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

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Taking No for an Answer

The horses have been humoring me so kindly lately, that I've been getting a little cavalier about remembering to listen to them.

Chloe reminded me again yesterday that my way isn't necessarily the only, or even the best, way and that letting the horse take charge does not have to mean that anarchy will ensue.

Chloe had been loose on the lawn by her herself for a couple of hours when I went out around four o'clock to return her to the pasture. She saw me with the halter and leadrope and walked over to the gate which leads into the pasture across the drive from where the horses are currently residing - "I'll just go in here thanks." She sensed my disagreement with this plan and turned her head away every time I tried to put the halter on.

I explained to Chloe that we were going out for the evening and that she'd be left all alone in the dark if she didn't take this opportunity to be returned to her buddies. Still she refused to put on her halter and walked away.

I followed. She stopped, waited for me, and turned to touch the halter with her nose. This usually means she's ready to put it on, but when I tried to, she turned her head away again. A couple more tries - same result.

She walked off again. I followed. She stopped and touched the halter again but wouldn't put it on.

In this way, she lead me to the other gate which leads into the empty pasture. She stopped in front of the gate and allowed me to put the halter on. Sneakily, I thought I'd lead her in through this gate, through the pasture, and then out the other gate again. But once we were through the gate and into the pasture, Chloe flatly refused to budge.

So then a "practice-what-you-preach" realization kicked in, and I thought - What the heck, it doesn't matter if I leave her here. So I did.

Me heading back to the other gate without Chloe.
Chloe drifted down the field closer to where the other horses were, got herself a drink from a bucket I set out, and proceeded to graze happily.

What's she doing over there?
I gave the horses their supper, and Chloe contentedly ate in solitary spendor, no one forcing her to relinquish her plate before she was quite finished.

This is actually a picture of her water bucket.
We went out and returned late. When I climbed out of the car, I could dimly make out Chloe grazing a few yards off into the field. She whinnied to me, and when I met her at the gate, she was very glad to be haltered and lead back across the drive to the others.

George got right out of the way to let her come in, while Rose and Bridget crowded around to welcome her back. Chloe had no hesitation about entering, diving in between the other mares and turning around to let me remove the halter. She set off at a brisk walk with Rose and Bridget following after her, no doubt demanding to know what she'd been up to.

There was no harm in letting Chloe have a few hours to herself in the other pasture. She managed to tell me - clearly and politely - that this was what she wanted. I really had no reason to disagree.

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