Monday, September 8, 2008

Red Continues to Speak His Mind


Red has always been a horse of distinct opinions which he shares in obvious ways. If he is not ready to return to general pasture he will sit back on his hind end and refuse to budge, giving in only when I swing the lead rope at his rear. This horse of mine (he might snort and say, this human of mine). This horse of mine insisted on leaving the general pasture with Lyra. He stalked after us, giving her hell until I told him he could go too. Then he settled into our rhythm and waited at the gait for me to return with a halter to take him across the street.
My plan was to have Red go into his stall to eat, while I rode Lyra. Ha. There was no way in hell he was going into his stall while I messed with another horse. Nose went into the air, tail dipped down as he planted himself and refused to budge. I could have forced it, I can be pretty relentless but he was so clearly telling me he really, really didn't want to be put away while I stayed with Lyra. I fed them together and then hand grazed them for awhile. They need to learn to walk with me and behave under different circumstances. Lyra is doing so well, she is patient and gives to my requests. Red is, well - Red is actually doing fine once he is assured he is to be included.
Lyra was returned to the GP first tonight. She did not want to go. My formerly autistic like horse mimicked Red and slammed on brakes of her own as we began the walk down the lane to the general pasture. Secretly I was delighted that she wanted to stay with me instead of return to the herd. Her goal was probably to shake me down for more goodies, but she wanted to stay. How very far she has come.

Meanwhile, my Red horse enjoyed his massage with his custom massage oil. In fact, when I was done he swung his head around and looked at his other side, looked at me, looked at his other side. I followed the direction of his gaze and he heaved a huge sigh as I massaged his left rear pastern and fetlock.

Red has clear intentions. He is letting me know what he wants and prefers. The things he asks for are easy to respond to. Now how does this fit in the whole human as leader philosophy of natural horsemanship? This is feeling more like horse and human as partners. This is the direction I want to continue in with my horses. When we were done with the massage and he had seconds of Safe Choice, he walked beside me down the lane to the general pasture, relaxed and contented, making the little snuffy sounds I love.

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