One of our jobs this week was to open the connecting channel between Meg and Angel’s paddock and another one we had cleared and then walked them round to previously. We could accomplish so much before opening the last fence at which point Angel was desperate to go and explore. There was still work to be completed to barricade the pylon but we now had the added hindrance of horses charging along our 3-4 foot working area! Angel wanted to get into the new paddock, Meg, mum, kind-of did but then she couldn’t see her 3 boyfriends in the pens opposite the old paddock so she wanted to stay there but didn’t want Angel too far away from her. Angel couldn’t care less and didn’t respond to Meg’s plaintive whinneys because she ‘s deaf. This resulted in Meg charging through the channel, as she was a bit apprehensive of being so close to us (she is a rescue horse) to collect Angel. When she finally deigned to follow, they both came galloping back past us again so Meg could keep in touch with the lads. Angel became bored fairly quickly and galloped back to the new paddock and the whole process repeated itself several times whilst we were trying to complete some construction work with out getting kicked!
Angel has become a bit of a challenge for us. Apart from her Mum, she has no-one and nothing to play with and Meg doesn’t play. So when 2 unassuming beings enter the paddock to clear the poo they are potential playmates, or worse, toys! She has learnt how to rear and buck and we have both managed to duck and dive her dainty but not insignificant hooves. We weren’t exactly reprimanded the other day when I smacked her (gently but firmly) on the bottom with the rake after she’d reared up at Roger and then, getting an undesired response, turned and bucked at him. I don’t know what the memory span is for a young horse but was under the impression that, for most animals, sanctions have to be immediate or they have no idea what it is for and the rake was in my hand! However, apparently one doesn’t want to make them scared of a rake (can’t think that it wouldn’t be a bad idea) so we have to throw a ball at her feet, yeah! right! I will still take a rake with me, I’m not risking either of us sustaining a nasty injury from a spoilt foal, or, we don’t clear her paddock.
We have a new visitor outside the cabin. He isn’t actually a visitor, he belongs here but has been leant out as a temporary swap for Meg, but the owners are on holiday so he is back for a week. His name is Rio and he dances on the sand, well he did and managed to spread it all out across the path until Miss G took exception to his behaviour and reared up on her side of the fence, he turned and bucked at her but managed to get his legs caught in the fencing and ripped the skin off so has now been sent to our end of the ranch. He is rather lovely, handsome and very friendly, unfortunately too friendly with Waylon so they have now been separated! Despite being 2 geldings they did seem to strike up a friendship from either side of their fence, culminating this morning in me watching Waylon remove Rio’s fly mask, undoing the Velcro! I thought it must just be chance so replaced it and watched them do it again, Rio pulling against Waylon holding the tag in his mouth. I can only assume that Waylon was jealous of Rio’s discrete appendage whilst he has to look like he has joined the Klu Klux Klan!
We are riding more, 6 out of the last 7 days!! Poor Dunner is the only mount we can use so we try to keep it fairly brief, about 15mins each but we are getting much more proficient at tacking up etc. and he is being very tolerant. We want to be able to be reasonably competent before arriving at the cattle ranch where there is the possibility of riding every day for functional purposes. Dunner is a retired show horse so it is rather like riding a Lamborghini but we may have to make do with a perfectly adequate Ford Focus afterwards. He is a lovely palomino quarter horse but has definitely got some zebra genes in the not too distant past. He has been referred to as a bit of a ‘princess’ but we think he is lovely as he tolerates our cack-handed efforts with good grace and probably much relief that we are improving, Roger faster than me!