Watching the new herd dynamics here at Prospect Riding Center I can’t help think of my own behavior. Why?
As we are building our business, we need horses. A therapeutic equine activities horse/mule has to be a cut above when it is considered for a therapeutic program. Needing a variety of horses in size and skill levels to meet participants needs is a challenge.
We added ‘Axel’ to the herd this past week. He is in his second week of evaluation. When we brought him home as with any new animal, we allowed him time to adjust and get to know us and his surroundings. He picked up on our routine and seemed to be falling in place.
The question always being, how will they get along as a herd? Our first reaction was a dramatic one, he was very unfriendly to our littlest mule ‘Lucy’. So unfriendly it was a red flag. We needed to figure out why and what was going on and how to make this work.
As we moved the herd around and took care with introductions, we discovered the herd boss is the mare ‘Babe’. Axel towers over her in size, but backs down in submission. When ever her two herd mates Lucy & Roosevelt (another mule) get too close or play too rough, Babe steps in. She does this from where ever she is in the field. As we watched for hours you could see her instinctively heading off confrontation. Babe is a good lesson horse. A quiet don’t bother me attitude and never seems to be too attentive to people. She usually rests while grooming, and gives little reaction to attention. Who knew she would ‘care’ when it came to herd management?
My weakness is applying human thought to the animals. I entertain myself knowing that what I think can have nothing to do with what is going on.
There is the therapeutic part. “What I think can have nothing to do with what is going on”, wow! Bang head here!
Babe’s behavior is instinctive. We too have instincts, do we take the time to listen to them, trust them?
Living on the ranch can slow life down a bit and make me think. What is in your life that helps you slow down and listen, listen to yourself?