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

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Follow the Leader, etc.

I think maybe a more descriptive term than "passive leader" would be "followee."

The passive leader horse doesn't actually intend to lead his or her fellow horses; at least that's the impression I get from reading Rashid.  It's more a case of the leader horse going about its business, with the other horses tagging along.

So when a horse follows a human, the human can emulate the leader horse and just be like "Hey, you're following me, that's cool, I'm over here eating grass, it's fine if you join me."  Or I suppose the human could start making suggestions for the horse to follow.  And because the horse is in following mode, it might go along.

KFH doesn't leave it to chance.  In Dancing with Horses, he describes how to lead a horse. (p.78)  Now it's a known fact that one whiff of Klaus's Celtic soul is enough to make all horses instantly follow him.  However, for mere mortals he has a trick to help you get started: you have a helper walk behind the horse, carrying a whip.

The condition I'm in at the moment is that the horses will follow me some of the time, but not all of the time, when we're in the field.  If we're out on a leadrope, I can always cajole them into following me, even if they're not immediately inclined to do so.  I usually do this by turning my back to them and sending strong thought waves down the leadrope, saying "Come on."

(These comments do not apply to Chloe, who never follows me in the field, even though she often wants to spend time with me there, and who has to be 500% convinced when out on the leadrope that there's no way she can dissuade me from putting her back in the pasture.)

Today, Rose followed me for the first time.  I was hanging out with the horses and moved up the field to another spot.  To my surprise, the first one to follow me was Rose.  Bridget often follows me.  But the one who follows me the most is George. Who is the alpha horse and the one whom the others don't like to follow.

So far I don't "do" anything much with the followeeship bestowed on me.  But there's a certain level of trust that I guess we could work with, which might lead to something sometime. You never know.

On the subject of not-letting-the-horse-move-your-feet, a taboo which I now officially spurn - Bridget often bumps into me to get me to scratch her butt.  It feels rather too intrusive, so I move away from the bump and then reach over and gently touch her hip and ask her to move toward me again, but more softly this time.  Whereupon she moves over more slowly, without bumping.

George, I feel, is kind of lonely sometimes.  So I always pay attention to him first, if he wants, and wait until he's ready to let me talk to the others.  I feel that driving him away and being tough on him, as he's been treated in the past, isolates him emotionally.  He often wants to tuck me into his side.  He's taken to placing me by his tail also.  At first I thought he wanted me to scratch him, like Bridget - but I feel perhaps he just likes to have me stand there.

Here's where he usually likes to put me:

but sometimes he puts me here:

Here he is nudging aside my be-wellingtoned leg so he can get at the grass underneath:

I thought Chloe was having a hard time getting up after rolling, but she was rubbing her tummy back and forth on the scratchy grass:

See the drought we're having?

No comments:

Post a Comment