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

Monday, March 19, 2012

Saddle Up

Yesterday, when I got bored scratching Bridget, I decided to go to the barn and fetch out the saddle. Bridget followed me, but when she saw me re-appearing around the corner with an armload of rattly, clattery tack, she was startled and skittered off to join the other horses.

I walked across the field, hung the saddle on the gate, and went into the kitchen to cut up carrots. I'd decided only to do something with the saddle if someone showed an interest. I looked up from chopping carrots and through the window I saw Bridget, having crossed the field and knocked the saddle off the gate, pawing at it as it lay on the ground. I stuffed the carrots into my pocket and scurried out to join her before the saddle met an untimely doom.

Having ascertained that Bridget was in fact interested in the saddle today, I resorted to the un-pc step of tying her to the fence. It would be nice to tack up at liberty, but lacking a smaller space like a picadero or round pen, it's easier to tie her up, and if she's already signaled her interest, I reckon it's ok. As time goes by, I feel less conflicted about stuff like this, as I become clearer in my mind that my intention is not to force her into the venture, but to use tying (or whatever) as a convenience. If she says, "No," I can, after all, untie her.

Anyway, she was quite fine with the saddle going on. I gave her treats liberally. It's amazing to me how quickly they catch on about not grabbing treats if you just use your words (or your clear intention) and tell them. It only took a couple of tries before Bridget learned to quiet herself when a treat appeared and wait until I gave it to her. We wandered down the drive, stirrups flapping, and she grazed a bit. Then my daughter called, needing to be picked up. For fun, we charged full-tilt back up the drive, with me whooping my best rebel yell as we ran, and Bridget keeping stride enthusiastically, moderating her pace to suit my elderly, bipedal version of a mad dash.

I took the saddle off. Bridget was not happy about this. She walked over to where the saddle was laying next to the kitchen steps and pawed at it. Here she is saying, "What do you mean we're done? We only just got started."

Today, while she was waiting for me to come to the field, Bridget thought maybe she could climb out over the gate. She put one foreleg on one of the bars of the gate and then put the other foreleg on the second highest bar. She stood there hindlegs on the ground, forelegs on the gate, obviously pondering her options. I think she must have recognized that there was no obvious way her hindlegs could follow along and further her prospects of egress. Or it could be that she was trying to use her "hands" to open the gate, as she sees me do. What a girl.

The other day she had another psychic episode. The always-rewarding Journal of Ravenseyrie has a new link to another interesting blog, Horses and Humans, which has a link to these cool Youtube videos by Eva Roematt. The horse in these videos performs a gesture where he sticks one or other of his forelegs horizontally out in front, and he also executes a bow, where he stretches both forelegs out in front of him, lowering his chest, and bowing his head down to the ground. Shortly after watching these videos, I was out in the field with Bridget, and - in quick succession - she did both of these moves. She's always very expressive with her forelegs, but she'd never so explicitly stuck them straight out in front before. More striking was her bow, which is not something she's done before. Sometimes it's a little freaky.

I know what all y'all are thinking.

No comments:

Post a Comment