Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sarge Has A Girlfriend

The last time Sarge (and Milton The EvilPony™ Bad Example for company) had to be separated from the herd for a while, a fat roan Quarter Horse mare moved in at the boarding farm. Since the barn owner wisely introduces newcomers gradually, he put her in with just Sarge and Milton at first. She started hanging around with Sarge, and quickly became thoroughly attached.

So now Sarge has a girlfriend, but he doesn't seem nearly as invested in the relationship as she is.

Yesterday when I went out to treat Sarge's scar, all the horses were out in the 50-acre pasture. I saw what looked like a chestnut-colored, Sarge-shaped blob off in the distance, so I called him. His head popped up, he whinnied, and came at a run. Fat Roan Mare initially followed him, but then stopped about fifty yards away.

I sprayed his withers with skin conditioner and treated his one spot of ringworm (love those childhood diseases) without having to halter him. He then chose to leave his herdmates and followed me all the way back to the barn by himself. Not "buddy sour" at all, no sir.

Fat Roan Mare kept calling him, but he ignored her and stayed with me. To reward him for following me back voluntarily, I made a big fuss over him, let him in the barn, and gave him some grain. Fat Roan Mare was still outside, pacing and yelling. He still completely ignored her tantrums, walking out of the barn like a gentleman when I opened the door. Then Sarge and Fat Roan Mare went back out to the pasture together.

That's what I love best about positive horse training, when they do the right things totally of their own volition, because they want to.

But I feel a little sorry for Fat Roan Mare's owners. They will probably get an unpleasant surprise one of these days when they try to take her away from her boyfriend. She sure is the clingy type.

1 comment:

Aanoosh said...

Horses make you realize that humans don't necessarily exert control without considerable effort.

Nice story. Brandy and Lexie say hello!