Life on the farm with the Man…and our critters…

Growing pains…

It never occurred to me that my horse, Alex, might go through some behaviors once he moved home to the Farm, especially since he was so sick upon arrival.  It’s quite clear now, though, that the horse I fell in love with two years ago has a bratty side to him that he was keeping tucked away.  Now that he is on the fast track to robust health, he has decided to take away the dominance crown that Diva was proudly wearing.  He throws a fit if we don’t acknowledge him first with everything, from scritches to grain, to who goes out into the paddock first.  At first, it was a little cute, because it showed he was feeling better, and it was mostly centered around his feeding time.  He was used to fighting a large herd of horses for his share of food, and we figured it would pass in time.  It dawned on the Man and I this morning that maybe we now had a problem on our hands.  More experienced horse owners might have picked up on it a little quicker and put the brakes to it, but it took us a few days to realize that we have the horse version of Nellie Olsen on our hands.  The odd part is that the tantrum is never aimed at us, but at Diva, the queen of sweetness.  The ears go back and the hooves start stamping, with a swift kick to the stall wall for good measure.  Horses aren’t like dogs and cats, or even parrots, so we aren’t quite sure how to deal with this behavior.  I put in a call to the vet this morning for advice, and it will be interesting to see what they recommend.  This evening will be spent pouring through the web to see what I can find that other horse owners have written about it.  Hopefully, we can turn Alex away from the dark side before he starts directing his tantrums towards us.  The hardest part will be not letting him see me giggle when he stomps his feet…

3 responses

  1. Ruby Bryer

    Good morning Rick. Kim went through a problem with one of her horse’s. Not sure which one but one of them was chaseing another one around the pasture biteing him on the back of the neck. Not sure what she did about it but she may have had to keep them in separate pastures for awhile. Email her or call her and ask her about it before Diva get’s hurt.

    Love, Aunt Ruby

    November 9, 2011 at 8:47 am

  2. It’s only when they are in their stalls, Aunt Ruby…so she never actually gets touched by him…I will talk to Kim though…

    Rick

    November 9, 2011 at 9:07 am

  3. Anonymous

    Hey,

    It sounds like he is just going to be the dominant one. I wouldn’t worry about him turning his aggression towards you at this point. As long as he is not seriously hurting Diva, I would let him do his thing. If you try to get in the middle of it, for instance if Alex wants to come in first and you try to bring in Diva, you are liable to get hurt by accident. If you are in a situation where the two horses are competing in an open space than let Alex handle it and let him have his way. If they are in their stalls than anything goes. Kicking the walls and such is completely natural, it happens every day in my barn. It is just their way of saying “stay the hell away from my food”. Alex is probably becoming food aggressive because he went for so long without it. One of my guys used to kick and buck and go crazy every time I would feed him, but I just worked with him slowly. I just starting out touching his shoulder on the way out the door for a second and then for a few seconds and then 30 seconds and so on. I used to have to basically throw the food at him, but now I can stand in his stall and pet him while he eats. This bratty side may just become a permanent part of his personality, but in time you will get used to it and learn to love it. We now call my bratty guy “King Freedom”…………………..

    Love ya,

    Kim

    November 9, 2011 at 11:10 pm

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