Animals are more intuitive than most people give them credit for. Remi’s certainly not the brightest canine to walk the planet, but she seems to always know when I’m headed downstairs to leave the office instead of taking a trip to the kitchen or bathroom. It’s not that she hears me putting on a coat or readying boots, she’s up and halfway down the stairs before I reach the bottom.
I find the horses at Halcyon Acres® sense a lot of things you might not expect too. What’s amazing is, once you’re able to connect with one or more in a way they understand, you can easily use herd members to help with daily management activities. While training is one way, I tend to prefer asking.
Clover is a lovable brat. She’s an instigator and can be challenging to work with. It’s important to channel her energy and engagement if you want to keep the peace – and your sanity. This six-year-old Registered Irish Draught Sport Horse is clever, athletic and has a sense of humor (really). I know I probably shouldn’t, but I can’t help but chuckle watching as she gets the herd racing around on slippery ground, maneuvers an instant 90-degree turn at 35 mph and then watches as others try to follow and start skidding and flopping to the ground as hoofs come out from under them. I swear you can almost hear her giggling.
Recently, deep snow, biting winds and too many layers of clothes have slowed me down at feeding times. There are a few rules that are non-negotiable at the farm. Kicking up heels near the meal ticket is one of them. So is being rude by grabbing at food before it’s laid out. Sometimes, though, when winds are whipping and excitement is flowing, they can’t help themselves.
Clover started this (of course). She began sniping at the bales before they were opened and distributed and others followed her lead. I let her know I had enough – and targeted her with the message. She got it and also seemed to sense I could use some help. Who knows what goes on in her mind sometimes. Whether it’s a genuine effort to help and protect me (she’s done this enough before it’s not a stretch) or a conviction that if she couldn’t grab, no one else was going to either, but the end result was incredible.
Instead of viewing the gate as the entryway to a shark tank, I feel more like Moses as a wide path is cleared in front of and around me as hay is doled out. The first day or two there was some chasing and circling as Clover let every herd member know if they came within ten feet of me they’d incur her wrath. Now, except for the occasional glare, she doesn’t have to do anything. Thanks, Clover!
Horses seem to love to have a job – even if it’s a simple one. Think about selecting a horse to help you with a task and you might be surprised at how they jump in with solutions. Do you have a fun horse story to tell? Please share in the comments below.