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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Echo escaped.

In between rain showers I was innocently weeding my world famous strawberry trough, minding my own business, and for some reason I turned around and looked towards the corrals. I saw the unmistakable sight of a newly liberated horse running with his wild herd mate.

Just as I spotted them, Brad and William pulled up to the corrals and saw the whole caper. I quickly drove over there to sort them out. That corral is the last place I want those two mustangs having one of their knock down, drag out play fights. It has wooden posts with panels in between, which would be perfectly good for horses but the wooden posts are old and need to be replaced. Years ago I remember seeing bulls fighting in there, oblivious of the fences, and whirl around and around and go right through them. Bulls and cows are much harder on fences than horses but I still didn't want the lads getting into a rumble there.

As I drove up I saw Echo trying to graze and Wildairo biting his bum wanting some action. Brad and I started to open up gates and stuff and when I turned around to looked at the mustangs I saw they had both dropped to their knees and were trying biting each others legs. It was the start of their well choreographed wild horse play. I knew where this was going. But then Wildairo looked over at us and saw gates wide open so he jumped up because Wildairo has never seen an open gate he didn't want to go through. And go through the gate he did! He ploughed through the sloshy mud like a big tank and parked himself in a small pen, and just like that, we had him secured.

Echo got back to unmolested grazing. Now came the big test, would Echo let me near him or even let me get him in? Brad went near him and he bolted off snorting. I thought I was in for trouble. I approached Echo but it never occurred to him to run from me. He was happy for me to put my arms around his neck and give him a cuddle. He even followed me a little bit!

Suddenly it occurred to me while I'd been teaching Echo tricks and monkeying around, I'd never taught him the best trick of all...standing in the open and letting someone put a rope around your neck or put a halter on. So I had to rely on all the monkeying around and games we played to get him in. He knew the sign for apple and step up and followed me back through the gate. Brad and William were behind him a ways to give him a little encouragement.

I was so proud of the lads coming in like that and not acting silly. The grass is long and inviting out there. I let Echo graze a bit on it but not too long because he's not used to it like Wildairo is.

Last year Brad rebuild part of the corrals and made it so the gates could be opened easy with one hand or one horse nose. Wildairo had slid the latch open and pushed the gate open towards Echo. Now they are tied or chained closed.

Since the big escape I taught Echo how to stand still while I fashion a lead rope into a make shift halter to lead him. We did half a dozen times and he's really fine with it. He also leads with the rope around his neck. I just have to be careful not to swing the rope around too much but he'll get used to even that. I also have been working on lifting his hooves. I have managed to lift up the front two although I only keep his hoof up for a few seconds. He loves the clapping, hugs and congratulations he gets afterwards for being a good boy. I'm still working on getting him used to me messing about with his back hooves and legs. I don't believe rushing this little horse is productive.

I also learned that Echo is extremely jealous when I give Wildairo kisses. The little stinker was shoving me quiet hard with his nose when I was with Wildairo.


Linda said...

Sounds like they didn't do too badly with each other. What a good boy to go back in for you. Are you going to release him later in the summer?

arlene said...

Yes, I want to let him out in the big pasture this summer now he's catchable. I don't think I will let the two out together for awhile in a large area. I want Echo to get used to it alone first.