January 3, 2007
Chicken broke horse -- NOT!
The Holidays brought a new horse to our ranch. Three and a half years
old, he's young enough to be a handful but old enough to ride. He likes
to check things out and like all youngsters he uses his mouth and nose
to explore everything. For instance, he's the first horse who figured
out how to turn on a faucet that's been next to our pasture for ten
years. No other horse ever touched it, but in fifteen seconds he'd turned
it on. We turned it off, and he cheerfully reached out and turned it
back on. That faucet is now covered with a horse-proof shield.
But mostly he's never "been to town" so he is worried about
all of the new things and animals around our property. Specifically,
our chicken house was a very scary place. All those noises and smells
and moving creatures that could be DANGEROUS.
Once we realized he was afraid chickens, I caught one of our old hens
and stood in the yard. My husband lead the horse over to where he could
see and smell the hen in my arms. Imagine a 1000 pound extremely curious
dog sniffing a chicken. He snuffled all over the hen, nosed her, gently
licked her and after about thirty seconds decided that she
Then the gelding was very curious about the henhouse,
which had just been cleaned and was full of fresh straw. But when my
sister emerged carrying the day's eggs in a wire egg basket our new
horse was again ready to head for the hills. I looked down at the unharmed
hen. Maybe the horse just needed to see what the eggs were.
"Let him sniff the eggs," I said. Famous last words. Two sniffs.
Everything seemed fine but then the basket was grabbed by the mouthy
gelding and all eggs went flying! Fortunately, we have sheepdogs, so
things came out even and in a few seconds all that was left were eggshells
on the ground.
But now we have a chicken-broke horse. Next step is to find a rent-a-llama...