Friday, February 6, 2009

Soggy Day

It's been a soggy day, raining and drizzling non-stop, so I kept the horses in their stalls. Over my lunch break, I went outside and let one horse at a time out in order to clean the stall. Once I was finished, I herded the horse back into its stall, fed it a flake of hay, and then let the next horse out so that I could clean its stall. That gave each horse a chance to roll in the mud and run around to stretch its legs.

Bombay is the only horse that hates being cooped up in his stall. He'd rather stand outside in the rain and snow. Lostine usually begs me to put her in her stall, while Gabbrielle just does what I say without complaining. When it was time to herd Bombay back into his stall, he made a beeline for the furthest corner of the paddock from the barn, making a clear statement about how he felt about returning to that box. I grabbed a flake of hay and carried it into his stall, making sure that he was watching.

Bombay then inspected all the outdoor troughs to see if any of them might contain a flake of hay. No such luck. He then walked into his stall, snatched a bite really fast, and then busted back outside before I could close the stall door. I began trying to herd him back into his stall with my arms and body, but he wouldn't have any of that. He kept racing past me at a full gallop, flipping me the ultimate middle finger by bucking out to the side as he passed. Nothing makes me angrier than when he snubs me like that. Of course, he would never actually kick me, but it's the gesture that rubs me the wrong way.

I grabbed the long whip from the trailer and as soon as he saw it, he went on alert. I could see the wheels turning as he weighed out the consequences of trying to escape over simply cooperating. I don't whip my horses, but I will run them back and forth with the whip until they decide that going into the stall is easier. It worked. Just seeing that whip made him lower his head and plod with a pout into his stall.

Next it was Lostine's turn. The entire time I was cleaning her stall, she kept sticking her head in to ask if she could come back inside. Once I finished and moved the wheelbarrow out of the doorway, she went back inside on her own accord, and I fed her a flake of hay.

Once I was done cleaning Gabbrielle's stall, she did the same thing as Lostine. My mares never want to delay being fed, so hay is a great motivator for relocating them.


Leah Fry said...

Sounds like Bombay was having a good time pushing your buttons. I hate it when they cop that attitude.

C-ingspots said...

Poor little Bombay!! I guess he thought you meant business when you got the whip...spoiled all his fun so he just sulked on into his house. Mean old mommy!!

Katharine Swan said...

Panama sometimes threatens to buck out to the side like that when we play. I always let him know in no uncertain terms that it's not okay. Luckily he is sensitive to what makes me mad, so it doesn't take much scolding to get my point across.

Panama is like Lostine and loves having a stall. He is the only horse right now who sleeps in the barn at night when it's cold. (They have an open barn where he's at right now.) When I used to have him in a stall with a run, he would usually do his business in his run -- unless it was cold. Then he liked his stall so much he wouldn't even venture outside to pee!

Train Wreck said...

Ha just like a boy to push your last button! Of course I would have expected more attitude from your girls? It is our girls that are the naughty ones here. How great that you have stalls, for all your kiddos!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Baby Doll is the same way...totally food-motivated. I could probably get her to do anything if there was food as the reward. hehe

The imagery you painted of Bombay acting like a spirited, mishievious, naughty child cracked me up. I could just see him as he minded his manners finally went back to his stall. :D