Monday, October 10, 2011

In which Indigo teaches us horsemanship

This is Midnight.

Midnight is Indigo's daughter. We had a bit of a mother-daughter reunion.

Remember this picture from the previous post?

Well this was about .5 seconds later. Her old owner is just about to say: "Well Indigo hasn't changed".

To answer some of your questions, YES horses do remember past horses. Indigo has remembered many we have been around and has been friendly with them.
However Indigo has a real issue with ANY horses within her 15 foot personal bubble without her permission, daughter included. Stay out of her personal bubble with another horse and shes quite pleasant.

After we rode to the lake we turned the two out in the round pen after the first pictures of Indigo's old owner holding both girls.

Indigo likes to be queen of the round pen. It's her personal continent and she will not have any peasants defiling her grass...err weeds.
Indigo chases every horse that we put in there with her that she can. It's the game of face making (which shes pro at), charging, ear pinning, squealing and striking, biting and kicking threats.

Midnight snuck slowly over to Indigo. Her long lost mommy, boss of the herd, love!!

The response she got was probably not what she expected. I've seen Indigo act it out a million times. Shes a witchy, crabby, squealy, ear pinning mess when another horse is involved that she can boss around. She rules her underlings with an iron hoof.

"You will remember who's boss!"

Indigo started to round pen Midnight, who did not object to her every body motion on where to move. Mom is boss!Midnight tried to stop once and change direction but that was not going to happen.

Oh she was angry.

Watch as Indigo shows us humans how to work a horse like we try to mimic in a round pen.

She got results, no special sticks, $500 DVD set or secret club to join.

Notice Midnight has one ear on the person (horse) working her the whole time.

"Turn now!"

"Not fast enough!"

"Pay attention, I said the other direction!"

Was Indigo being unusually mean about her visit with her daughter?

I don't believe so. Indigo saw fit that Midnights manners were put back where they belong. She worked Midnight until she was showing the respect she wanted to see.

After a few minutes of chasing Midnight around to where she obeyed Indigo's body language they went back to eating near each other like old buddies. Well until Midnights owner went to go get her, then Indigo had to put her two cents in about not being lead out first.

It's all about respect. Indigo was saying "pay attention to me and listen to where I tell you that you can or cannot go." When she seen that Midnight had her attention plastered to her, Indigo backed off and went back to eating. The second she took a step that was considered disrespectful (maybe in her direction, or moving without her permission) Indigo would chase her and make her change directions to her pleasing. It was pretty black and white really: Disrespect earned Midnight more work. Respect earned her a moment of grazing.

The world of horses is so simple that we tend to make it complex. Sometimes we place human emotions on them and forget to watch them for what they are; horses.


Mellimaus said...

Great post with great photos; very interesting to see!

Emme said...

New to your blog, great post. Even inside the herd there are Predators and Prey, such clearly defined roles. Our mare went from Bottom feeder to Alpha Mare with a recent herd change. Fascinating hierarchy.

Mary said...

I really like your lasts 2 sentences. It's so true, I think there are some that are afraid of breaking a hores' spirit, when all the horse really needs to know is what the rules are, firm and clear. No real coddling is needed, clear boudaries with quick "reminders" when the boundary is crossed, and reward when the point is made, nothing real fancy. No cruely either, of course. You showed this very well with your photos.

Jame said...

The more I learn horses, the more I realize how simple it can be. Everything we did with our Big Blonde Boys was make everything just a bit more simpler. Simpler harness...keeping them outside as much as possible. And no, at this time we're trying to figure out what Tristan & I are going to do for further schooling (he's looking at the farrier school you went to) and I'm looking at a human-animal bond master's degree offered at a college in Montana. So, no drafts for awhile, sadly :( Or horses, much, beyond reading every blog I find!

Dreaming said...

You have put together a great post with super photos to emphasize your points. Wow! You are right... this is how we hope to 'drive' our horses!

iida said...

Some people forget that horses are not humans...but some humans forget that humans are not horses and horses DO make the difference. So the rules that are there between horses in a herd do not necessarily have to go for humans. For example: a horse knows that another horse is not a predator = when another horse is chasing her, it is for some other reason than wanting to eat her alive. When it comes to humans...a horse might or might not know if a human is a predator or not (it depends on horse's past relationship with humans and how the human is acting, i suppose), so chasing your horse the same way another horse is chasing her might NOT result in trust and respect, rather it may result in fear. Just something to think about... (:

Sydney said...

Very good point Iida! A lot of people do not effectively use round penning it can be a horrible thing in the wrong hands.

Liv said...

Wow your horses are gorgeous <3

Far Side of Fifty said...

She is a bossy one..I enjoyed the photos:)

Amish Stories said...

I'm just dropping by new blogs today and i thought id stop by and say hello on yours. Greetings everyone from the Amish settlement of Lebanon Pennsylvania. Richard from Amish Stories.

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