Friday, September 10, 2010

Music Appreciation

I was listening to the NPR jazz broadcast yesterday evening as I drove over to take care of the horses and turn them out into the large pasture for the night. I left my truck door open so that I could listen to the music as I fed Brandy. I then walked down to let the other horses out of the lower pasture. Everyone got a treat...I know, I know, a very bad habit to start but they do love it and with the exception of sometimes naughty Django, they are all very polite about it... although diva Mouse always grumbles that I'm too slow dispensing them and also insists on always going first. After Mouse and Danny received their treats, Mouse took off at a trot and led Danny up the hill and through the double gates that cross the road that divides the pastures. The boys were wanting a little extra attention so I spent some time with them. Riley especially has turned into a regular love bug over the last year and half since he moved here. In the beginning, he was so stand-offish and the least affectionate of any of my horses. Then we went through over half a year when it was a battle any time I tried to catch and halter him. In his defense, he was staying at a friend's barn and someone there had put a halter on and left it when they turned him out. He'd obviously gotten it caught on something and the next day his face was covered with sores and his right ear was cut from one side to the other. So, it is no wonder that he became extremely head shy. Oddly, all of that fear on his part and frustration on mine changed quite suddenly in a matter of weeks. I started by just trying to get him to let me pet him a bit without him moving away. The scratching started on his back and then I slowly moved to his head. Before I knew it, he was actually leaning his head into me as I petted or brushed him and then he stopped running away when I pulled out the halter. It helped that Huston showed me how to make a halter from a rope with a loop on one end that I could hide in my pocket and slip on  around his neck. Once Riley realized that I wasn't going to hurt him with the halter, he was a changed horse. And he also seems to love affection more than any of the other horses now. Django who is jealous of all of the horses and any attention that they're getting that he's not, lol, is always standing beside us and usually sniffing my pockets to see if there are any forgotten treats hiding there. I think the boys might have stood there all night as long as I was petting and scratching them but I had to get back to the house and start dinner. As I started walking up the hill to leave, Riley and Django walked along on either side of me. When I reached the gate, Danny spotted me. He whinnied and came running down the hill to see me. Django quickly moved to block Danny's access to me and then started nipping the little guy on the back to move him back into the other pasture. When Danny reached the other side of the fence, his ears suddenly perked up and he seemed to have forgotten that Django was even there. He walked over and leaned across the fence, virtually putting his head inside the truck cab to listen to the music. He was fascinated. He stood there for several minutes and then he started quietly grazing but staying close to the truck and the music with his ears still up, alert, and listening. I managed to get around Django and I started petting Danny but when Ella Fitzgerald started singing, Danny deserted me and stretched his neck and head across the fence once again to get as close to the music as possible. Once the song was over he relaxed and came back to my side. Evidently commercials held little interest for him....much the same with me. Who knew that I was raising a little horse with such good musical tastes?

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