Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Horsey IQ

People who have never worked with horses, seem to consider them extremely unintelligent. They are supposed to be placid, obedient, and patient. Sort of like a bicycle, just sits there until you want to ride it.

Yeah, I hear all you horse people out there laughing.

Last night I had another example of horse intelligence and reasoning played out at my humble barn. We currently have 6 horses, my 23 year old TWH mare, my hubby's 11 yr old MFT Gelding, and a 4 yr old Morgan mare, all out together in one pasture. (the Morgan mare needs some horse etiquette lessons, which the alpha mare and gelding are happy to dole out). In the other pasture I have my coming 2 MFT colt, my daughter's 18 yr old Arab/Morgan ? cross mare, and a 6 yr old Clydesdale Gelding.

The Clyde is a horse we are concerned about. He came to us quite underweight, and we have been blanketing him in the extreme cold. Last night I decided since it was very cold and raining, but he wasn't shivering, to leave his blanket off and put him in the barn area for the night. That way no worries about him getting wet or too cold, or putting a blanket on him and having him sweat under it, which has happened in the past. I pulled my mare out, popped him in her stall, and proceeded to put everyone else out. Understand, I am a firm believer in making life easy for myself, all my horses are trained to voice commands, 'get in your stall', 'out', etc. so I do all this with out a halter or hand on the horses.

All went well until I came to my daughter's mare, Coconut. We have just gone through two months of rehabbing her from a rope burn that got infected. All better now, but while it was open, we kept her in out of the wet.

I opened her door, and said " OK, Coconut." Coconut stood there and looked at me. I Looked at her and spoke louder "OUT, Coconut." She looked at me, and walked across the barn aisle, and into the foaling stall we had used for her rehab, turned around, faced me, then put ner nose down to her feet then looked back at me. I tried a couple more times to get her to come out, then just when I am thinking I will have to get a leadrope, I realized she was waiting for room service!

For the last two months, every time it was raining, she had been put up in the stall for the night. Coconut was very plainly telling me, "I don't go out in the rain at night any more, now where is my hay?" It was great! She was right, for two months, she has been a pampered princess, and she saw no reason for that to stop now. I took her hay to where she waited (she hadn't moved) and left her in.

Coconut resting her head on my husband's shoulder as her feet are done.

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