Yay finally I get to do the blog thing!
Anyway after waiting anxiosly for over a month for these wildies to arrive I have finally been given word that the weather was favourable and the muster has happened and all things going to plan.....I will have 18 wild Kaimanawa's in my cattle yards this afternoon.....not all for me of course as I am acting as an area dropoff and over the course of a week the horses will move off to there respective owners and finally leaving three to live in peace with me. So tonite I will be overloading the computer with photo's and post some for all to see!!!!
Well...what a day! We waited all day for these horses to finally arrive at around 6pm tonite(Sunday 10 June 2007) in the dark.
Where in winter here and the temp is about 2degrees celcius and its raining ice.....these little babies did not want to get off the truck and who could blame them! One could only imagine the levels in which these animals have mentally shut down............................
Only ten got off a truck and trailer unit here in Pahiatua where I live, out of around 65 who's day has not ended. The eight extra that were mean't to also get off will go to Masterton which is about 45kilometres south of me just for the ride where 45 will get off tonite and then head north again to a place called Rongotea which is about two hours drive I estimate before finally stopping for the night around midnight tonite! They will spend the night on the truck with food before being unloaded and reloaded on another truck to head to Ruatoria which is about a six hour drive............ They were loaded on today at Waiouru at 2-30pm this afternoon and have done nothing than be hauled halfway across our small island we call the North Island of New Zealand. My heart aches for these creatures and I pray that my lords hand is firmly on them and that they are safe.........My head is heavy for these babies whose journey has not ended and my heart cries for what we as a so called superior race inflict upon our fellow creatures of this earth.
I know that this knowledge will haunt me as I have played a part in this.....I am as guilty as the man who tears a child from his mother as we have torn these horses from there mothers and there land, there home..We as the human race have a lot to answer for, for what we do to animals for our own amusement........all of my excitement is gone and I feel deeply ashamed....
Day 2, some movement and stringing through my yards and all bronc's drenched with pour on in race....no photo's of that and just as well because one mare let me know that that was way too much pressure for her! Anyway no broken legs and all eye's etc intact. Just aiming to have them used to me moving quietly through them and getting them to string out through the yards and seperating before they band up and form tight bonds. Proving harder with sooo many people coming and going and supposedly checking and working with there horses if you can call standing in the corner and teaching the horses that the space between them and humans is highly attainable! Very Frustrating!!! Why do women squeal and talk to there animals in stupid high pitched squealing voices with the whole face on(aggression) flat ears with tied up hair (aggression) and teeth baring smiling faces (aggression) stances? My stress levels are rising very quickly.....doesn't help when I am so used to working alone. I am thinking that the sooner they take there horses and leave mine and my freinds (5 in total) in peace to do some real work the better. I guess its just the differences in everyone's ideas to handling horses...a bit like raising children really! I am vastly different in my ideas than most except one other couple. I have found that the Kaimanawa Society have a touchy feely attitude with these horses and yet they have ignored there initial mustering practices....I don't think they are all they crack themselves up to be. I am pretty disgusted with them and think they have alot to answer for, typically another money hungry group getting a peice of someone elses pie and taking all the credit for it. I have found that the $200.00 I requested for care of the extra's while here has been denied and all they can offer me is a pathetic $35. 10 hungry horses are going through almost 4 bales of hay a day and I expect that to rise as the week progresses. Alot of work to be done before I can let them hit the paddocks, let alone one stupid women who thinks we should just round up her horse and chase it onto a stock truck alone.....totally attainable of course if I went in and roped her and dumped her on the ground....mmmmm yep and we'll pay for that later with a kick in the head. Some people have barely got a brain cell knockin about in their stupid heads. I worry about the future of that pony. No doubt she'll come back and I will have to attempt to right a brain that's been wronged! OK RANT OVER! Here's some photo's from the day. The Chestnut in the last pic looks like she may be growin a baby in that belly.
Well here I am at day 5! Alot has happened in the last 2 days...emotionally and physically! What happened on day 2 was the big wake up call.....The call to step up to the game!
Day 2 we had to drench the horses and we found the panic button in the black mare and she told me stuff you t I am outa here come hell or hi water even if it means I die trying! Although she didn't as I managed to get her out of the race the adrenalin was running and still did that nite when I last posted not that I am retracting my emotions because that is how I felt.......I have learn't that MY PANIC BUTTON IS JUST UNDER MY SKIN TOO!
Ok now where at day 3, Time to step up T coz this is real!
So my goal was divide and conquer.....or disband the herd.....had my decoy tu in hand who I had put in with the herd the nite before! Tu in hand back and forth through the yards that were opened right up, walking back and forth countless times untill I started to see the herd relax and string out and behave like horses...I started to see the lower in the order stay close to tu and the alpha's bring up the rear so I decided time to act....take them all to the large metal pen draw them through and get the alpha's in and close the gate, trap them there and have the lowers still following. Ok gate's closed. So here I am waiting any panic buttons hit? A little but did I see the lowers relax.....I think I did.....following my instincts I carried on and split the lowers into three groups, Then I stood back and relaxed, breath now T it's all OK! So the chestnut filly's owner was coming today and she's in with the alpha's....next step is to draw her out....tu's next door, lets open the gate and see if she steps through, she did.....yes....almost too easy! Her owner gets in and does her version of join up.....an hour later they are freinds..GREAT! My next job was to fine tune the groups into there people groups and everyone's mixed up!
My head is telling me to use the join up...,.talk to the ones I need and alpha them back through the gates. All these guys want to do is fly so gently gently! Alot of me facing up and backing away stringing them out towards the open gate but not letting them through, I'm thinking string out guys show me the boss move back come forward no I don't want you, yes I want you keep going, you can go and you lot can't, step forward and block there path, ok close the gate. After doing this half a dozen times I am mentally exhausted and John (one of the owners) turns up. Like fate because there is still some sorting to do and I am exhausted, I tell him what is needed and he says he's up for it, I have a feeling that this guy who's a bit of a dark horse is the real deal. And he showed me he was and completed the job for me and then offered me a huge honour of allowing me to stand in the pen while he started his join up with his mares (he has 2) who are also with my mare and one of my colts. Its hard for me to explain what happened next but as I stood stock still John divided off the black mare and challenged her and boy did she step up to the game and before I knew it she was challenging me and she faced up to me with it. This is what I saw.......She came face on to me about a metre away and stopped from a canter right in front of me slammed her front feet down layed back her ears snaked her neck hissed and stared me straight in the eyes.........she spoke to me.......boy did she what.....Are you up to it little girl? Have you got what it takes to tame me? You think you can just reach out and touch me? C'mon I dare you.......I don't think you can!!!! And you know she was right!
I stopped breathing and my heart is pounding in my heart and my head......my heart was out on the ground and as much as I knew that I should stand my ground....I felt my whole body jump and I stepped back......and as she bounced away from me she knew she'd won and I could here her laugh as she went back around the pen. Your not ready child it's time to wake up and step up to the challenge! Another wake up call! That's ok plenty more days yet as I chided myself, and left the pen. John carries on with his work, He's there, he's up for the challenge and the horses know it and I am left in awe as I watch him move and speak with them and when he's finished and I watch him drive down the driveway and am left believing that someone or something has put him in my path and I have to keep him close so as I can learn in this world where I have realised that I am just a child. The day is done and I see to everyone's needs and then knock off for the day....I am exhausted.
Ok so here I am playing catch up on the blog pages.....Day 4, mmmm what happened, The owner of the chestnut filly turns up and prepares for the truck to arrive and then the truck arrives and everything goes well until we get to the ramp and one of her helpers decides to physically push the filly up the ramp, I'm ok with that as the aim for them is to get her home and work there. Everthing goes to planned and I feel a little sad as they drive down the road..Goodbye little filly, I wish you well. Back to the yards and everyone's settled in there groups and two colt foals need handling. One for me and one for Heidi, I am a little apprehensive as I am used to working alone and my head is saying don't take the easy road...do the join up. Its really interesting to see everyone else work with there horses and as usual it dawns on me that I can appear very aggresive in my join up. However we seperate the colts one in my pen and one in Heidi's, we wait until they settle as they don't want to be apart and then we start.....I can't concentrate, I can see the other horses and they look hungry so I drop what I am doing and head off to feed them and expel my tension. Ok back in the pen.....face up, face away, he steps forward and then back and bum to me, so I give chase....get away then I say to him....get away, get away, get away, ok the time is right, give him a chance T, I have my back to him, I am offering a chance and I hear him move to me and I look and **** I blew it!!, he's gone, so I chase him away again and then offer it back and he comes in from behind and gives me a nudge, Yes! So I back up until we are side by side and reach out to stroke him and he melts, probs because they are covered in lice and itchy as one thing. Over his neck goes my rope and then slowly on goes the halter that proves to be too big, nevermind it will still do the job...after I calm myself I ask for some basic yeilds, first left and then right...all I am asking for is a try and sometimes a step and then rewarding with release, so I am happy with that and he decides that when I step forward he would like to follow, well that's great I think, that's enough for you as that's all I need to get you out to your paddock so I end the lesson there. I look over to see the progress between Heidi and her colt and Heidi is smiling and I can tell that her lesson has gone great as well and both of these colts have shrunk in stature and appear relaxed with themselves so we end here and see to the needs of everyone and watch John work with his mares and then we called it a day.
Well here we are at day 5. Heidi has been here all day and handled her colt again and as we have the horses in their people groups, she took the oportunity to hang out with the horses in her group, she has two and Sharon has two, but as all four will be going to Heidi's initially it made sense to have all four together. Her style is vastly different to me but successful nonetheless and this afternoon I witnessed her colt looking for her, that is a huge step for her and her horses considering less than a week ago her colt had never known humans.
My second colt up until now had been in with the mares and since I knew Heidi would move blue eye's I rose early this morning and alpha'd the second colt from the mares and placed him in with my other colt, fairly simple then spent some time asking him to face up to me in with the others, seems bizarre facing up with your back to them and edging backwards in order to invite them to you....but well I guess I don't feel that the submission and wanting to be with me is real unless I do it this way, anyway I received a nudge on my arm and edged back further so as to reward him with a rub on his head and decided that was enough. I needed to move them as the yard they were in needed to be cleaned and I want them closer to there next destination, the paddock, but that will come tommorrow.
I have found it is getting harder to alpha the foals around the yards as they are becoming more and more familiar with me and have found I have had to be more asertive in my working them around, however it is not a bad thing as I see now that they are looking to me to relieve there worries with a nice scratch and gentle cooing. The foals havn't been too demanding or really very hard in a sense to become pals with but am not holding my breath as I know only too well how cocky young boys become as they get older....anyway that's a worry for another day.....more pressing is the need to have them on the paddock so they can eat better food and stretch those legs....basically they need to go away and grow, so that is my aim for tommorrow.
After that I will turn my attention to the mare that is to be mine, here comes a challenge or as some would say....the bussiness end of the deal..... I am full of fear and anticapation and excitement all jumbled up in a tangled ball, I almost can't wait but am not in a hurry. Anyway here's some more photo's. My mare. all of the mares...the cattle having a jog on the hill seemed most interesting. tucker time for my two colts. Tucker time for Heidi and Sharons horses.
Day 6, I rang the vet this morning as I am hoping to get my foals out onto the paddock and am hugely concerned about the worms coming out of these babies.....some are the width of your finger and 2 to 3 times as long....urghh, ewww, ewww,ewwww!
Ok composure T, Vet has advised to drench on top of pour on with three in one and quarantine for 48 hours so that blows my getting them out today...not the best but have to choose the better of the evils. I seriously don't want blood worm on my paddocks! So today was basically feed and settle and wait for the worms to be expelled.
These two are handled enough for now, both approach to be caught and allow handling all over, and I am happy with that.
Then I turned my attention to my mare which is definetly not going to be easy and once isolated she allowed me within around 6 metres of her which in my eyes is progress and she will approach closer when being fed, so slowly she's allowing me into her space.
I wish everyone here at my place would shut up about her being a worryer, she does show a bit of worrying but moreso has no confidence in her self....,Her eyes ears nostrils and feet don't show half as much fear when I am with her than when others are there so I know she knows me.....slow and steady wins the race.
I know that I am starting to feel invaded with all these people coming and going.....but I have been given word that Heidi and Sharons horses will go to Heidi's on Monday.
I am now thinking of names for mine......Desert Rose or Mountain Rose for my mare? The colts can wait till later.
I just now got a chance to catch up on all of this. If sounds like a novel. It's so interesting and I love the way you have written it.
You sound as if you have your work cut out for you but I believe that you know what you are doing. How humbling it is to find someone you can learn from (such as the man you met). I love moments where I feel small and completely overwhelmed with the thought that I am just a child compared to the amount of knowledge that can be learned.
If things progress initially, I have the feeling you will become extremely close to the mare.
It seems as if you have a much deeper value in the relationship between horse and human and I think that's extremely admirable.