Monday, December 27, 2010

Let's Play

Imagine you are a 2 3/4 year old stud colt living at Ravenseyrie Sorraia Mustang Preserve on Manitoulin Island in northern Ontario. It's a cold winter's day, but you are soaking up the sun and feeling very mellow. Your human friend, Lynne, has just completed grooming you and you look pretty spiffy having all the burrs and tangles removed from your usually wild-kept mane and tail. The sun and the tender ministrations have lulled you into a very comfortable standing nap. Lynne moves away to get some photos of how handsome you look.
Though your eyes are closed, you follow Lynne with your ears and give her a pretty pose.

But then, you sense some intrusion...

It's that playful mule, Jerry, come to pester you and ruin a perfectly perfect nap.

You try to ignore him, hoping he will go away and leave you to your pleasant afternoon nap, but he is persistent in his overtures.

"C'mon, Animado, " Jerry cajoles. "Let's play."

"Thanks, but no thanks, Jerry...maybe later", you reply.

But that clever old draft mule knows just how to tickle you awake and make himself irresistable.

You give in and after a few sleepy gestures of the "nippy-face game" you move around the big mule and say, "Okay, want to play? We'll play!"

"Let's play a game where you pretend you are a mare and I get to be a big stallion!" And you mount that big old mule--no small feat considering Jerry is several hands taller than you!

This is one of the great things about the young stud colt, Animado (Sorraia x Sorraia Mustang) --while another horse might have retaliated with rancor having been awakened from a perfectly perfect nap, this splendid equine has a good heart and a fun sense of humor. "Why get angry? Playing is more fun than being mad at an old friend."

Mike and Sheri Olson of the Soul of Sorraia ranch are sure lucky to have purchased such a wonderful stallion. It will be hard, indeed, to let him go to Wyoming in the spring...


Kris McCormack said...

What SWEET moments to have captured Lynne. I'll miss Animado, too.


Annemiek said...

Oooow isn’t he the sweetest? They look so healthy and alive, both of them. I do hope Mike and Sheri will keep you (us) posted on Animado’s adventures! It looks like a wonderful day out there Lynne, a perfect time for some grooming and hanging out with the horses. Thank you for those wonderful photo’s!

Anonymous said...

Janet says. . .

I wonder if Jerry's initial interest had anything to do with testing for "carrot breath."

Lynne Gerard said...

Kris and Annemiek,
You may remember the words of Alexander Nevzorov admonishing humans for their anthropomorphic "ventriloquism" when in relationship with horses, but when you see these equine expressions, one would have to be pretty close-minded to not recognize the written dialogue I've put together with the physical expressions & actions we see in this series of photos is likely an accurate accounting of what is going on between these boys. What else could they be communicating to each other?

And I agree, it is a sweet thing to see.

Lynne Gerard said...

Janet wrote:
I wonder if Jerry's initial interest had anything to do with testing for "carrot breath."

If I went out among these horses with carrots or any other kind of edible treat in my pocket, I'd likely be mauled by the entire group!

So, no, Jerry isn't checking for carrot breath.

Your comment, though, does present me with an idea for an upcoming article. Maybe readers might wonder how one goes about removing burrs and detangling manes & tails of unbroken, never captured or corralled primitive horses living together in a semi-wild setting without ropes, halters or any other means of separation or restraint--no treats. The simple "magic" is easy to learn and I promise to share what I do very soon.

Kate said...

Ohh Animado. How wonderful... I love your farm and the personalities of each of your horses. I am owned by a mustang mare and ex-racehorse, and have been walking the path to a relationship with them such as the one you share with your horses, Lynne, but both my heartsongs have been treated poorly and are taking a long time to trust me.

I wish all horses could live in a heaven such as yours.

Lynne Gerard said...

Kate wrote:
"I wish all horses could live in a heaven such as yours.

While Ravenseyrie feels like a heavenly spot for horses to live to me, Kate, I'm not sure all horses themselves would find it can be a little harsh here at times.

Thank you for your very nice comments and for taking time to read and share your thoughts.

I'm sure Imke Spilker's book, Empowered Horses could help you and your mentally wounded horses learn to trust and enjoy each others company and is based on play and shared leadership.

Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling and Carolyn Resnick also have really helpful books and videos to assist in relationship building--though theirs are still based upon using hierarchy and domination as a means of establishing leadership (but not in the same way as the coercive and pain inducing "phases" and so-called "games" that the Parellites use to establish leadership.)

If you aren't already familiar with these inspirational people, you can find links to their websites on the left side bar of the Journal of Ravenseyrie.