Monday, October 8, 2012

The Tasting Game

The farrier was here last week trimming the miniature horses hooves. He's a young guy but I think he knows his way around horses pretty good. I, on the other hand, can honestly say I don't know horses all that well. Yes I've owned horses now for going on eight years but when it comes to training them, I know nothing. This is evident in the fact that I have a almost eight year old miniature horse that has been biting ever since I brought him home as a six month old colt. Rocky has gotten away with everything because I have no clue how to correct him. It started out as him just being "mouthy." He would put everything in his jacket, my shoes, buckets and so forth. I didn't mind him being curious until the mouthing turned into biting.

He liked testing his boundaries. He would stand there all innocent then casually bend his head around and bite my thigh. I would react and he would race off across the pen. It was a game, a very painful game. I learned quickly not to trust that little horse. Then the biting turned into kicking. He'd bite me, I would yell at him and he'd flip his rear end around and try to kick me. This didn't get dangerous until I became pregnant. Then I didn't get too near that horse without a whip (actually it was a riding crop). He respected me as long as I had that crop in my hands. This went on for years. He eventually grew out of the kicking. But sadly, the biting has remained.

So last Friday I'm standing there holding Rocky's halter while the farrier was trimming his hooves. Most people just hold the lead rope that is connected to the halter. Not me. I stand directly in front of Rocky, face to face, with one hand on each side of the halter. This prevents him from biting the farrier but it also pisses him off. So that little horse stands there and gets more and more agitated that he can't move his head. The farrier is getting agitated because the horse is antsy.

Farrier: "You have to stop holding his halter like that, NO horse likes being held like that."
Me: "I'm holding him like this so he doesn't take a chunk out of your shoulder."
Farrier: "You think he'll bite me?"
Me: "Um, yes? He bit the last farrier and he bites me all the time."
Farrier: "Why do you let him bite you?"
Me: "I don't know how to get him to stop."

So he instructed me to just hold the lead rope and see what Rocky does. Of course he sniffed the farriers shirt and carefully put it in his mouth. That guy jumped to his feet and pushed that horse as hard as he could. Almost pushed the horse over. Rocky had no idea what had just happened. I could hardly keep from laughing at the incredulous look on that horses face. The farrier went back to work on his front hooves as if nothing had happened and again Rocky carefully sniffed him and once again tried tasting his pants this time. Before he knew it that horse was once again being shoved five feet. Rocky didn't try "tasting" the farrier again. Perhaps I will try the shoving technique. If anything it was worth a laugh.