Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A difference in my horse's behavior

I've noticed some different behavior in my horse since our accident Sunday, when Panama spooked and caused me to fall off in the middle of the road. He's always been vocal about certain things (like getting fed and, sometimes, greeting me), but suddenly he seems to be much more so.

The first time I noticed it was after our trail ride. I put him in the cross ties after we got back, so that I could take the tack off and brush him down. A couple of times when I walked away, he nickered to me as soon as I started back — something he has always done periodically, just usually when I stay away a little longer.

Yesterday the difference was even more obvious. While he stood in the cross ties so my trainer and I could get him ready for his ride, we walked to my car — no more than 10 feet from the cross ties, and within Panama's sight — to get the new saddle we were trying out. As soon as we shut the car door and started back, Panama whinnied to me very loudly.

Later, after the session, I left Panama in cross ties while I talked to Leslie at her truck. Here I wasn't visible to Panama, but I do this pretty much every time we have a training session, so it's nothing unusual. What was unusual was that Panama whinnied to me three times while I stood talking to Leslie. Each time, I popped my head around the cab and called back to him, "I'm still here, Panama."

(Technically, answering the whinnies reinforced them and encouraged him to do it again, but hey — I'm not going to discourage it. It's cute!)

Maybe after our little accident on Sunday, he's a little anxious about me leaving him. After all, to him it probably seemed like I "left" him in the middle of the road. I can't imagine how terrifying it had to be for him, to realize he suddenly had no one with him in an unfamiliar, and clearly very dangerous, place.

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