Anyone who owns or works with horses will know that they are incredibly intuitive, especially when it comes to their routine. They associate objects or movements with what comes next and often act accordingly. From little things like shouting at you when you come out of the feed room, to knowing what days different people are looking after them, here are some of my favourite things horses around me have learnt.
Wheelbarrow = Staying In
The first one I want to talk about is something Scottie does. My usual morning routine is to arrive and go straight to Jojo to turn her out. When I get back to the yard I pretty much turn Scottie straight out. Scottie loves going out and walks straight out of his stable in the morning.
However, if Jojo isn’t going out and I need to wait for another horse to go out first, I make a start on my jobs. Usually grabbing a wheelbarrow on my way to Scottie’s stable. When Scottie see’s the wheelbarrow he knows he isn’t going it out. Once the headcollar is on and the stable door is open, I have to drag him out the stable to tie him up so I can muck out.
Turn Out Alarm
The way our fields are laid out, I have to walk through Dee’s field to get to Scottie’s field. While Dee would probably be absolutely fine to take Scottie through, her own never wants to take the risk, which is perfectly fair! So she always waits for ours to go out first before putting Dee out.
However, since Dee’s owner sometimes has to leave for work a lot earlier than me, she gets Dee ready to go out and I put her out after I put Scottie out. Now, most mornings Dee is incredibly quiet, but on the days I do do her, she shouts at me all morning until I get to her. Some mornings she even knows I am turning her out before I do!
Her owner doesn’t even need to message me any more! I know that if Dee is shouting hysterically at me I am putting her out!
Travel Boots = Poo Machine
Now I’m sure Scottie isn’t unusual in that travelling anywhere means stress poo! Now I think Scottie actually enjoys being out and to be honest, I don’t think he minds being on the lorry either. Scottie’s stress is in the loading. He stands at the bottom of the ramp unsure as to if he wants to go on or not and can find the idea of going on quite stressful. But as soon as he is on with his haynet, he is happy as larry.
Now, Scottie starts getting anxious when the travel boots come out. As soon as he realises they are going on, he empties his entire digestive system until we are on the lorry!