Monday, March 14, 2011

Bad Habits

" Dusty"

Do you find yourself getting into bad habits around your horses?  I sometimes do. Even when I know the correct way to do things, I find myself cutting corners.  As of yet it hasn’t gotten me into any major trouble due to the mostly laid back personalities of our herd.

Case in point: the other day when we were turning out, we had a bit of an incident that could have been a lot worse than it was, but we were lucky.  Sometimes if the weather is rainy/snowy or especially hot, we don’t put halters on the horses because the horses get rubs under wet or sweaty halters.  It’s a short walk to the paddock, so normally we’ll just put a lead rope around the horses’ necks and walk them to the gate.  They all know the routine; they walk out quietly, the gate opens and they walk through as the lead line slips from their necks.

However, on this particular day, Dusty was next to go in and, as I opened the gate, Mellon made a face at her when she was half way through the gate.  I had already let her go and, before I could do anything about it, she backed out and trotted down the driveway.  Apart from the inconvenience of trying to catch her without a halter, there was no harm done.  As soon as she realized there was no grass to be had she took herself back into the barn and into Blue’s stall on the end. Her stall is on the opposite end of the barn.  So if she’s not dyslectic, I imagine she wanted to check out his feed bucket.  She should know better, Blue never leaves a crumb behind.

Now, lest you think I’m a total moron, I know the correct way to turn a horse out: walk through the gate with the horse, turn the horse around to face the gate and, while facing the horse, unlatch the lead.  Simple enough, but when you’ve got seven horses to get out through a muddy entrance and chores to be done after, you sometimes get a little lazy about the rules.  Will I do the same thing again?  Probably. Do I know better?  Yes I do.  So what’s the point of this post?

Nothing really, just a reminder of things to put on my list of how not to behave around our horses I guess.

My Idiot-Proof List

* Don’t leave Dusty (or any horse) unattended in the aisle.  Even though she stands politely waiting outside the tack room for her after-ride treat, she could leave.

* Make sure the gate is latched securely when bringing in from turnout.  Some of our escape artists know how to push the gate open and let the rest of the herd out with them.

* Always give Mellon his night check treats first or pay the consequences.

* Close Mellon’s door while bringing horses past his stall or risk a bite on their butts.
* Never feed Sami until his ears are up and he’s not threatening for his feed; now that he thinks he’s a big shot, he has to wait politely to be served, no matter how much of a hurry you’re in.

* Always unbuckle Donnie’s halter and don’t try to take it over his ears.  The same in reverse is applicable when putting said halter on.

* Our horses are actually very polite if you’re late with morning feed, but make sure you’re not even five minutes late turning out after they’ve finished morning feed or there will be a rebellion and a bunch of hostile faces and pawing hooves facing you as you enter the barn to turn out.

These are some of the things that come as second nature around the barn.  Maybe I should put them on a typed list at the barn entrance or at the very least write it in indelible ink on my palm as a sort of crib sheet on how to behave around our horses.  Because when you get older you start to forget things so writing them down helps... then you just have to remember to actually look at the list.

" Blue "

Until next time

Quote for Today
Leave a horse's gate unfastened and he'll be knocking on your window in the night.

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