In so many ways.
A warm spell, perhaps the last until the end of March.
Calm, a rest from work, a reprise in play, the pasture is melted out, gates open wide, spirits soar and simply run free. A letting loose across the mountain like a warm, fresh breeze. The horses pretend they are wild. They do not need me until feeding time. I let them enjoy their freedom, and watch them as if they were untamed and boundless.
The experiment worked. The stallion, Flying Crow (Fadjurz Ideal) has returned to his herd, and is getting along.
Good old ground work. All it takes is time and patience, but it works wonders. At least, that’s what I’m giving the credit to here. See, my hope was that if doing ground work with a horse improved their manners around me, perhaps my doing ground work with the stallion in and around his herd might remind him that he has to behave around the other horses as well.
For three days, I led him out of his separate pasture and into his herd and spent about fifteen minutes doing work in hand – moving front end, back end, backing up, longing, and leading. A subtle and simple dance under my lead, with his herd members flocking about him perhaps in curiosity, perhaps wishing it was they receiving my attentions.
On the forth day, I brought him out to the pasture with his herd, went through the lessons, then took off the halter and let him go. After standing there near me for a few minutes, he finally put his head down and began eating, then milling around his family. But not chasing them.
It was one of those things I kept looking out the window for, waiting for. I was sure I’d see it. I was expecting him to “remember” how badly he felt the need to run after his 2-year old, Tresjur, to boss his herd around, to give them all chase, cornering the mares and yearlings on one end, and keeping Tresjur far off on the other.
I never saw it. It never came. It never happened. Five days later, I have realized that something worked. I would like to hope I can take the credit for showing him the necessity of behaving around the herd. I would like to think it was all thanks to “ground work.”
What ever it was, something worked. I’m not the only one grateful for it. You can bet young Tresjur is mighty thankful. Was it the ground work? Maybe. I’m always amazed what it can do. Regardless, we’ve got a bunch a happier horses out there, and a happier person in here watching them all get along.