Monday, September 20, 2010

Situation Salvaged

Picture taken 8-29-10 on one of our walks.

Well, we had the gravel delivered today. Three tons was just about perfect for Chrome's side of the barn. We'll save our money until we can do Zeppelin's side and then out in front of the barn where it gets really muddy. We got a good price on it, but it sure adds up lol. I got most of it raked out flat but there is still a mound of it in the center. I wore out lol after cleaning out the whole barn earlier in the day. :)

I wanted to work with Chrome in the daylight with the gravel, but due to things beyond my control I wasn't able to feed the animals until after dark. I'm really disappointed in myself, but I have to remind myself humans make mistakes. We can't always control out emotions. He followed me into his stall like he always does, but when he walked into the gravel he of course went through the deep pile I hadn't raked out yet. The sound and unfamiliar feel of gravel under his hooves totally freaked him out. Her bucked around the stall and bolted to the door where the gravel didn't reach. He almost ran me over which scared me. So on top of being disappointed and aggravated that it was dark, now I was scared.

I went to him and talked to him for a minute then I tried to lead him into the gravel. He absolutely refused. I tried bribing him with food but I was being impatient. The mosquitoes were chewing me to pieces and at the point I was highly frustrated. I finally started swinging the rope at his haunches but all the resulted in was him smashing me up against the corral panels (okay I'm exaggerating a bit, but it did get tight). I finally hit myself in the head and realized that scaring him wasn't going to make the situation better. I hate myself when I revert back to the old ways of training that I grew up with. It makes me want to beat my head against a wall.

So when I realized what I was doing I turned all that frustration, aggravation and anger inward onto myself. I sat myself down in the stall and cried. I had the bucket of feed at my feet and after a few minutes Chrome stepped right up to the gravel and leaned forward to nibble out of the bucket. His valiant effort made me smile and pulled me out of my pity party. I started talking encouragingly to him again and inching the bucket ever so slowly away.

Once he'd brought his rear hooves right up to his front hooves and was leaning as far as he possibly could he finally put a front hoof in the gravel. The sound startled him and he retreated but I gave him a bite of feed to encourage him. The next time he put a front hoof in the gravel he left it there because I basically shoved the bucket under his nose. After that it was just a matter of inching slowly away.

When we got almost to where his bucket normally hangs he finally put a rear hoof in the gravel. This startled him again and he took a huge leap forward toward the back of the stall, smushing me against the fence again (I was standing on the cross ties against the fence to protect my feet). I put a hand on his shoulder and stuffed the bucket under his nose. So he stood there with his butt to the back of the barn and ate out of his bucket like he always does, but he refused to even move a step.

I talked to him and scratched his wither, chest and belly while he ate. Once he'd finished and was cleaning up the crumbs I stepped over his bucket and walked along the cross tie until I got to the gate, then I opened it and stood watching him. The little pill actually had the nerve to walk out of his stall like nothing had ever happened!!! He didn't act in the least afraid of the feel or sound of the gravel. Never paused, hesitated, spooked, cringed, nothing! Now why couldn't he do that to begin with??

I know that if it had been daylight this never would have happened. The reason it scared him so bad is because he tripped in the deep part because he couldn't see if in the dark. So I'm still frustrated that it turned out that way, but at least we salvaged the situation. He didn't seem to hold it against me that I tried to spook him into the gravel with the end of the lead rope (stupid me). I guess he does sort of trust me. If he were human I'd be tempted to thing he felt sorry for me crying my eyes out for such a stupid reason. Oh well. All is well that ends well. I can work with him again in the morning and I have a feeling by tomorrow night he'll be a pro at gravel. :)

Oh and I'll have pictures up tomorrow. :) It looks really good.


  1. I am so guilty of all the times I've gotten impatient or frustrated with the horses and slipped into old behavior patterns. It happens to all of us. Luckily, the horses are often forgiving. I try to learn from my mistakes and learn from when I've pushed the horses and myself too far.

    Sounds like Chrome will be fine with the gravel, though. I'd love to see pictures!


  2. Well done for bringing the situation right back around. I agree with Mary, sometimes when you're in that situation like that you react without really thinking. I've done it so many times with Star. She's also ultra sensitive to what's beneath her feet. Don't give yourself a hard time about it (I need to take my own advice here, lol!) you've done a great job :)

  3. We all do these things - forgive yourself - he's already forgiven you.

  4. When I couldn't get Lostine in the trailer, I collapsed in exasperation and she pressed her face against my face, gently huffing her breath in my face. That moment made it all worth it. The first time my husband led Bombay across our concrete driveway, Bombay was so startled by the sound of his footsteps that all four legs flew out from underneath him and his hooves struck sparks on the concrete. My neighbor from all the way up the road saw the sparks and yelled, "Holy cow!"

  5. Been there, done that, hated myself--and surprisingly, no harm done. You would think that the horses would remember what happened and hold it against us or be too fearful from the situation. Yet somehow, it all seems to work out. I still hate myself when I slip.


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