Thursday, September 8, 2011
That winning combination
We have progress!! I am soooo happy I could just about bust!! I'm talking about our little herd of horses and the integration of our new horse, Eagle. Hubby and I were so pleased this morning with the progress that it's just humbling. There's really no better word to describe it...humbling. Horses never fail to amaze me, and in so many ways. They are amazing, amazing animals and I feel blessed to have them in my life - our lives. :)
For the past week or so, we've been ever so slowly introducing Eagle in a smallish pasture, one at a time, with one of his herdmates. Everybody except Harley - wasn't quite ready to go there, yet. Remember that I was torn with exactly how to approach this. So...when in doubt, go with your instincts. Start out with the top dog and the rest will/should be a cake walk.
We started with Shad and Eagle together in the corral and 3 piles of hay at morning feeding time. Refreshed from a long, cool nights' rest and hungry...perfect, right? It went swimmingly! There were a few sideways looks, a few cocked ears, and a few of those "hairy eyeball" moments; but neither horse was very interested in a retake of the kicking match that had taken place the week before. Enough time had passed that the lesson, apparently had lodged itself in their brains. Never underestimate the power of a little time to cement a lesson in ones' mind - equine or human...I'm just sayin'.
Eagle has that perfect, and apparently winning combination of complete and utter self-confidence mixed with just the right amount of humble respect. And with Shad, it worked like a charm. You don't worry me one bit, but I respect you and your authority...now, can we be friends? We left them together for a couple of hours and they sniffed, they switched hay piles, they walked around each other...and eventually, they even shared a few bites from the same pile. Hallelujah!!!! We have the beginning of a relationship and we couldn't be happier.
And, this morning - quite by chance, the gate was left open again...and again, Eagle spotted it almost immediately and proceeded to saunter with the confidence and grace of an Olympic athlete right into the middle of the herd and pick a pile and start eating. Kadie, the little old lady (Shad's little old lady to be exact) of the bunch, made a beeline to Eagle, ears pinned and put her nose on his and promply squealed loudly and strike out. Eagle responds by lifting his head out of harms' way...and then continued to eat his breakfast. Kadie stood there for a moment, and then went back to her hay as if nothing happened. Too funny. Shad merely watched, mildly interested, and resumed eating. This is too good to be true!
Now it's Harley's turn. Harley's the horse that's almost completely blind. Harley doesn't have a mean or aggressive bone in his body. He goes directly to Eagle and assumes the "groom me" position...Eagle continues to eat. Harley decides to share Eagle's hay. Eagle could care less. At this point, hubby and I are beyond speechless. We are quite honestly, stunned!
Ladde's quite another matter. Ladde also felt the "great guns" of Eagle's kicking prowess and remembers that little lesson all too well. He has a very healthy respect (possibly even a little fear) for Eagle and isn't quite so anxious to resume their acquaintance; but Ladde's also non-aggressive and with some time, he'll come around, of that, I have no doubt.
What really surprises me the most, is that Harley and Eagle seem to be forming the closest bond of friendship. I didn't expect that. In fact, I was the most worried on Harley's behalf. Go figure. No matter how well we think we may know our horses, and no matter how adept we may believe that our "reading skills" of equine behavior are...we are infants compared to horses reading one anothers' instinctual body language. *sigh* As long as I may live, my hat is off to the amazing horse.
So, to say that we are pleased with our, or I guess I should say, their progress thus far, is an understatement. We are infinitely pleased...and ever so thankful, and feeling abundantly blessed at this most recent turn of events.
I just keep telling myself to breathe...
it will all work out in its' own time. Not mine.
Lorie @ Cingspots