Monday, May 12, 2008
It was a chilly, blustery day, with winds around 25 mph. Siete wanted to go out and play, but her mother wasn’t too sure if it was a good idea. Silk is fairly unperturbed by most things, but the wind was really tossing around muck buckets and branches. In the pasture, every time a gust blew up her mane or her tail, she leaped into the air in these crazy spooks. Siete just munched the grass and ignored it all.
I’ve never seen Siete spook at anything. Silk doesn’t do it often, and she makes one quick sideways jump when she does. If I’m riding her, I can usually tell just before she does it and remind her to pay attention to me. When I bought her, she had been living in a barn where Corgis chased her and nipped her heels. So, she’s not fond of dogs. Our one really big spook came years ago when a dog suddenly appeared and ran towards her.
Most of the time now, Silk will spook when she thinks that she needs to get my attention. Last week, I was leading her into the back corral when the mama barn swallow dive bombed out of Silk’s stall. It startled both of us so bad that Silk almost tried to jump in my arms. I admit my heart was pounding.
So, today, I told my horse that when she had enough of the wind in the pasture, she should just let me know, and we’d go back inside. After about 45 minutes, Silk came and stood by the gate. I brought her in and left Siete out for a few more minutes. Silk took refuge in Siete’s stall, so of course, Siete decided that she was ready to come in too. That was it for going out today. Both horses stayed tucked in the barn as the wind rattled and roared.
It does make me wonder why some horses are spooky and other aren’t. Does anyone have any insights on this? I know that Icelandic horses usually don’t spook because they have no predators in Iceland so their fear/flight reflexes aren’t strong. I was thinking that Siete has never had the kind of frightening experiences her mother had, so maybe that makes her more level. She’s always been a plucky little horse. When she was just a baby, the first time we walked out with Silk, Siete raced ahead of her to be the leader. Maybe some horses are just born brave.