Just completed my walk down to the barn and back to feed the ponies (diminutive for horsies). Weather, zero degrees and sunny. The sunny part is what convinced me to brave the zero part. As I walk down the snow-packed road, down the long winding, bare-tree driveway I held my fat winter riding glove over my mouth and nose warming the air before it seared my lungs and activated my asthma-cough. Even though we have had some thirty-degree weather, then back to zero, there is still a heavy snow cover.
The horses were naughty last night. I feed them at eight instead of five, and they were pretty irritated with me. They crowded around me to be let in, and Tess knocked me over, flat on my back on the frozen paddock. As I laid there on my back, I found myself looking at the hooves and fuzzy brown underbelly of two giant horses, wondering if this was the end. I was really glad they were coordinated enough to avoid stepping on and trampling me. That is the second time this fall Tess has knocked me over which shows a lack of respect on her part...and a lack of dominance on my part. Horses are very conscious of the pecking order. They quickly get out of the way when a dominate horse comes their way, pushing the others to do it. Of course, humans have to maintain their dominance with their smaller size of they will get killed. They do this in various ways. One is by asserting their presence, never taking any shit off a horse, and carrying a whip to tap them if they get out of line. Part of it is having impeccable timing for reinforcing good or bad behavior. They are quite sensitive to praise or negative reinforcement. I haven't spent enough time with my horses in the past two years or so and I'm getting rusty, which can be dangerous. Selling my horses is one of the things I have put off after the divorce. I know they would be better off with a home that would put them to work, and I would be better off without the trouble and expense. I do like them...but could as easily like fewer of them. Horses connect with the soul, nature connects with the soul.