This morning Adam, who boards his horses here, decided to get his two horses up so he could haul them someplace to ride. It was a lovely morning, and although he's working most Saturdays lately, he was off today.
I looked out the window and saw him approach the horses several times. He'd get to within a few yards and they'd take off running.
They're getting lots of grass now, so the feed bucket he was carrying didn't hold much appeal.
The poor guy was out there for well over an hour, and he never got close to the horses. My grandson was here watching with me, and I told him, "If he'd just go home, I could get those horses up for him."
Finally Adam gave up. He and the grandson stood in front of the barn talking. Adam was about ready to shoot some horses, he was SO frustrated.
I saw the two guys chatting and decided to try my hand at catching Tude and Sassy. Thinking the horses would follow a feed can to the barn, I got some dairy feed and walked out to them. They didn't run from me, and they each ate the handful of feed I held out to them. But they didn't follow me to the barn. This wasn't their first rodeo.
I came to the house, got rid of the feed can, and picked up a rope, which I tucked under my shirt out of sight. I walked back to the horses. I sat on the ground, then stretched out and laid down a few feet from the horses. I was hoping they'd be curious and come on over, but that didn't happen.
So I got up and walked over to Tude (from the side, because horses don't like to be approached from the front. They also prefer that you not look directly at them as you approach.) I rubbed Tude's neck a few times, slowly got the rope out from under my shirt, and looped it around his neck. I led him to the barn, with my grandson and Adam both laughing and shaking their heads.
I learned these lessons from Blue. When I first got him, if he saw me approaching with a halter, rope, or bridle, he would run. I had this book, "A Good Horse is Never a Bad Color", and I'd take a lawn chair out to Blue's pen and read the book. If I sat there long enough, he'd come over to me and put his head right in my lap. I'd have a lead rope with me, and I'd rub his neck with the rope so he'd see it as something other than an enemy. People don't spend enough time just "being" with their horses. We really bonded.
Of course, part of the reason Tude let me put the rope around his neck might have been that he knew he wouldn't have to carry me on his back all day. I've never ridden him.