Tuesday, June 15, 2010

the fight

You cant fight nature. nothing man does can control the weather. you cant stop natural disasters and it would seem you definitely can not plug an oil leak at the bottom of the ocean. males are genetically pre-disposed to be males, but at least young full blooded males horse can be taught some form of manners.

So had a bit of plan B failure on Monday. The original plan was to have the bay boy in a paddock with my domestic boys. But because i didn't have two paddocks with wild horse proof fencing,and i was going to be away for the day. Thought that putting him in with the grey girl would be OK. I'd seen her boss him around in the stockyards. So thought he wouldn't get to cocky with her around.How wrong a person can be.

So yesterday morning i turned the boy loose in the paddock. The grey watching from the hill. i watched them for a while and whenever the boy got to close to the grey, or she didn't like what he was doing. He got a kick pretty fast. The boy was just behaving like any horse, nothing stallionish, so i went off to run errands, and do all the jobs around the farm that id been neglecting every since the wild ones got here.

How wrong you can be..So didnt get home til well after dark that night. i thought that I'd just leave the horses as they were. trying to bring the bay back to the barn in the dark didn't seem like a good idea. So he was left in the paddock with the girl. Plus i have heard of people putting young stallions in with already pregnant mare so that the mares knock some manners into them.

Yesterday morning when i went to catch the bay, i realised the error of my judgement. I've noticed over the last few days that the boy getting fatter and less hungry has been getting much bolder, while the mare less desperate for food is starting to exercise i bit more caution. As i walked over to the horses they both looked up, the girl just watching as normal. But the boy came marching over. As a horse person you become aware of a horse body language. He wasn't just coming to investigate he was coming over like he was going to threaten me..

Interesting, overnight the testosterone had kicked in.Gone was the church mouse timid little thing, now he was behaving like any male his age.. Think of young teenage boys where the get that swagger, get little bit cocky try to look like their real confident. A big show because they don't really know what to do yet. This was the impression i got from the boy as he came towards me. So he was marching up all cocky, which is fine but the moment he put his ears back in aggression instead of stepping back i waved my arms and yelled at him. And because it was all show, more of a test to see what he could get away with. he ran off as soon as i called his bluff.

So my next plan of attack, because i didn't really want to get into a battle with him, plus the paddock wasn't really the place to teach him some respect. I called in the reinforcements. In the form of milo the pony. Milo is a stout boy a bit bigger than the wild pony's. He's leader of the domestic boys, and had already shown little bay some authority in the stables. So he went into the paddock.

Horses are very good about personal space if there the dominant horse other horses just don't bother them. Little bay would definitely not have been anywhere near the top of the pecking order in the wild.Milo quickly sorted him out whenever little bay tryed to act like the protector of the grey and challenge Milo, He got kicked. Whenever he tried to chase Milo off the best grass, he got kicked. When ever he got in Milo's personal space, he got kicked. When ever he exhibited any behaviour that wasn't submissive, he was quickly set straight. But as long as his behaviour was in line he was left alone. Horses are simple, if their in each others space the less dominant gets told to move, but if their behaving they're not hasseled. black or white.

Anyway after a few hours with Milo, little bay was behaving himself again. So this time i went back into the paddock, this time carrying a little stick, just in case. This time though, he wasn't aggressive at all, having being stripped of his title of man of the paddock by Milo, he felt no need to threaten me. So catching him again was easy.

Soon as i had him again i decided it was definitely time to establish some ground rules. If you know what your doing horses are the easiest animals in the world to train ( but that's another blog). In no time at all he knew not just to follow when i pulled on the lead rope. But how to back up , how to turn his hind quarters away from me, how to going around me. All the little things that show him that I'm boss, so that he gets out of my way, not me out of his. This is all horses need they just want to know who's boss.

Next morning as i got him out of the stable he was back to his old sweet self and his big brown eyes followed me everywhere. Moral of story, boys will be boys and from now on little wild bay colts will have to behave with manners, and will not be allowed anywhere near girl horses.