Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The day the wild stallion saved my life....

Matai, the wild stallion saved my life.....sort of......or at least he thought he did. In a rare moment of a 'Walt Disney magic', that doesn't usually seem to happen in the day to day reality of dealing with horses, the horse from the wild protected me from a rampaging, savage beast.

Im exaggerating slightly, but hey, Matai was quite proud of himself, and didn't realise, that we were never, actually in danger.

So Matai and Milo, have been grazing a fenced off section of the driveway, that has nice long knee deep grass, to keep them content. Unfortunately it is a long way up a steep hill to lug water buckets to them. So instead i lead them to water in the morning and again at night before they go back to the stables. The water is located down a little race, in the orchid. there is no other horses paddocked nearby, so i generally just let the fence down, and the two bay ponies. happily follow me to the water and when they've had enough they take themselves to the barn while i meander along in front of them. They know the routine, and usually i don't even bother catching them, allowing them to walk along free.

last night as i was walking along with them to the water, relaxed and day dreaming, Matai (the wild stallion) suddenly let out a huge snort. stopped dead in his track, head up hole body tense. Thinking he must have caught a whiff of a mare or something on the wind, i clicked and waved an arm to tell him to carry on his way.Suddenly looking every inch the wild stallion, muscles tight and seeming to hold him self a foot taller. He shot forward a couple metres. Snorting he swung his head around, like he was trying to catch the smell of some foreign scent. Then came back towards me and the other pony who were watching his odd behaviour. still holding himself tensely and snorting, he dropped his head, ears back and shook his head at me and the pony. Looking every bit the aggressive herd leader, not my scrawny wee colt anymore.

At this point, knowing something was definitely up, with my horse, and not quite shore where this behaviour was about to lead. All i could think was "Sh#t!!!" if i get hurt by this horse every body in the horse community would be relishing the chance to shake their head and say "I told you so", especially, some of my more narrow minded competitors . So back Matai came towards us, ears back, neck down low, head tossing from side to side. His body language clearly saying "back out of my way NOW" The pony retreated a step, but wasn't too phased. I stood my ground, and just waved my arms to shoo him away. He didn't charge us, but turned, back they way he'd just come. still snorting, still un happy. Tensely an looking away from me down the track, he criss crossed the path a few times in front of me, snake necked,swinging his head from side to side, glancing back at us to make sure we were not disobeying him, and coming down the track.

Slightly at a loss as to what i should do, as Matai up until this moment, was the most submissive, well behaved horse on the property. i just stood there dumb stuck, knowing something was definitely upsetting him, but not sure what, as the other horse was clearly un bothered. Suddenly Matai charged away from us. Ears pinned flat back against his neck, neck low to the ground, muscles bulging,every inch of him looked ready to fight something. he hadn't gone but a few metres, before he veered left into a patch of long grass, and from a gallop, lashed out violently with his front legs, striking the ground. with what could be a horse version, of baring his teeth, he looked like a wolf diving in for the kill.

All at once, there was the screaming, hissing sound of a very angry/frightened animal. Matai seemed to lift himself up tall for and instant, puffing himself up, struck the ground again. From in amongst the striking hooves and long grass, out ran a brown weasel type animal (must have been a stoat or ferret I'm not sure which). It ran for it life across the path and disappeared into the bush on the other side. Matai whirled almost to follow, but is was gone. He stood there snorting head up in the air for a little while. then walked to back, looking triumphant,shaking his head and sniffing occasionally, for any sign of the enemy returning. when he got back to where me and the pony stood, with I'm sure an equally shocked expression on our faces..Battle over, in what I'm now beginning to realise is typical 'wild horse' fashion, he started eating grass. We had been saved and his job as protector was over.

I'm still a bit shocked over the whole thing, i went a over and inspected the grass later, and found a half eaten dead bunny exactly where Matai had been attacking the ferret thing. when we got back to the barn, i also, haltered Matai, and did some handling with him. Just to make sure he didnt really think he could behave like the dominant wild stallion, i was still boss. But he was an angel again. It did go as a reminder though, that no matter how wonderful he is, you cant take it for granted that he is a stallion. But thank god he never know that ferret could have killed me and the pony, without his wonderful self to protect us.......Maybe...