Monday, July 28, 2014

Spots Shows His True Colors

I tried Spots several times before we bought him. Having ridden sale horses and other people's horses for many years, I know how to push buttons on a horse and figure out what they're capable of pretty quick. He passed my tests with flying colors.

But, busy training and sale barns are very different environments from the Adult Amateur Backyard Farm, and sometimes a horse will find a whole new personality when they move into the Backyard Farm. 

Spots sure has. He didn't have much of a personality when I met him: he did his job, he didn't cause any trouble, he tried to figure out what his rider wanted, and he seemed to genuinely like kids. But, he wasn't exactly Mr. Personality. 

Now that he's here, his personality has exploded. He's an extremely friendly little guy, bordering on pushy. Being a chestnut, an Appaloosa, and a pony, he also believes that he's 10ft tall and bulletproof.

But, being only 7 years old and having mostly lived in training barns, his bravado only extends so far. He's still getting used to us, and our boisterous, completely random, and utterly irreverent atmosphere. 

His bravado has been seriously challenged by the chickens. This may seem silly to someone who has never met a chicken, but anyone who has owned chickens knows that they are little feathered jerks. Their favorite activity is randomly popping out of stalls and the feed room, squawking and flapping and generally causing a ruckus.  Their second favorite activity is running across the arena as fast as they can, usually while flapping and squawking, and dashing in between the horse's legs.  It's like having mobile cavaletti that squawk and flap.  And people wonder why my horses don't react to anything at shows.....

Chickens just don't care.

Poor Spots just doesn't know what to do about the squawking, flapping little terrors, but he tries to take it in stride.  Unless they randomly leap out of the feed room straight into his face, as happened the other day.

I was leading him past the feed room when the assault happened. I guess we must have startled the hen, who came flapping and squawking out the door and straight into Spots' face. He reared straight up, yanking the rope out of my hand, then turned heel and ran to the other side of the property as fast as he could. It wasn't very far, so I wasn't particularly worried about him. The barn is in the back corner of the property and that part of the farm is surrounded by a large, thick hedgerow.  I'm not really one to chase a horse around anyway, as it usually does more harm than good. Chasing a panicking prey animal just makes them panic more, and it's not like you can catch up to a galloping horse on foot, anyway.  Much better to close off any exits and then patiently wait for them to settle down and stop running.

Turns out that I didn't need to do any of that, though. When Spots reached the hedgerow he stopped, collected his wits, turned around and came trotting right back to me.  I hadn't even moved from the scene yet, as I was still cussing the chicken and examining the damage to my hand. He looked a little embarrassed, so I just pretended nothing happened and tacked him up as usual.  Although, the ride was a little short because it's hard to hold the reins with rope burn.

This is why you should always wear gloves!


  1. Ouch! I know how that hurts. Hope poor pony gets used to the chickens too, so you don't have to suffer any more burns.

    I never did think chickens were too bright, but now I know they have a secret mission, ninja attacks!

  2. No chickens at my barn, just as well, considering how athletic my horses are when they spook. The barn Red and Pie lived at when they were in training with Heather had crazy kittens - a pair - who would chase and fight and jump out of unexpected places (including off the arena rafters) all the time - had the same effect as the chickens! Hope that rope burn heals up - it looks pretty painful.

  3. Omg that picture! And the look sent at that chicken

  4. i enjoy reading your blog so much, you always make me laugh. I can't blame him for running away, i would have no the same, i am so afraid of birds!! lol

  5. OUCH! Glad he is ok, damn chickens!

  6. Ouch!!!! I can't believe you rode with your hand like that!!!! Rope burns are awful! I hope it's not hurting anymore. This makes me so glad Chrome grew up with my chickens and ducks. They are constantly flying right over our heads and doing scary bird things and he acts like he doesn't even notice lol. I hope Spots figures out they aren't scary soon.

  7. I don't think I'm quite ready for chickens. We have roosters at the barn next door and the noise is enough to drive me batty. I think I'd actually kill something if I had to deal with random exploding feathers and chicken shit everywhere.

  8. Agree with the rest: Ouch!

    I got chickens for the very first time this year, I think my horses have finally learned that they aren't little feathered missiles. I'm also planning on getting guineas soon, I think it would be hysterical/awesome to someday see a guinea sitting on one of the horses snapping at the flies.

  9. Lol chicken attacks. Good boy for coming back.


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