Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Day 2: A Herd of Three
I decided on a low-key day for yesterday's session. I want to keep Cricket guessing when I ask her to catch me and I am still developing rapport with Bleu. The weather has been excruciatingly hot and sticky and the horses' coats are matted and dirty. I decided a good grooming was in order. As part of the session I wanted to work on building our herd of three.
Bleu is not sure about being caught. She loves the safety of her run and as a RBI isn't so sure leaving is all that good of a thing. I spent the time I needed to catch her attention and interest. At one point she walked up but couldn't touch me. I was able to use light pressure (i.e. let me halter your butt) and she turned, faced and allowed me to halter her.
With Bleu in tow, I headed towards Cricket's stall. Cricket, waiting out in her run, was interested but not wholly convinced she should come to me. I just called to her and she finally came to the door so I could halter her.
Cricket is the alpha of the herd and has the right to push Bleu around. Except when I'm there. And that was part of what last night was to enforce. Setting us up for success, I sent Cricket out in front, driving from Z3/4, and allowed Bleu to trail at whatever distance she felt comfortable. After all, she doesn't yet know that I can protect her from Cricket.
I hitched both girls to the arena rail - Cricket in a blocker tie ring and Bleu with her rope loosely wrapped around a post. I alternated grooming each horse. First Cricket, then Bleu then more Bleu and then back to Cricket.
Cricket loves a good grooming. You can dig and scratch and curry and she just gets into it. Bleu is a little more sensitive. I was pleased, however, with how well she accepted the currying and brushing. I take it as a small sign that her reserve is cracking and she's more accepting of me touching her.
After grooming it was doctoring. Cricket has a bad belly spot already. So I put some Swat on her mid-line. Bleu has another "hickey." This is the worst bite Dillon has given her. I swear I'm about to tie that gelding's mouth shut! I've toyed with putting Bleu in a run by herself but I feel the companionship is more important. When I drive up, Dillon and Bleu are nose-to-tail, swatting flies for each other. When I get her fly sheet back on her, it should offer her a little protection.
I led both mares out, side by side, to the pasture gate. Bleu was very close to Cricket's butt and my sweet girl just accepted it. I was so proud of how she accepted my leadership and didn't so much as flick an ear towards Bleu. I squeezed Bleu between Cricket and the gate and the allowed Cricket to follow.
I turned Cricket loose and she just put her head down to eat. I un-haltered Bleu and she headed straight for Dillon, nickering - the poster child for Battered Mare Syndrome. I turned everybody else out and turned to head home. My Principessa asked for more scratches so I spent a few more minutes loving on her.