Travels With Milton, Successfully Going Nowhere

Horsekeeping

Lucky enough to have a horse.

 
Milton took his first step towards being given freedom of the pasture when left alone. Rodney has had this privilege for a while. He has much less separation anxiety than Milton does. [Rodney’s Semi-Permanent Gold Star]

For this adventure, Rodney was loaded up and driven around the block. It went so well, we extended the experience by a second lap. Probably 20 minutes all told. I stood by, armed with a grain bucket and cookies.

Things Milton Did Not Do
Trot up and down the fenceline.

Repeatedly scream his fool head off.

Gallop around the field like an idiot.

Wind himself ever tighter.

Require me to throw myself in front of him with a rattling grain bucket in order to moor the runaway zeppelin.

Eat any of the three hay piles left for him in the stall, run-in shed, or pasture.

Things Milton Did
Some light fenceline stalking.

A bit of trotting.

2-3 amazingly loud screams.

One pass around the field at a gallop. I swear he was running down to cow corner to see if Rodney was there. [Cow TV]

Lots of walking and standing.

He stared at the driveway. He walked into the stall to look out of the window and stare at the driveway.

Lots of treats. I knew I should let him process on his own, but it’s hard not to jump in to calm the situation with a cookie.

Toward the end, I could see him gradually unwinding. Not so much that he was relaxed as that he didn’t want to put the energy into being hysterical [The Canadian Horse & The Red Queen detour for background]. It was a shallow vector, but pointed in the right direction.

Verdict
High pass. Wasn’t perfect, but excellent for a first step. We will have to practice a few more times before we can wander off and leave him to his own devices. Next step, less cookie-dispensing on my part, more hay eating on his part.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Categories: Horse Behavior, Horses, Pasture, trailering

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