Friday, February 22, 2013

Call me "Boss"

We often speak about being the "Herd leader" when discussing horses. Every herd has its leader, that kingpin horse that runs the place with an iron fist, kicking or biting or ear pinning everyone else into submission. You know them. They're always front and centre at the hay pile, they always get to lick all the feed tubs at the end of the graining, and they're always the first one at the gate.

Talk about drifts!

We love them. They're the boss.

In my paddock, the boss is The Black. Probably the most suitable name for him too. He's a good herd boss, he fights fair and really focusses on just ear pinning for the most part. It took some kicking/biting/chasing when Moon was first introduced, but now I would honestly say that Moon pulls in the 2nd spot *because* he's the Black's buddy. Little bit of a man-crush going on there.

Which leaves the Wizzard fighting for 3rd place, which being a mare I don't think sits too well with her, and there's often a little bit of a battle going on between her and Moon that makes their actual positions a little questionable.

The drifts clear over the fence line!

So yesterday I was at the barn, filled all the hay bales, enjoyed the sight of some INSANE snow drifts we had going on (yes, clear over the fence line), and I had enough time to slip a halter on Mr. Moon and go for a fun little trot/canter around the paddock.

Happiest place on earth.

Of course my sweet puppy was with me, and this is one of those things I dreamed about for years. Riding my horse and having my dog trail along beside and behind me, in perfect unison with me and my horse. It's my little family. And even when Moon was cantering across the field with me riding bareback, Halo was right there running behind in our hoof prints. Didn't bother Moon one bit. I just love it to bits to know that there's this beautiful union amongst my entire family.

Happily trotting along in the field beside us.

That being said, I caught Halo marking atop the horse pee in the paddock...apparently the horses had marked territory she thought was hers ; ) Never knew dogs marked over non-dog markings...huh.

That's some deep snow, the dog is practically swimming!

Anyway, it was pretty darn blissful and after about 6 canters across the length of the field, we headed back to the barn. Moon popped up onto the packed snow trail just as The Black and The Wizzard were walking up it. Imagine, the top horse and the 2nd top horse facing you, and you facing them. Wanting to go in opposite directions.

Now I wasn't surprised that I was able to encourage Moon forward and have the Wizzard to step aside for us. That made sense since Moon was technically ahead of her on the hierarchy.

Then we were face-to-face with The Black. The boss.

You could read in Moon's body posture that he was submissive and unwilling to push past him. And wasn't going to turn or budge the Black. This is horse hierarchy and it's strong.

So I looked over at the Black from Moon's back and said "Eh! Go!" just as I do when he's chomping away at the hay in the shelter and I need him to move so I can drag the hay nets out.

BIG DRIFTS and hungry horses!
Guess what?? With just my voice and pointing, he stepped right off that path and made room for me and Moon to path. Ears went forward, no longer pinned at Moon, as suddenly the hierarchy was changed.

What does that mean??

It means that *I* am herd boss over here. That's right. Me. I trump all those horses, and I do it with an *ear pin* not by waving a crop at them or smacking behinds. I literally just had to speak to them (the horse equivalent to pinned ears) and I could literally move a 1300 lb. animal.

When I turned around as we headed up that trail in the lead, I had to laugh. Never had I felt so powerful in my position before...

Yes, Halo the dog was bringing up the rear ; )
hehe; yeah. Now I know why horses fight so fiercely for this spot in the herd! It rocks!

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