Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Change it up

Most horses--like most cats, dogs and humans--can have a hard time with change. Calabar is no different and may in fact be a little bit more hard over on the "I like it this way" side of things. Nevertheless, in all things the only constant is change. And in this case, it was a matter of one horse's change leading to a big change for my own big brown horse.

Our newest rehab, Lucky Culprit, is a drop-dead gorgeous 17 hand Off-Track Thoroughbred. He is drool worthy. Seriously. But.. he was a bit nervous about switching from his tried and true routine at the track to this wide open paddock in the boonies of Sebastopol. To counteract his change of scenery and switch to this more rural lifestyle, he amused himself by chewing on the trees in his new wide open paddock. .

Lucky Culprit (Clyde) and his buddy Karen
This is not a productive use of an OTTBs time and the barn owner prefers that trees stay standing, especially since they provide shelter and shade for said paddock.

The facility is, however, full--unless we were to put Lucky (aka Clyde) in a stall which seemed like a not so good plan--so we needed another alternative. In this case, it was swapping Clyde with Calabar which seemed like a simple solution.

Simple to us, not so much to Calabar.

"Where am I?!" "Why am I HERE, wherever that is, and not where I belong?!" Zoom, zoom, spin, buck, rear, repeat.

I admit this is my fault. He has been in the same paddock for five years, followed roughly the same routine and watched the barn activity from the same vantage point the whole time. Might have been good to change things up a little but, as they say, hindsight does not need glasses.

Clyde settled in nicely between Lena and Dixie and the two mares threw Calabar over like an old pair of dancing shoes. Hopefully, Calabar won't know this since he is across the property from all the shameless flirting.

This was not the birthday present my horse envisioned. (He turned 13 yesterday--yep, April Fools day. It suits him.) Carrot cake, apples, jumping over things--all of this would have been acceptable. A whole new place in space? Not so much.

He took two days or so to settle in and is still in super watchful mode. He does appreciate being the first horse everyone greets when they pull in and the last horse they wave to on their way out. But. Forrest is not Lena. The mules next door are weird looking. He has to learn a whole new routine and it is unsettling. He is unsettled. Or he was. Today I noticed a very large, flattened place in the mud with a roughly Calabar-shaped outline indicating nappage. It coincided with the evenly-placed mud on the Thoroughbred who moseyed up to me to get his treats.

He is still concerned. I get a giraffe every now and then--head up, eyes wide--but it's a little less every day. On the plus side, he is turning to me for comfort and guidance and Clyde seems to have given up chewing in favor of flirting, so perhaps this will be a good learning tool for all of us.

In the meantime, I am reassuring Calabar with routine--still doing the same stuff, just starting from a slightly different place at the farm.

I think in the long run (or maybe even the short it will be good for him. It is in fact something we should have done with him before, if only to break up the herd-bound behavior between Lena and Calabar.

Back to hindsight and better vision.

Just when I think I've had an epiphany, something smacks me in the back of the head and reminds me how much more I have to learn. In this case, it's two big, brown Off-TrackThoroughbreds showing me this piece of the universe I've missed.

Not such bad teachers as it turns out--not so bad at all.

1 comment:

Jenn said...

Hehehe! It's funny how the things we take for granted, the things we see "no big deal" in they find upsets their whole universe! I hope the new arrangements works out for everyone...I had a horse who ate trees regularly, it's not an easy habit to break or deal with.