Sunday, January 25, 2015

Manipulative Mare

No sooner did I correct the problem with Gabbrielle making Bombay's stall a muddy mess by constantly urinating in it, and she started up a new rude behavior.  Now she deposits piles of manure in places where she knows I will have to step in them.

One of this summer's storms washed all the sand and dirt away from one end of the paddock, exposing hard rock, so I started spreading manure there to soften the ground.  I was also hoping that the horses would catch on and poop there, thus making my job easier.  Bombay was the only horse neat enough to always use my designated end of the paddock to do his business.

Rock just poops wherever he happens to be standing, and Lostine repeatedly poops either in her stall or Rock's stall.  (I have to leave the stalls open, because the barn is the horses' only source of shade.)  Gabbrielle, on the other hand, poops where she knows I need to walk to get my barn chores done.  This includes at the opening of each gate to the barn and each stall, and in front of, as well as beside, each feed barrel.  So, now if I want to be able to feed the horses without stepping in manure, I have to clean first.  However, all the while, Gabbrielle still makes a bee-line for the areas I just cleaned and poops in them before I can feed the horses.   She's not making the connection that she's delaying feeding time with her actions.

Even when I don't catch her in the act, I know these are Gabbrielle's piles, because I can recognize her poop anywhere.  She has a completely different metabolism from the others.  It is very fast, which allows her to poop every two minutes, if need be.  She also has these odd, rectangular pellets that no one else can produce.

Anyway, I am totally convinced that this behavior is intentional.  I had tipped over two water troughs to clean, and while I was cleaning one of them, she marched right up to the other one and pooped right where I would need to stand in order to clean it.  So, I got out the manure fork and wagon and went from stall to stall cleaning, and no sooner would I clean one stall, and she'd be in there pooping again.  Then she kept pulling the hose out of the water troughs so that I would have to drop the fork and run around to wherever the hose had fallen, pick it up, clean it off, and put it back in the trough.  In the meantime, she'd mosey over to the fork and start chewing on it.

I finally got so fed up with her being a pester-wart, that I sprayed her with the hose to chase her off.  That only worked until I walked away from the hose, and then she was back either pooping where I just cleaned, pulling the hose out of the trough, or eating my manure fork.  Oh, and she also likes to chew holes in the rubber tires on the wagon.  So, I locked the gates to all of the stalls, thus locking her away from the hose, the wagon, the fork, and the previously cleaned areas, and told the horses to go play in the sun for a change.

Gabbrielle watched me intently, and as soon as I started to leave the barn, she sneaked in.  I chased her out again, but I could only do that for so long until I had to get on with my life.  She ended up going into the barn and trying to open the latches on all the stalls.

It's nice having an intelligent horse, but not if she gets into everything and drives her owner bananas.  I'm thinking I may have to put her in the round pen with a bucket of water in order for me to successfully complete my barn chores in the future. Then, only when all the other horses are fed, will I bring her back to the barn to her stall to eat.  If she's smart enough to play games with me that prevent me from getting my work done, then she's smart enough to know when she's being punished for wasting my time.

Two mares conspiring.
"You grab the hose and spray her with it while I tip over the wheelbarrow.  Then we can laugh while she picks up all that poop again dripping wet and cursing at us."


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

She did it again. I cleaned up all of the manure, and as soon as we pulled the wagon out of the barn to take it to the compost pile to dump, Gabbrielle very deliberately walked over to her stall and released a fresh pile right where I would need to stand and walk to open her gate to let her into her stall. She had been standing outside the barn watching me clean up and could have pooped anytime right where she was standing during the process, but she waited until an inconvenient time to go in an inconvenient place. So, I had to pull the wagon back into the barn and make everyone wait to eat while I cleaned it up.

Laura Lee said...

Silly mare! Makes you wonder what goes on in their horsey heads...
She must be trying to entertain herself.

fernvalley01 said...

I swear I would love to come watch the antics of your critters, comedians the bunch of them

achieve1dream said...

The caption on that last picture cracked me up!!! I vote for the round pen. Before I got there I was going to suggest tying her up. It can help teach patience and keep her out of your way. The round pen works too. I always forget you have one. :D Good luck outsmarting the silly mare!