Thursday, December 18, 2008
Brrr, it's getting a bit chilly out there. Tuesday it was 2 degrees, right now it's snowing. Duke has quite the winter coat...he looks like a big plushy toy.
But he still enjoys his daily roll, mud and all.
Pre-snow rolling, of course.
Last week during his daily turn out he engaged in a little friendly game of sparing with another gelding.
Mr. Tough Guy. Ears pinned, nostrils flared, seriously mean look. "Back off!" He looks very serious, but this is all what makes horses who and what they are. Everything they do is driven by order, establishing a hierarchy...a pecking order. In a herd of two or more, there can only be one leader.
When I'm around, when it's just me and Duke, I'm the leader. It's taken me months to earn Duke's trust. Every day he tests me because horses vote for their leader every day. Every day he checks to see if I'm paying attention, if I'll let him get away with this little thing or that. He's teaching me a lot.
And when I watch him interact with another horse, I've observed something interesting. The dominance games he used to play on me are now directed at other horses.
Another gelding checks out the scene.