is going to challenge anyone and everyone to rise up in the ranks. My poor husband bears the brunt of her bad behavior. Siete wants to make him low man on the totem pole. With the wild wind yesterday, he really struggled to put her in the pasture. I started to step in to help, but I knew that would only make his position worse.
Before we brought the horses back to the barn to eat, I stopped him and discussed how we could make it a successful activity for Siete. I noticed that it takes him much longer to close the corral gate and lead her into her stall than it takes me. He stops so many times that Siete gets impatient as a five year old kid waiting for dinner in a slow restaurant. I suggested that we simplify the action so she could be good and get to her bucket faster. Once she was calm and successful, we could extend the action to make her be patient longer. So, he cut out closing the corral gate and led her right into the stall. She was totally happy and relaxed. I closed the gate, and we were all pleased with ourselves.
Today, the weather was beautiful and calm. Siete was slow and easy. Coming in with my husband the same short way went smoothly. Next time, we’ll add a little waiting, but just a little. Chunk it down into small tasks, I had to remind myself. One step at a time, even if the step is tiny, as long as it’s calm and good. Any kid will go a lot further with success and praise than a slap of the hand. And Siete’s just a four-legged kid, doing what comes naturally for a horse.