Friday, August 1, 2008

Homecoming




There are many things different about Mustangs and Domestic Horses. Usually the quality of hooves is the first thing everyone will agree upon (except in Beautiful's case).

There is another quality I only discovered this week upon returning home--and that is, deep bonding.

After hearing about my friend getting kicked--something I never for a moment held against Beatufiul--she was startled and she is, afterall, wild--but I started to wonder how it affected her. Generally, she does not want to kick anyone--it's something she threatens, but doesn't want to follow through with.

That first night when I got back, she was the one who called out for me the loudest. I could hear her whinnying from the barn as soon as I got out of the car and called for them.

When I went into her pen she moved away from me and was hesitant to give me the front of her head. But when, after a few seconds, she did, she just gave into me with what seemed to be relief.

Much of what I think about horses comes from what I FEEL through them. And, I understand that it could be subject to projection--or self-fulfilling prophecies--but I try to clear my head of those preconceived notions and really feel and see what my horse is feeling and showing--kind of read their face and body language for cues.

Wrinkles around the eye show worry or fear or pain--shying away can show insecurity--and a sudden drop of the head and relaxed eye and body can show pure relief.

After reading Linda Tellington-Jones' book--I believe so strongly that a horse's body language is as clear as speech is to us.

So, what I perceived from Beautiful was relief--much different than what I perceived from my domestic herd who I also love dearly. Cowboy--my main man(horse)--looked thrilled--he picked up his walk and was the first one out of the dark pasture--I could see his white and sorrell paint markings emerge from the blackness. He's my guy. Cia, who was stalled the whole time because of her leg injury (did I write about that--well, it's all better) she acted like GOOD, YOU'RE HERE--NOW FEED ME!

But Beautiful's response was different, reminding me again what a privelege it is to earn their trust, but what an awesome obligation it places on us, too, to protect them and be worthy of it.

4 comments:

  1. I hear ya! Scout, my little roan mustang, actually whinnied for me today! It was the first time I've heard her whinny in a year! How cool! And, I'm like you! I think once a mustang bonds with you, they are in it for life.

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  2. Hey, don't forget your award! Email me if you need instructions!

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  3. Yes you hit the nail on the head. Wildairo shows relief. My son asked me why he sighs so often and our Morgan doesn't ever. It's like Wildairo is just relieved to be with us and is trying hard to fit in with his new 'herd' he sighs when he lets out the tension. He seems almost pleased he has done the right thing to fit in.

    He also startles easier than a domestic horse and threatens to use his back hooves as a form of defense. He hasn't threaten me since about the first week but Brad has startled him a few times by walking up to him with a noisy grain sack or something.

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  4. Cheryl--thanks for the nomination--I'll look into that after this weekend when I have time to sit down a bit. Thanks!!

    Arlene--Beautiful took a kick at me last night, but a distant threat rather than the real deal. I was in her stall cleaning and my husband was feeding the other horses, and she decided she wanted me out so she could get her food and eat. I had the rake in my hand so I popped her with it in the hind and she ran out. I chased her to the end of her pen and kept her from her food for a while. She started licking her lips and made up. Those back feet do come up.

    Also, I wanted to tell you there has been improvement with the messy thing. She has been going to the bathroom against the rail in a pile. She's so smart, she watches me clean the manure out of her stall--by putting her head above the half door as in the picture--and now she's just helping me out by making my job easier. I'm pretty impressed. :)

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Please feel welcome to join our discussion--tell us about your own thoughts and experiences.