A learning experience

smart-horse Since I’m not capable of much else besides standing around, and the whole ‘far niente’-thing is driving me up the walls, I have started doing some ground exercises with the Frisian gelding Jelle. He has been gelded at a late age, so he tends to suffer from phantom testicles sometimes. Funnily enough he is also a bit of a woos. These traits combined result in him trotting around like he’s a full stallion, running headlong towards me and then skidding to a halt when it turns out I’m still standing there.

He’s a smart horse though. Today I’ve been trying to work with him in the paddock behind the farm while the other horses were out front. This arrangement was apparently not to Jelle’s liking and he expressed this to me by breaking away several times before I could even put him in the working paddock. After he’d done his ‘me big stallion’ routine a few times, we finally got to do some touch exercises; I’d ask him to touch my hand for a small food reward. We were doing okay until he wandered away from me. He quietly started nibbling on one of the fence posts, took the tip of it between his teeth and pulled it out of the ground. Before I could stop him he’d daintily stepped over the fence wire and walked right back to his stable. Cheeky bastard.

Unwilling to have the exercise end there I went after him. He would follow me willingly to the paddock up to a certain distance and would then turn around and head for the stables again. I had gone after him a few times, only to have the scenario repeat itself. He’d follow me and then he’d just wander away whenever he felt like it. With Jelle’s umpteenth triumphant return to the stable I’d had it and went to get my stuff from the paddock. I picked up the book I’d been using and stood there reading for a while, trying to figure out where I had messed up. All of a sudden I felt a nose against my hand. His imminence was fed up with waiting for me and wanted to play again.

Oh well.. you live you learn.

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