Thursday, February 7, 2013

Once He Knows She Loves Him...

The Handsome Walai Lama

Her Majesty The Queen
There have been changes in my horses, in their relationship, since last fall.  The thrill is gone.  They spend time apart in the pasture, though I am certain if I were to lead Wally away from Ginger, she would become agitated and vocal.  I am not entirely sure Wally would care if I led Ginger away.

The most striking change has been in Ginger, in her unwillingness to kick or bite Wally.  She no longer angrily enforces his adherence to the dictates of good horse etiquette.  He was even allowed to eat oats at the same time she was eating oats from the same bucket one morning!  I stepped back expecting an outraged squeal and a bite, maybe a kick.  All she did was flatten her ears and toss a half-hearted warning that she could bite him, if he were just worth it.  (Women, we all know that feeling, don't we?)  He casually walked to his own bucket as if he had just scored.

Wally's behavior toward me has changed, too.  I am the at the very bottom of his list of peasantry, even lower than I am in Ginger's estimation!  I am not allowed to pet his neck when he is eating oats - the very same oats I toil in the cube farm to purchase by the 50 pound bag, which is almost too heavy for me to handle - the oats I bring to his royal pain-in-the-assness every morning regardless of the temperature or weather conditions. 

According to the horse experts on RFD, the dominant horse is the one who makes the others move.  So, I was trying to brush the dirt from Wally's royal hide, something he clearly cannot do for himself, and he would not move his hind end to give me room.  I told him to move and he ignored me.  I pressed my thumb into the muscle of his hip and kept the pressure on.  Instead of moving away from that pressure, he leaned into it.  I pressed harder and he stepped toward me!  I slapped his rump for such an affront.  Instead of just stepping over, like he knew I wanted him to do, he spun his rear end entirely 180 degrees away from me.  Oh, he is thinking quite highly of himself these days!

But the most remarkable change is Ginger's total refusal to correct Wally at all.  He is always threatening to cross the clearly established line of who eats first.  Between the fence panels and the round pen, there is only about a 20 foot space, so Ginger can defend her right to the first bucket easily by standing there with her hind end pointed at Wally.  He cannot get around her.  She bucks up and threatens to kick, but does not.  He dances away, but he is always crowding her, always pushing his luck, and constantly scheming how to get his way.  What a ying yang he is!

The other day I witnessed Ginger repeatedly bucking and threatening to kick Wally.  He did not even move out of range, confident she was not going to clobber him.  He just tossed his head and mane around like he was handsome, and desirable, and well loved, and she did not tell him differently.  Poor Ginger.


Kathy said...

Uh oh, it sounds l like Wally has read all the admiring, worshipful comments we all made about him when he first arrived at your place. Did we create a monster? Has he thrown aside his buddhahood for the cheap thrill of equine dickheadedness?!

Jackie said...

I think it is merely a case of Wally "feeling his oats", as they say. He doesn't have to compete with any other male horse at all, so his male ego is growing.... Just being a normal dickhead.

Don said...

Great narrative Jackie - every time I roam the back roads of the Flint Hills, coming upon horses in the field is just another reminder of how fortunate we are all to be able to enjoy this open grassland area of Kansas.