Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Group Hug and a New Horse

No I didn't really buy a new horse, although there is a friend of my mom's in Oregon trying to give me a 14 year old Quarter Horse mare.  But I am at my limit, as we all know, so I am trying to help her find a home for her mare.  But that will be a different post.

After work yesterday, I bundled up and went out to feed the horses.  There was a small reprieve in the weather yesterday, so although it was breezy and cold at least it wasn't snowing right then.  I knew the worst part of this storm was going to hit today so I figured I'd better use that little window of opportunity to get the stalls cleaned.  As I look out my window now, I know it was the right thing to do.

Anyway, I did the red horses first and then got them fed. It is funny to watch those two in the pasture. Sassy spends most of her time trying to get away from Killian, and Killian spends all his time trying to herd her away from the other horses. If she wants to visit the Arabians next door, he gets between them. If she wants to visit Danny, he gets between, same with Trax too.  He will let her visit the mares that live behind us, but he has to supervise the whole ordeal.  I often wonder if he gives himself ulcers worrying about her.

After I got those two fed and put away I let out Danny and Trax.  One of these days I'm going to remember to always take a camera with me, because I was sure wishing I had one yesterday.   They both hit the opened gates about mach 9, okay so maybe more like mach 5 for Danny, but in his mind it was mach 9, so we will give it to him.  Where ever Danny went, Trax followed. They would rear up and "fight" each other, and then turn around and kick at each other with both feet, but of course never actually hitting each other.  Then they would tear across the pasture, pick another spot and do it all over again. It was wonderful to watch.

Trax has always been one to tear around the pasture when he first gets out, but he has never really been "part of the herd".  He always kind of kept his distance, and never really played with anyone, he would just run around.  If there was any kind of ear pinning or ugly faces made, he was gone to the other side of the pasture. Watching these two cavort around like that made me realize that Danny and Trax are buds. For the first time in..well I don't know how long...Trax has a friend.  I know that when he lived at Steve's (the man I bought him from) he did not have a friend. Steve said he was always alone, even though there were other horses there. So Trax has a friend now, and they were having a great time.

It was hilarious to watch Danny try to kick at Trax, his butt goes up real high but then his legs don't really kick out behind him. I think that this is good exercise for him because he is sure trying to stretch those legs out.

Anyway, after they were done with their games they parked up by the barn waiting for me to get their food. I walked up to Danny and gave him some attention.  I just loved on him and rubbed him all over, kind of just checking him over all over while I was petting him. Trax watched from a few feet away.  I saw him watching me, but just ignored him for a bit...he took a step closer.  I kept rubbing Danny, Trax took another step.   So while I was standing next to Danny I put my hand out for Trax to sniff, he touched my hand with his nose. I took a step towards him, he took a step back, so I turned back to Danny, I heard him step closer again. I put my hand back out, he touched it with his nose again.  I took a step closer and he didn't move. Another step, he stayed put.  So I stepped up to him and put my arms around his neck. I expected him to bolt right there, but he didn't. He stayed there and let me rub him and love on him. He turned his head around to see what I was doing. His eye wasn't quite soft, I could feel that he was a little nervous, but he wasn't frozen either.  I think uneasy would be the appropriate word.

I stepped back and he trotted off, so I went back to Danny, pretty soon Trax was up there again.  I could practically read his mind.

He was thinking, "I think I want her to pet me again, but I'm not sure."

So we did it again. One step at a time until he let me hug and love all over him. Then Danny laid his head across Trax's butt.

Group Hug!

It was cool for a few seconds, but then I could feel Trax getting a little claustrophobic so I stepped away.  He didn't trot off this time, but just stood there licking and chewing, and let out a big sigh.

I have never once been able to walk up to Trax in a pasture and touch him. When I first got him, it didn't even matter if I had food. If he thought there was a halter attached to that food he was having none of it. I would have to corner him with the food and then use a little string to catch him with. Then I could halter him. Sometimes that didn't even work.  Jay taught me to use my round pen to catch him.  I would carry the grain into the round pen and he would sometimes follow me in. Then I would have to work him till he was ready to give in. Sometimes I would have to leave the food in there so he could go in of his own accord. Then the work would come.

After a while, he got to where I would put the food in the pen, he would go in, and I could just go to him. But it took and entire summer of feeding him in the pen for every meal to get to that point. Then we built the barn and he had his own stall.  His stall has always been his, it never changes and he find security in that. When I get home from work, and he and Danny are out, he will generally be there waiting for his dinner. He may follow me around, but as soon as I head that direction with dinner, he stops following and beats me there.

So when it is time to catch him now, I just grab a bucket and he heads to his pen. At first, if  I had a halter he would move a way from me to the other end of his stall, but now he comes too me. He puts his head in the halter and is ready to go.

But everything is different if he is loose. If he is loose and I have a halter, he is gone. If he is loose and I move towards him even without a halter in my hand, he takes off. If I turn my back on him he follows me, but if I turn around and face him, he is gone.  I generally try about once a week to walk up to him in the pasture and pet him. It is always the same for him, "Nope not today."

Yesterday was the  first time ever that he has let me come up to him in the pasture and pet him.

The very first!

I don't know what the difference is for him in the pasture, other than I know he knows he can get away, so he does.  I don't know what changed for him yesterday, but it was so dang cool. He is becoming a new horse, and I like who he is becoming.

Nothing better than an equine group hug to take away the "Is spring ever going to come" blues.

I am a little frustrated right now.  I can see my blog list and the beginnings of everyone's posts, but I cannot open them.  I can post and edit my own blog, but I cannot see the finished product.  Not sure what is going on with the internet today.

Oh, and we have horizontal snow now. The roads were pretty much clear when I came to work. Looks like we have a couple of inches so far.  Glad I didn't drive the jeep today!


  1. That's weird that you can't see your posts! This one looks fine :)

  2. Wow. You must have been in heaven when he decided to stay with you and hang out. What you described is a lot like what goes on when gentling a mustang. I love it.

  3. Wow I sure love it when they figure out that people are Ok even when they want to catch them. Sounds like a wonderful day :) And Danny sounds like a good friend for him to have, they play and he is also teaching him how to take loves in the pasture.