Is it just me, or is there a change in George?
I think I'm beginning to see a sense of humor, or mischief. Today when it was time to administer Rose's eye medicine as usual, I took some carrots in for the horses to share. Of course George wanted, if possible, to have them all. I made him keep away and allow the others to have some, although he did bag the lion's share, as I went back to him after visiting with each of the mares.
He stalked me around the field as I doled out my pocketful of bounty. His characteristic m.o. has always been to aim his wrath at the other horse, brushing me aside as he lunges at his victim. Today, however, he didn't threaten his rival, but focussed on me instead. He kept looking at me, in an arch kind of a way, as if to say, "Here I come - more treats for me!" When I asked him to back off, instead of a sullen glare, I got an "All right, here I go, that means a treat, right?" Today, for the first time, he misinterpreted a gesture as a "get-back" signal and retreated a half-step. To move him back by accident? Without first summoning all my Jedi powers? Unprecedented!
Yesterday, when he kicked at Rose, it was very different from his usual attacks - head-on strikes, totally disrespecting my presence. Yesterday, he was aware that I was up at Rose's head, and he slinked off and let loose a sneaky little "Hmmph!" kick at her hindquarters.
He showed less desperation today in his eagerness to get hold of the treats than in the past. He seemed more happy and excited at the prospect - and not as if his life depended on it.
This evening, I had to go into the field while George was eating his dinner by the fence, his back legs pointing toward the gate. As he is rather reactive at dinnertime and likes to kick at imaginary mare incursions, I stopped and asked him (using only my words) to move over before I entered. He immediately, and without making a face, rotated 90 degrees.
Here's the thing - I think this subtle change in George may have been wrought by my determination to be more, well - bossy. On the other hand, I think I've had to earn some trust first, before exerting authority.
George is always a challenge - I know it's not suddenly all going to be sunshine and roses. But I like this glimmer of humor and fun I'm seeing - I hope to see more of it.