Friday, July 24, 2009

Trial Separation

We are applying ourselves to preparing for this weaning thing which will hopefully take place after he heals from being gelded, which will hopefully take place on Monday if those testicles stay where they are. They come and go at this age, but Mom and I (and Copy) just can't wait to get those suckers out of there.

I signed up three of our horses for a genetic study conducted by Cornell University, which involves, among other things, taking about 30 detailed measurements of each subject. Since it was raining today, I did the Grey Horse, and was contemplating who to do next. Mom pointed at Copy... "is she next?" Now I had in the back of my mind how I was going to contain Ace while I messed with Copy, but hadn't really made a decision yet. There were several options, but when Mom asked "What are you going to do with Stinky?" my reply slipped out confidently "I'm gonna leave him in there." Everyone had been out earlier, but were indoors because heavy thunderstorms have been rolling through all day. So, I just put their halters on and told Mom to take Copy out of the stall and put her on the cross ties which are the next slot down the aisle from their stall. I had complete confidence that Copy would be fine, but I was interested to see how Ace handled it.

Mom closed the sliding door as she left, and I didn't stay to discuss things with Ace. I unsnapped the lead and slipped out the door myself leaving him to figure things out for himself. He was very good. He circled and called, but did not launch himself against the walls, panic, or otherwise try to squeeze through holes not made for horses. Copy, as predicted, could not have cared less. She nickered back for a minute or two confident in the fact that he was still only 6 feet away, but as I went to work with the tape measure, she rested a hind foot, and tuned him out completely. I'm sure she was hoping I would get out the brushes and resume our old spa routine but unfortunately I didn't have time. Maybe we'll do that tomorrow now that we know we can take Copy out by herself.

After I was done measuring (10-15 minutes) I didn't want to just throw Copy back in the stall with the frustrated little monster, who was calming down anyway, so I had Mom take her out in the arena while I went in and got Ace. I cracked the door open, put a hand in and told him to get back, which he did. Then I went in and snapped a rope on and slid the door open. He reared up and wanted to rush out, so I spoke up to him and made him stand. We then walked through at a controlled, yet eager, pace. Again, I didn't want to just turn him loose to run to Copy, so I took him to the wall and tied him in his usual spot for a few minutes and let him further sort out his feelings before I turned him loose.

At no time was he allowed to get panicky or rush around frantically and he returned to Copy in a fairly mannerly fashion. Then we stood at the gate and discussed what a good normal acting equine he had been, and he came over to visit. All in all, it was a very undramatic first separation.

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