Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Playing chase with my horse

This evening I went out to the barn, not to ride, but to spend a little time with my horse.

While I was there, another owner showed up. While we were chatting, Panama started getting impatient — he's had a hard time standing and waiting in the cross ties since they started being able to graze in the green pasture (which he can see from the cross ties). He actually got into quite a bit of trouble for pawing the ground, but once he started behaving himself again I decided to turn him out into the green pasture after all.

Panama didn't even get through the gate before he stopped and started grazing. I had to push him the rest of the way through so that I could close the gate. I decided he needed to be harassed a little, so I started twirling the lead rope and chasing him around the pasture.

The last barn I was at had an oval arena, and I used to chase him around it regularly, but I haven't done it much since I moved him to this barn back in December. It used to be quite a tradition, though, and Panama seemed to enjoy it as much as I did — he would buck and dance as he ran from me, just like he used to when he played with his donkey friend.

Tonight Panama seemed to be especially excited about our little game of chase. He flagged his tail as he ran, something I haven't seen him do in a long time (primarily because he doesn't do it during lunging or training — he holds his tail up, but not all the way up). Flagging the tail is a characteristic of Arabian horses, and since I like that Panama is part Arabian, I was thrilled to see him acting like one!

Here is a photograph of an Arabian horse flagging his tail:

Arabian horse flagging his tail
Photo by Aline Sagrabelny

Panama also threw a couple of nice bucks while I was chasing him (though he was cautious about it, and always made sure he was far enough away from me when he bucked, as he got into a lot of trouble about a month ago for bucking too close to me).

I'd forgotten how much fun it is to play chase with my horse. I'll have to do it more often now that we have both rediscovered our little game!

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