A wake up call

Somewhere in the depths of this blog I have written how I would receive a message from Ben to “wake up!”

That was back in the day when Rosie was with us. (How strange that already that feels like a long time ago.) And that message was particularly strong in the early days. I learned to become very present at all times around Ben. When he had Rosie to protect he could become quite anxious and consequently quite aggressive at times.

Now Ben can relax. Cloud is in charge and those edgy, aggressive moments have disappeared and Ben, the cooperative willing friend has been at my side all the time, making time spent with him pleasurable and easy. So without realising, I have slipped in my state of alertness and have become more automatic and distracted around them both, Ben in particular.

Today, I wanted to do some work with them both in the picadero. They were both there with me as I was getting organised. I stooped to pick up a headcollar and suddenly found myself knocked to the ground – by Ben. I was not hurt, but I was horrified. What I think happened was that Cloud pushed Ben and Ben moved out of his way taking no account of me. Maybe he saw me as smaller, stooping to the ground and certainly not aware of what was going on. Maybe he was just not aware of me. Anyway – I woke up.

I drove Ben out of the picadero, closed the fence and started to herd Cloud. I felt I should start with the dominant horse. In the end Cloud was listening to me, responding to every move I made. He stopped beside Ben at one stage, who was standing just outside the fence, and I turned away and Cloud left Ben and came to me. When I opened the fence he stuck with me. I produced a bucket with some treats and he waited until I allowed him eat.

Then I went to Ben. I have done work around buckets of food many times with Ben. To my surprise he was far pushier than Cloud. I have done myself and Ben no favours by ignoring this side of our interaction. I have taken him for granted and have not had the alertness and presence that he requires and has asked for many times from me.

So I have had a valuable wake up call today. I also realised something else. I have been anxious not to interfere with my daughter’s relationship with Cloud and have deliberately taken a back seat with Cloud, just making sure some basics were in place. Cloud needs and deserves me to be as clear and present with him as I should be with Ben.



Filed under ground work

7 responses to “A wake up call

  1. I think sometimes we all fall into that comfortable not paying attention attitude around our horses. I’ve done it and been surprised once in a while too. Never did get knocked over though, glad you’re okay. You’re right we need to be clear and present with all our horses all of the time. Thanks for reminding me.

    • Arlene, I do think that Ben was just rushing out of Cloud’s way. He tends to panic a bit when Cloud pushes him. It has made me focus on Cloud and reinforce a rule I once had with Ben and Rosie: when I am around the dominant horse cannot push the other one.

  2. Horses never fail to wake us up, again and again, as often as necessary ;-)!

  3. I am very careful with Cody when the pony is anywhere near as I once got “swept along” when the pony came into the stall with Cody with me unawares. Cody tried to miss me as he sailed through the stall door, but his momentum literally caught me up and pulled me with him. It was bizarre. I didn’t hit anything but I could feel my neck whip back and forth and I got very shaken by the whole thing. Cody loses all sense of people when the pony comes into his space.

    I’m also very behind so have many of your posts to read!

    • Billie, I know what it is like to have blogs to catch up on. I feel way behind. Cody’s response to the pony’s push feels just like Ben’s when Cloud pushes him.