Saturday, April 16, 2011

Like a Lamb

The past several days have been a no-go for riding - very high winds which I don't enjoy - and now we've got rain with the wind.

We're almost out full day on grass - some of the other owners have already done this, but I've decided to go a bit more slowly.  Dawn is at least somewhat insulin resistant, and Pie and Drifter's status is unknown.  I prefer to be cautious, so my three had to spend some time in their stalls this morning while the others were out.  I did turn Pie and Drifter out together early in the morning - Drifter needed to move after being in the stall last night although he was somewhat more calm this morning than he's been.  Then I came back an hour later with the intent to bring them back in for a couple of hours.  All the others had been turned out by then - it was an owner turn out day.

Leaving the pasture to come into the barn, which involves leaving the herd, can be hard, particularly for a new horse.  But it's an essential skill for the horses - we're on all-day turnout and they need to be able to come in for things like vet visits and also if you want to ride before bring-in time. Both Pie (although he sometimes momentarily balks in protest for a step or two) and Dawn lead in well, although I have to be careful when leading Dawn in because the other mares tend to gallop up behind her.  Sometimes, due to the configuration of out pastures, you're talking a walk back to the barn of up to 300 yards or more.

But I've never asked Drifter to come in from the pasture before except at normal bring-in time when all the other horses are also coming in and near the gate.  I wasn't sure how it would go - I was pretty sure I'd be able to get him in even if he protested but I was hoping for better than that.  All the geldings were far from the barn and he was grazing with them.  I went out and haltered him and asked him to come.  I got one or two brief balks - I just took a step to one side and kept going and he followed me.  After that he came with me very nicely all the way to the barn.  He did call (scream would be a better word) once or twice and look over his shoulder, but he never crowded me or tried to turn around and go back to the others.  I was very proud of him - even though he was a bit worried he was able to do what I asked, and do it well.  When I led him back to the pasture gate when it was time for him to go back out, he led very well and stood for me to take his halter off, then walked away before trotting off to join the other geldings.

Every time he's able to successfully do something like this together with me, it reinforces our working relationship.  Good Drifter!

8 comments:

  1. Drifter sounds like he's getting the hang of having an owner that requires manners. Good Boy!

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  2. Very good Drifter! I especially liked to read he was so well behaved going back out and waited to have his halter removed before trying to move off. And he WALKED away !! Good boy

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  3. We're fortunate to be able to have our horses on our own property which is nice. However, the down side is they hardly ever see other horses. If we meet another rider on the trails, our horses get pretty interested and we have to ride them through the interest.

    Pros and cons I guess.

    Dan

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  4. Today was a manners day here as well. Jaz just got to stand around a lot while Daltrey got a bunch of routine maintenance things thrown at him. Can't overemphasize the need for good manners.

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  5. Good Drifter. All he needs is proper handling. And he does seem to be a quick learner.

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  6. The weather was crap for us this weekend. Hail, rain, threats of tornadoes... all while we tried to do the 50 in Maryland.

    Sounds like you and Drifter were far more productive.

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  7. Sounds like a great lesson with positive results. Does your barn have a dry lot for the horses so they don't have to be stalled on nice days when the rest of the horses are out on grass?

    My mare is on dry lot 24/7 and is most happiest outdoors where she can see my neighbor's horses.

    ~Lisa

    word verif: barepine

    That would be a Christmas tree, post Christmas. :D

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  8. Lisa - we do have dry lots for winter use, but don't use them when the horses are on grass - so mine have had to spend a few extra hours in their stalls with hay. But in a few days they'll be out full-time so it won't matter any more. We do have one mare (Charisma) who is very insulin resistant and prone to gaining a lot of weight - she's a Morgan - who is in a small dry-lot paddock with rationed hay during the day. She cares more about food than she does company, so she does OK.

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