Our Ruby is a beautiful girl. Headstrong, she’s the lead mare. She runs our herd. If our Ruby is happy and content, all our girls are. When our Ruby is agitated, so too, are all the girls. When it comes to equines, the only one she defers to is Cookie. Cookie, however, is content to be just a member of the herd, not the lead mare. Our Ruby knows when she’s pushed her luck, because Cookie will step in and discipline her.
A few weeks ago we had an incident where our Ruby took umbrage with The Kid disciplining her for being mouthy…as in, the end of treats came, and she nipped The Kid, looking for more. In short, Ruby decided kicking The Kid in the hip was acceptable behaviour, which it most definitely was not!
Kid is fine, and Ruby got a lesson in “You are not the herd boss when Humans are in the pasture”. That lesson did not include hitting. There are times when a good, sharp smack is acceptable discipline with horses, but this was not one of them. It wouldn’t have done any good in this situation…I did, however, drive her from the herd (The Kid, myself, and the other 3 equines), and would not allow her back until she was respectful.
Since that lesson, our Ruby has been a different horse. Oh, she’s still lead mare, but she’s more thoughtful, and careful, with the humans. She has a new-found respect for The Woman Who Drove Her Out, and uses her ground manners very well with me now…and that extends to Hubby and The Kid.
When I go to a gate, or enter the pasture, all I have to do is call “Where’s my Ruby Girl?” and she comes to me. Where before I had to go to her to snap a lead rope on, it hasn’t been like that since the Incident. 😉
She’s still a treat seeker-our Ruby is very, very food motivated!-but she’s so much more respectful now. Not that I have ever let her get away with nipping…that’s never been allowed, and up until that day, she accepted the discipline for it. Now she knows that kicking isn’t acceptable either. She’s young. It’s just something she had to learn.
You can’t quite see them, but she has mudlocks…like dread locks, but made of mud. Once we see the sun again, Kid and I will work on cleaning her up.
I did have a couple of people express concern for The Kid, thinking Ruby might be a dangerous horse.
Nope, our Ruby isn’t dangerous. Our Ruby is young (in the 5-6 year old range), and she has a strong personality. She’s only been home for 9 months. We’re still learning what she knows, and she’s learning her place here.
If any one of us felt she were dangerous, we have friends we can call on for help…and we would. In a heartbeat. Not asking for help with a horse when you need it? That is a failure. You fail yourself, you fail your horse. The sad part is, that’s how so many end up at the auction, and ultimately, in the hands of the meat man.
Our Ruby has faced that fate once.