Monday, May 9, 2011

More than a month late

It's amazing how spring really has stalled out here. We are finally getting some warmer weather (highs in the 60s!), so I expect this to change fast! Just look at how the deciduous trees look in these photos! I don't even think they are quite where the header photo is (remember taken on April 3rd last year).

Even so, the grass has decided to not wait for the trees. It greened up a while ago and now with the warmer weather the last couple days, it is getting longer.

I have kept the horses off the pasture for the last month to try to give it a chance to get a head start. Today they got to spend 2 hours out there munching all the green grass they could. And they never picked their heads up until I appeared with a grain bucket to call them in.

And speaking of grain bucket, I found another vice that Sassy has, and I really hate this one and will do my best to break her of it. I never go out with a grain bucket to catch a horse...I use the bucket to call them in. My horses know that they are not allowed to eat from a grain bucket while I am holding it and they maintain a close but respectful distance, even as they all follow me back to the barn where their feed pans are. Some of them beat me there because they know that the pans are the only place they'll be getting grain. Well, Sassy doesn't know this routine yet. When I appeared with a grain bucket and yelled for them, she was the first one into the small pasture, and as I turned around to walk back down to the barn, she almost ran me over in her haste to get to the bucket (and none of the other horses were even remotely close yet). She tried several times as I was walking to try to get into the bucket. Grrr! That is a pet peeve of mine! I hate horses that do that! I chased her away repeatedly, and she did finally get the message, but she followed hot on my heels. And by that time, Cody (lead mare) had caught up and was following me and I was worried that she might get after Sassy and chase her into me. Sassy is the only horse that I worry might run me over if they get into a disagreement. The other horses respect my space too much to do that. One nice thing about a mustang is that because they started with fear of you, jumping on top of you is usually one of the last places they'll go (with exceptions of course). Domestic born horses who grew up with no fear of humans will just as soon run you over to get away from another horse, as they will run you over to get to a grain bucket! The respect can of course be taught to them, but it just seems inherent in a mustang. Sassy will catch on. She's just obviously not been taught those manners.

Another funny thing I see...every time I go through the pasture gate (it clanks as I do it), Pumpkin and Sassy come streaking down to stand at the gate. They are obviously not really a part of the rest of my herd. The others are usually interested in what we do at the gate, but if they are out of sight, they don't come running down to see us. They are a bit more independent.

I finally got through trimming all 7 horses. This last weekend I did both Kachina and Griffin. Griffin's feet seem to grow really fast and they were very long and chipping. Now they are a good length, but are going to require a couple more trims before they are nice and tight due to my slow/weak return to trimming them myself. But, now that they are done, I need to just keep at them and they will stay good the rest of the summer.

After I was finished trimming Griffin's hooves, he was really interested in hanging out with me. I always start a trimming session with grooming, then I toss a rope around his body and legs and slap the ground to test how jumpy he feels. Both him and Kachina were very quiet with all this. And after I was done with Griffin (he was the very last horse), I led him out into the pasture and just messed with him a little. We did some leading with working on Griffin reading my body language and stopping when I stop, backing when I back. Then we did some moving the shoulder over by stepping across in front, and some disengaging the hindquarters. He was really good and interested in what we were doing. When I was done, I took the halter off, and instead of heading out to see where the other horses went, he came down with me to the gate and then nosed around in the corral for a bit. And I've noticed him really watching me today too. I think he likes the attention and the stimulation. I really really want more time to work with him, and Kachina too. She is my sweetheart and just wants to stand and be petted all the time. She always follows me everywhere I go in the pasture.

No comments: