The opinions expressed in previous entries may or may not express the current opinion of the author.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chloe Reflects

Today I arrived at the barn to find that Chloe and her two pasture mates had been relocated to a square-shaped pasture, with no comfortable "far end" to retreat to. Chloe didn't really want to speak to me, and so I took the new filly out for a walk. (More about her another day.)

After we returned (and the filly had been banished with suitably malevolent stares), Chloe accepted my invitation to leave the pasture with me. We had proceeded only a few steps when Chloe stopped in her tracks. She stood for a while, wondering whether it would be a good idea to follow me any further. Nope - and she beat a hasty retreat back to the pasture gate. When she realized that I was going to go along with this plan, she stopped again and decided she didn't want to go back into the pasture after all.

She then lead me to a gate into another pasture. I told her that under the rotational grazing plan this pasture was temporarily off limits. Looking back, I regret that decision, as it would not have hurt anything to take her in there for a while, and I missed the chance to respond to such a clear communication from her.

Chloe contemplating the conundrum of being out of the pasture and not being required to do anything in particular.

She stood for a while. She had used up all the treats in my pocket (which I had given her gratis), but she started offering to shake hands. She always offers the right leg, as taught. But the other day, I pointed to her left leg and said, "How about this one too?" She cottoned on quickly, and now will offer whichever leg you indicate. (Maybe there's a Spanish Walk in all this somewhere .....?!) She did some spinning in a circle, another "trick" she has learned. Then she stopped again and thought some more. After a while she started grazing. When the time came to return her to her pasture, she was reluctant to move. Finally I resorted to asking her to move in a circle toward me and away from me; she got the message and moved forward to her gate with a good grace.

Free in the pasture, she hung around beside me and offered some more tricks. She even spun around twice in a row. She really seems bent on using her tricks to establish some kind of connection.

After a few minutes, she said, "That's it for today!" and off she went to graze.


  1. Nice to hear from Chloe again! :)

    I want to share with you the latest lesson from Olga to me. It was this: whenever I have "a plan" when I take her out of her pasture, she chooses opposite direction, even when I would still be thinking she can't have any idea of my plans yet..

    She makes me feel impatient and a bit irritated. Then we are stuck, I am standing still and she is standing, full 6 meters of lead rope between us. She will stand there until she gets the message through: we are not moving, until I forget about the plan and time. I would not even admit on having chedule but what's the hurry if I don't..?

    And then, exactly on that moment when I think 'ok, we can go there' she turns around and leads me to where I was going to take her.

    Olga is soooo good at teaching! She is still very pissed off with me sometimes, but I know it's my fault, I am missing some signs I oughta know already :D

  2. Oh my goodness. Chloe and Olga must be cousins. She and I did the same thing yesterday - standing looking at each other with the whole length of the leadrope in between.

    It's funny - although Chloe is not particularly "nice," I trust her more than any of the other horses - I guess it's that honesty. And even when she and I used fight constantly, we were always connected, even if in a bad way! It's the same quality that has lead her to never try to get rid of a rider, however annoyed she is.

  3. Haha, 'nice' is something I don't trust in horses anymore, it sounds more like a ticking bomb than someone worth trusting.

    Have you read the article 'Killing our Horses The Natural Way' by KFH in the latest issue of Horses for Life? He talks about horses that are physically mistreated. Those horses are 'nice and easy' :/

    This honesty is what builds trust with Olga and Chloe <3