Saturday, April 27, 2013

Afternoon Feedtime

By the time I got home from work today it was getting pretty late so I thought I may have to let go of my idea to see if Lacey wanted some work.  I had a ute full of hay to unload and had to feed the horses before it got dark.  When I finally got to the paddock they were all waiting very impatiently.  I bought the barrow full of feed through the gate and Neo moved in quickly and grabbed the hay throwing it aside to find his bucket feed.  I quietly asked him to calm down and stood shaking my fingers and putting my body in between him and the food.  It is unusual for him to act that way and he was clearly telling me he was starving despite his rotund appearance.  He then decided to stand quietly so I could get his bucket out and he proceeded to inhale the contents.  

I went down to Caz, Lacey and Feather and as always the triangle of bickering started.  Feather would bite Lacey and Lacey would kick back at Feather and then swing round to nip at her which would get her an even bigger telling off.  Caz would tell both the mares to back off and this chaos goes on until I enter the paddock.  They know that I need them to stand quietly beside their bucket and wait until I walk away before they eat.  I have had to instil this with them as they are so overzealous with each other when it comes to food and I don't want to get caught in the middle of it all.  They were all busy eating so I loaded up three hay nets and hung them from trees around the paddock. 

Cazador Del Trueno - Spanish Mustang stallion
Lacey was the first to finish and then go over to the hay.  I had tied the last hay net down by the lake and was then stood there watching my incredibly enthusiastic blue heeler puppy named Jazz run crazily up and down the edge of the lake leaping around then burying her nose in the water and bringing her head out wet and smiling before turning around to watch what sort of reaction she was getting from me.  The more I laughed the crazier she got!!  I turned to see where Lacey was and she had been pushed away from the hay net by Caz and Feather.  I called her down but she wasn't interested and looked more annoyed than anything watching Jazz carry on like a raving lunatic.  I walked up and stood at her shoulder and asked if she would follow me.  She immediately did and we ran down the hill together and I showed her another hay net.  I left her there eating and wandered off around the paddock to let Jazz blow off some more steam further away from the horses.  From up on the hill I watched as Cazador then moved down and pushed Lacey off the hay again.  They kicked out at each other and Lacey backed down and then made large semi circle arcs around him trying to find a way back to the hay but he kept spinning his body and blocking her.  I called her and she immediately came running to me and walked beside me while I showed her where the third net was.  She walked to the hay and then as I was walking away she changed her mind and ran to my shoulder and started asking for work. 

Lacey - Spanish Mustang mare
I gave her a scratch on the tail and then asked her if she wanted to circle around me to the right.  She walked a perfect circle, her body curved around me.  I said 'woah' and told her how incredible she was.  She stood tall and proud and positioned a part of her body for me to scratch.  I then asked for another circle to the right which she did superbly again to copious amounts of praise.  We repeated the exercises on the opposite side and then I walked to her shoulder and pointed at her hoof.  She lifted it for me.  I didn't attempt to pick it up, instead praising her and scratching her for such an amazing job.  She has massive issues when it comes to having her hooves trimmed.  I have been working through these with her using only positive reinforcement little by little.   She was at a point where she may give her hooves but she would slam them into the ground when I went to release her hoof.  That is also changing as I let go of my own agenda and take the training slow to help her work through her discontent about having her hooves picked up.  I was so thrilled with how connected and giving she was today.  

Grey Feather must have been watching us as she quickly came over and pushed Lacey out and spun her tail to me demanding a scratch.  I told her I didn't think that was a very polite way to ask me and walked away from her.  She then came and briefly connected by sniffing my hand before asking much more politely for me to scratch her tail.  I obliged this time and then asked her if she would like to try the same thing Lacey had just done.  She walked a few steps on the circle and then presented her tail to me.  I asked her to try a little harder and things got a bit muddled.  Lacey was watching and was quite annoyed by all this and she stormed in with her nose crumpled and her ears pinned back and showed Feather how it was done before enticing me to walk further down the paddock with her away from Feathers rude interruption as she seemed to see it.  I laughed and we had some cuddles before I then had to leave.

I just love spending time with this little herd.  They all have very huge and opinionated personalities.  Lacey's love of learning and the mind boggling speed at which she picks up my cues is so exciting to me.  I can only imagine what an exciting future we will have when we start venturing out and about more.  I still remember her leaving the herd as a foal to come to the house and find me each day.  I would sit with her and often she would fall asleep, her head in my lap.  Our bond was instantaneous when she was born and I am in awe of where she is taking our relationship and learning these days.  What an incredible mare she is!!!

Lacey and her dam Indian Scout.  Lacey was less than a week old here.
Lacey rising 4 years - a beautiful,independent, spirited and highly intelligent partner