My human has been ill and I’ve been under the care of the barn manager and Lucky’s human. I have missed her greatly, but I have also been fussed over and received a lot of treats and carrots, so the hardship has been more emotional instead of physical.
The weather has been harsh, with a few warm days that make us wish for spring, and loose some much needed warm hair. The cat beast has been very grouchy and got into a lot of trouble for sharpening his claws on the winter blankets that hang in the aisles. The barn manager threatened to dee-claw him, whatever that means. Football has been patrolling the barn to make sure the cat beast doesn’t get into the tack room or trunks. Lucky’s human promised that my human would be coming to see me tomorrow. I can’t wait. More later.
I have a big problem. My human is making me crazy. She used to be normal but now I can’t understand her. We’ve always had a good relationship, I thought, but for some reason she’s decided that in order to interact with me she has to wave this stick, with a flappy plastic thing on the end, at me. She does it in the round pen and my stall. Then she plays these creepy games with me and talks to me about getting in touch with “our spiritual” sides. The stick waving is getting on my nerves, and I and finding it very difficult to trust her when she’s waving the thing. It also throws off her body language and makes her look like she’s got ants in her pants. How can I get her to drop the stick and go back to being the considerate human she was before?
I have seen several instances of this odd behavior and it always confuses me. I can read my human’s body language and don’t need a stick to tell me not to step on her. In fact the only stick I want to see my human carrying is a carrot stick.
You really do have few options beyond making her miserable or finding a new human. Luckily both of these can be achieved with the same actions. I suggest you ignore the stick and learn to jump out of the round pen. Yawning also produces a break in the stick waving, since it shows that you really don’t care what she does with it. If she ever sets the stick on the ground then quickly run over to it and step on it. Breaking the stick is demoralizing to humans in this phase.
If your human reverts back to her old behavior, even just for a moment you MUST reward her with good behavior and your absolute attention. The second she picks up the stick ignore her and if you have room turn your back. Trust me, this unnatural humanship behavior is very hard to break and can flare up at a later date. Be prepared for long term retraining and many setbacks. It might be better in the long run if you just find a new human and start from scratch.
It has been frightfully cold here, to the point that all of us have been blanketed. Even Shorty, tough little range horse that he is, finally had to submit to having a puffy blue blanket put on. His shame was not as great as Trooper’s though. Trooper’s human, in the rather odd taste of human youths, brought him a bright purple blanket with his name written on it in pink. He’s very odd looking and Pebbles has teased him mercilessly. Thankfully Lucky and I have humans with more subdued taste so we wear dark green and burgundy blankets.
The smaller cat-beasts, Trick and Treat, that are siblings to my human’s young cat-beast, Goblin, have grown quite a bit. They run and play in the aisles and will sometimes run through the rafters. They also like to nap in the hay mangers, but since they don’t leave any “surprises” the horses don’t mind. The old cat-beast, Lollipop, is as hateful as ever, but since he is also cold he has to come down to our level in order to stay warm. We can only hope he’ll get locked in a tack trunk and forgotten. Foot Ball came out to the barn today sporting a bright orange coat on his fat little body. My human remarked that it made him look like a real football, whatever that is.
This afternoon we were turned out for a short time and a huge wheeled cave drove up. I was surprised to see Lula and Voltare led out from barn four, blanketed and wearing funny leg coverings. They didn’t have time to chat, but Lula called out that they were going to the winter show circuit in the south. Trooper pinned his ears when he heard this. He’s done the southern circuits and his former human really gave him a hard time. I think he’s happier spending the winter in lay-off and only showing during the regular season. We called back, wishing the two Arabians a good trip. I know Lucky will miss Lula; he’s got a bad case of pony-love for her.
We were brought in early tonight and I was glad. It has been so bitingly cold, I simply don’t know how horses that aren’t stabled can stand it. Maybe I’ve gotten soft, but I want a nice barn at night! Hopefully the weather will clear. More Later.
Today I witnessed how training your human poorly can really affect the enjoyment of your life. We went to a “Fur and Feathers” clinic (Not really sure where the feathers come in since there were no ducks or chickens present) to help our humans get over the mid-winter doldrums.
The clinic was fun. All the humans were dressed up in puffy bulky things and thick foot coverings. We taught them to visually measure their circles and how to judge distances from the rail. Trooper’s human was doing very well and he’s in a much better frame of mind now that he’s back on full feed. He was really grouchy for about a week while on short rations. My human and Lucky’s human also did very well. Even with regular training being curtailed by the weather they are still light and responsive.
Once the riding clinic was over we participated in a dismounted clinic where the instructor went over all our tack and told the humans how to improve it. I was very impressed because the instructor, who was owned by a very nice bay Morab, was not one of those humans that thinks a more severe bit will solve a problem that actually starts in the saddle. She was a very nice human and had praise for the horses and riders that participated. I do so appreciate this kind of instruction better than center ring shriekers.
After the clinic we were untacked and had our sheets put on, but instead of loading up right away we were walked a bit, so we wouldn’t chill in the wheeled cave on the way home. Before we were through we got to witness an outstanding example of how a poorly trained human can mess up a horse’s day.
One of the clinic participants was a big chestnut Quarter Horse, Marvel. He had a nice way of moving and his rider was adequate, if a bit timid. She was one of those “good boy” riders, where she patted him every few seconds to tell him he was good for not letting her fall off. I’ve never had one, but I know from talking with other horses that they can get really annoying, and are just begging to get taken advantage of.
While we were walking we noticed that Marvel’s human was trying to convince him to walk into the two-stall wheeled cave. He wasn’t having any of it because she was standing in the trailer, facing him, and trying to drag him forward. Horses know you do not step toward a person facing you, and certainly not into an enclosed space where you will very quickly lose sight of the human, since directly in front of you is the “blind” spot.
Marvel was trying to explain to her that he wasn’t afraid of the trailer, he was simply unwilling to risk stepping up and mashing her. He planted his front feet and stepped side to side with his rear, his body language telling her to get out of his way so he could enter. He was willing to move, just not forward since she was blocking him.
We halted near our wheeled cave and watched for a few moments. Since Marvel’s human was slow on the uptake, this back and forth begging scene went on for a good while. He got “good-boyed” and patted enough to make any self-respecting horse fall over in shame. He wasn’t being a good boy, and he knew it. He was trying not to be a bad boy and step up into her, but she wasn’t getting it.
Finally this big blustery male human stepped up and drawled that he’d load the “stubborn horse”. Trooper and I wondered what this was about, and Lucky gave a horrified shudder, he’d evidently been through this treatment before. The human said he’d get a “but rope”. This mystified me until I saw it in action. The human tied one end of the rope to the wheeled cave and then ran the other end around the horse’s rear end and back through the opening in the side of the wheeled cave. He then proceeded to pull on the rope. That’s when I figured out why it was called a “but rope”. It means, “If I had any sense I could load this horse BUT since I’m a moron I’m gonna try to use this rope instead”
After he’d had enough of having his rear end pinched Marvel sat back, pulled the “but rope” tight and smashed the blustery human’s head against the side of the trailer. This caused him to release the rope and stagger around grasping the sides of his head and saying really nasty things about Marvel, his ancestors and horses in general. Trooper and I were affronted, Lucky just hung his head in shame that some humans were allowed out in public. It was obvious that some horse, somewhere, had failed in his duty to teach this loud-mouthed oaf some manners.
My human and Lucky’s human both decided they’d seen enough and walked over to help. Trooper’s human was left to hold all three of us, but since we knew how to behave it wasn’t a big deal.
My human walked over and spoke to Marvel’s human. The poor thing was leaking from her face and seemed very distraught, much like Shorty is when he reaches the bottom of his food bucket. Lucky’s human got all the “but rope” untied and took it over to the blustery human, where he was getting his head treated with cold water. Pity they didn't just hold it down in the bucket until he stopped kicking.
My human walked around with Marvel, letting him get to know her. She really is a darling, and as much as I hate to share her, I know that the training I have put into her cannot be selfishly kept to myself. Once they were working together my human started telling Marvel’s human what she was going to do. They walked up to the wheeled cave and then my human stepped up and entered. Marvel hesitated, because when his human did this she would immediately turn around and try to drag him toward her. As if any self-respecting horse is going to walk into someone facing them! When my human didn’t turn around, she just remained facing the front of the wheeled cave and gently giving a few tugs on the lead, then Marvel put his forefoot in the trailer. Lucky’s human gave him a gentle pat on the rear, to show he really was a “good boy” and he loaded right up.
They remained inside a few moments and then Marvel backed out and my human walked with him some more. The second time my human entered the wheeled cave Marvel followed her right in. It was a nice example of horse and human working together, with the human respecting the horse’s needs. Then Marvel backed out again and my human handed the lead to his human. She was given some very good instructions on how to listen to her horse and then she walked around with Marvel and managed to load both of them in the wheeled cave without any more refusals or hesitations. She also learned not to immediately turn around and face the horse, since that just makes us want to move away from the human.
Once Marvel and his human were working together we got into our own wheeled cave and headed home. I wish there was an instruction book somewhere for horses, so they’d all know how to raise up a caring and civilized human. Maybe I’ll write one someday. More Later.
The new year started off on a sour note. Poor Trooper coliced! It is a horse’s worst nightmare. And it was his own fault for causing it. Trooper has this very bad habit of scratching his tail on his water bucket. He’s always done it, even though Shorty and I have repeatedly told him how gross it is to do so. It is obivious that no matter how illustrious your ancestors are it doesn’t always mean good manners.
Trooper’s human, a young female, had bought him several new things for this Christmas Day thingy humans do. One of the items was a new purple plastic water bucket. He also got new purple brushes, halter, leadrope etc. He was quite the grape-colored extravaganza when she was done.
Unfortunately, the other humans in the barn forgot to warn her that Trooper cannot be trusted with rigid plastic buckets. He has to have the heavy black flexible rubber ones or he destroys them.
Trooper had assaulted this rigid bucket several times, in the days after he got it, and must have created a crack, because it developed a small leak. Which no one seemed to notice because of the cold weather.
On the night before the new year started we were fed and watered at our usual time, but the humans were all acting silly about some “partee” thing that happens every year at this time, so no one noticed Trooper’s leaking bucket.
Shortly after being fed, when the barn was dark and quiet, Trooper assaulted his new bucket one last time and broke it into two pieces. All his water fell out. He spent a dry night, and I must admit to having no sympathy for him. The following morning we were fed again, and because someone had allowed the hose to freeze up we weren’t watered again until well after we ate. Most of us still had water from the previous night, but Trooper was without it for over twelve hours.
By the evening he had an awful impaction colic going, scaring his young human to death and worrying the rest of us.
The sticker man came out and stuck a tube in each end, hopefully not the same tube, and then Trooper got walked for half an hour. He was also loaded into a trailer, something that always annoys Trooper, and had to remain inside until he pooped.
He was walked some more after he was unloaded and after pooping again was finally allowed back in his stall, complete with new rubber water buckets.
My human, and Lucky’s human, stayed to help, and even Goblin and Football walked along with them. The cat-beast just sat up in the rafters and made nasty comments. If Trooper had felt better he might had spoken back, but he was quite miserable.By the time the humans finally left he was feeling a lot better. Shorty and I both remonstrated him about breaking his buckets and he assured us that he was going to try to break his nasty habit. I hope so, because the sight of him with tubes stuck in him has given me nightpeoples. More later…