Watch This Space!!
Over the past few days I’ve been really watching what’s going on in my paddocks. All 3 horse are now living together, which was a little scary at the start...I worry about big feet and big kicks, but seeing how the three of them have settled into a real mini-herd structure is quite interesting. Sometimes I think I can describe the personalities by comparing them to television characters...for example Moosie-Moo is so much like “The Freak” from Prisoner it’s a bit of a worry!
Luckily Moo is a horse that is so cool, calm and collected and she handles change really well...as long as there is food I think I could get her to skip along a tightrope. Munchie has been happy to go with what she does. He looks to her as though she is his Mummy...very cute, but I think in his mind, if it is ok in Moo’s eyes then it really is ok!
Jack is a little different. I wouldn’t have ever called him a loner, but he is certainly a horse that seems as though he isn’t fussed about anything either way. He can eat or not, be caught or not (grrrrr), be ridden or not, and socialise or not. He has his place in the corner of the paddock under a big river gum, and at times it seems as though he is oblivious to what’s happening, and will rarely leave that corner.
This was especially the case early on in the shared paddock scenario. He wouldn’t even look at what the other two were up to; I’m not sure if it was just a case of “I’m not looking at you, so you’re not there”, or if he just didn’t care. This sort of thing went on for almost a week...he was always by himself, but slowly things started to change. He started following the other two around a little more, not too close, but closer than he had been. Then last week, he was a real horse!!!! He and Moo were actually grooming each other...something I had never seen Jack doing (Moo loves a good mutual scratch). They went on for maybe 10 minutes before Moo felt she needed to squeal and make a fuss...old bag!!
Now we are at the point where Jack is really one of the “normal” horses lol I’m not saying he was abnormal, he was just...different, but the change within 2 weeks has been huge...living in a mini-herd has really helped him, and me! He is now happy to be caught, which is a huge thing as many people will tell you (I couldn’t count on my fingers and toes how many times I gone into the paddock and been unable to get a hold of the bugger!!), and he is even happy for me to give him a scratch in a special itchy spot, again that’s something I have never been able to do.
Jack has been with me now for just over a year, and unfortunately that year has been a little up and down. We started out going great guns...we were motoring, however then I got sick – too sick to ride and the wheels fell off. I was still able to go out and feed and rug him through winter, but that is pretty much it. One thing I was adamant about was being the one to actually take care of him...I really needed to do it...be with him one on one, so those nights after a long day of treatment, there I was, out in the paddock, in the cold/rain/mud tending to Jack. I annoyed a lot of people...my in-laws especially (but I am the daughter in-law so I like to think that goes with the territory) But now I can really begin to see the benefits of pushing myself like I did. He will come up to me when called, and will stand nicely for a pat...carrots help by the way ;)
Another huge change has been under saddle...all of a sudden we are getting somewhere. Our walk is almost perfect, our trot is rockin’ and we are getting there with our canter (all IMHO of course;))There has been a definite change in trust between the both of us...I don’t know if he appreciated the change I made within the paddock or if we have both gotten our “stuff” together (I suspect the latter), but the part of my mind which would like to humanise the mind of the horse would like to think he just loves me more.
In fact, I think we have gotten our “stuff” together so much that it might be time for an outing...yep a real, live outing...WATCH THIS SPACE!!!!!!!