HORSE HABITS LEARNED FROM OTHER HORSES

Dog chores are done, and I head outside to start morning horse feeding. The horses see me coming and some nicker their morning greeting, while others go, "Man, not her again". Those would be the ones who had their feet trimmed late yesterday afternoon. I keep telling them, it’s for their own good, but some don’t listen. Especially my old Lady mare. Twenty five years old and still hates to have her feet done. Good as gold with the farrier but dang near impossible to catch for a week afterwards. She is just insulted to no end, having anything done with her or for her. Getting dewormed or her shots, well, forget about her being happy to see me for two weeks. She is boss mare, and when she leaves the corral at a dead run, heading for the wide open space of the pasture, she takes the whole bunch with her. Some of the younger ones have learned from her, that sometimes humans are to be avoided if at all possible. It takes a lot of patient extra work to handle a filly that follows Lady’s see a human and flee teachings. Yes, horses learn behavior from other horses, as in their dams when they are young and herd bosses.

Another thing about Lady is her having to sneak up on a water trough to take a drink. Once there, it can take her well over an hour to actually take a drink. She must check out everything in the yard and if something isn’t to her liking, a human pushing a wheel barrow, a Magpie on the top of a post to close to her, anything, then no way, will she lower her nose into that trough and drink. Now, remember that she is boss horse, and nobody drinks until she is done. They all look so pathetic, waiting in line for their turn while Lady makes sure the coast is clear. And yes, one of her colts was separated from her for over a year, before he learned to just go take a drink. Because Mom says this could be a dangerous situation, I will be some nervous just like her while at that water trough. Learned behavior, folks.
 

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