Monday, April 27, 2009

My birthday at the barn

As I mentioned in my last post, yesterday was my birthday — and of course the perfect birthday would have to involve spending some time at the barn, so that's what I did! I even managed to talk my husband into coming by guilt-tripping him about it being my birthday!

We also decided to bring the dogs — both dogs this time. I had taken Grace to the barn earlier in the week, and I was interested to see how Emma would do. She actually did very well — she didn't seem too scared of the horses, and is in general more laid back than Grace, which is good when you're around animals easily scared by unpredictability!

Unfortunately, with two dogs and a horse to manage, both hubby and I had our hands full, and didn't get any pictures. So you'll have to wait until next time for the visuals!

We started out just by taking the two dogs into the back pasture and shutting the gates. The two of them ran around together and just in general wore themselves out. Then I decided to go halter up Panama and bring him into the back pasture with us.

Michael, being a bit nervous around horses himself, of course was even more scared for Emma (his first dog, and therefore his favorite — poor Grace!). I don't think he took her off the leash the entire time I had Panama in the back pasture with us — even when I tied him up to groom him! Well, no, I guess he did unhook the leash toward the end at my prompting. Emma, of course, just stood there.

I actually think Emma might be better suited to be a barn dog than Grace. She is laid-back and predictable, has absolutely no interest in herding the horses, and actually spent most of her time ignoring Panama. She would literally sit and look at things in the other direction! I did take her leash once and walk her right up to Panama — they sniffed noses, and then Emma decided she was ready to go, and I didn't push it. I was just glad she hadn't shown any fear!

Grace, on the other hand, was almost oblivious to the horses yesterday. When I was leading Panama and when I had him tied, she passed right under his feet several times. I think my heart about stopped every time, but Panama took it like a pro. The only hiccup was when I was tying him, and she passed right under his front end. He immediately bent his head and opened his mouth to bite one of her big ears! Luckily I had my hand under his throat at that moment, and was able to keep him from being able to get close enough. He got into big trouble for that one.

While I groomed Panama, Michael hung out about fifteen feet away with both dogs. He had Emma leashed, of course, but Grace was loose and kept trying to come up to me. Michael would usually call her back before I could say anything, and after a while I think she figured out that she wasn't to get too close. But I told him that next time I want him to let me do the commands, because I want to teach her a fairly precise distance that she is to stay — and I want to teach her that approaching the back end of a horse is not okay.

So far, so good, though. I think with some more exposure both Emma and Grace will be very good around horses!

I really didn't get to do much else, other than playtime with the dogs and grooming Panama. (You should have seen the amount of hair I took off of him, by the way!) But it really made my (birth)day to get out to the barn and spend some time with my horse!



At April 27, 2009 at 5:40 PM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Happy belated birthday, Katharine!

At April 27, 2009 at 5:44 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Thanks, NM! :-D


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