Saturday, July 30, 2016

Game Time

I graduated the horses from being turned out one at a time to being turned out with their own gender.  Lostine pushed Gabbrielle around a bit, but not without reason.  I hoped that Gabbrielle would take note of that, and learn that a good leader does not attack her loyal followers simply because she's irritable from the heat.  Turning out the boys together was a bit more complicated.  I had to remove everyone's fly masks and rub fly spray on their faces instead since the boys have mastered the art of removing and shredding every fly mask they can sink their teeth into.  The second I walked into the house, a fight broke out.  There was a lot of biting, striking, kicking, chasing, bucking and rearing.

There was no way I was going to spend the next two weeks patching up cuts and wrapping legs.  I ran down to the barn, pointed at Bombay's stall, and he retreated into it while I shut the gate behind him.  He seemed relieved to get away from Rock.

Later, when I had time to supervise, I let Bombay out with Rock again, but pulled up a chair.  I tried reading a book, but Rock wanted to sit in my lap.  He was more interested in hassling me than torturing Bombay.  Together, Rock and I made up a bunch of games while Bombay attempted to unlock and open the gate to Gabbrielle's stall.  He had thrown his ball into her stall, so I'm not sure if he was trying to get his ball back or if he just preferred Gabbrielle's bitchy company over Rock's rough housing.

Here are some of the games Rock and I played together:

Go Fish
With this game, I swung a long whip back and forth while Rock attempted to grab the tassel end with his mouth.  Once he had a hold of it, he tried walking off with the entire whip.  However, I held onto the handle end, so it bent like a fishing pole.  Then I'd say, "I caught a fish!  It's a big one!"

At that point he usually let go, and I'd call him "the one that got away."

Books Bite
I was attempting to read my daughter's copy of THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak while Rock was attempting to eat my daughter's copy of THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak.  I couldn't let him smear his dirty mouth all over it, so each time he tried to taste it, I snapped the book shut on his muzzle.  This game didn't last very long, because he only popped his head up on the first four book slams, and after that he became totally desensitized to being bit by a book.

Get Off My Lap
This was a game to teach him to give me some space.  Each time he got too close, I put my shoe on his chest and pushed until he took a step back.  He tried biting my foot a few times, which did result in him getting a foot in his mouth, but not exactly the way he planned.

Lickey Lickey
This is the same game I taught Bombay when he was a strapping young gelding obsessed with biting everyone within reach, only for him I called it the "Nice Nice" game.  Rock kept rubbing his nose all over me and occasionally trying to get a sample of my skin or clothing, so I encouraged him to lick instead of bite by changing my body language and tone of voice.  Licking got positive reinforcement, rubbing with his upper lip got a caution, and as soon as his energy got to the verge of biting, he was given negative reinforcement before he could get that far.  It didn't take too long before he caught on.

The Paw Trap
When he got anxious because I wouldn't let him sit in my lap, he would occasionally try to paw me with his front hooves.  My response was to grab his leg in mid-air and hold it there until he got tired of standing on three legs.

Pushy Pokey
This is just a variation on the "Get Off My Lap" game, but using the long whip instead of my foot.  If he got pushy and stepped too far into my space, I'd poke him on the chest with the long whip until he backed up.

Raspberry Pie
Whenever he stuck his nose in my face, I'd grab a hold of his lower lip and then blow a raspberry on his nose.  He loved that.  Grabbing his upper lip was a different story, though.

Ear Snake
I wove the long whip around his ears, wiggled and pulled it, because sometimes he's sensitive about having his ears touched.  Interestingly, he didn't mind the long whip snaking its way around his ears.

Leg Snake
Same thing as ear snake, but around the legs.  He's always been good about standing still for that.

Rock seemed to love the attention.  As long as it stays below 100 and we have a breeze, I'll try to spend more time just hanging out with them at the barn.

Bombay never did manage to get the bicycle chain off of Gabbrielle's stall, but he did unlock the latch.

My annoying neighbors are still setting off cherry bombs and other explosives every frickin' night.  Poor Stewie was crouching down trying to do his business tonight when it sounded like something exploded down at the barn.  Stewie jumped and tried to run for cover.  I yelled as loud as I could, "WHAT THE #$%&!?"

Stewie ran into the house without completing his task, so I grabbed a flashlight and went down to the barn to make sure the horses were alright.  Amazingly, thanks to these jerkwads on the hill, my horses are completely desensitized to sudden explosions.  They just kept on chowing down their dinner.

I made my presence known with my flashlight, and sure enough, here came my annoying neighbors with their flashlight.  I must have ruined their fun, because they shut off all their lights and went back in their house.  This is the last day of July.  If they carry this behavior into August, I'll be calling the police to see what kind of rights I have as a neighbor with terrified dogs.  Probably none, because this is the wild west, but there's got to be some way to get these idiots to stop since natural consequences haven't taken care of it yet.


ellie k said...

Maybe you are going to have to divide your turn out into two parts and add simple shade in the one away from the barn. Then you might be able to turn out two horses at a time, they can play across the fence.
Love reading your posts, it is such a nice distraction from my every day life.

fernvalley01 said...

the games sound fun, and at least the upside of the obnoxious neighbors is the horses are becoming bombproofed

Cut-N-Jump said...

I would say get a slingshot and start firing away with rocks as the fireworks go off. Or maybe a potato gun? Launch all kinds of crap in their direction. They will think you're the crazy one. Or they won't like being pelted and go inside. You win!