Sunday, October 7, 2012

Bad Bad BAD Horse

Gabe got out with the donkeys this afternoon.  It was my fault, I was putting the windows in for the winter and I accidentally knocked the wire down.  He noticed and made a run for it.  Things were OK for about three minutes then the excitement got to him and he went off like a rocket.  That would have been fine except that he immediately started chasing Ramsey.

It was everything I have been worried about, Ramsey couldn't go fast enough and Gabe was striking and biting at him.  Emma kept trying to get between them, but was too slow and too small.  I tried to do the same, but I am even slower.  Finally, Ramsey ducked under the fence and got to safety.  Of course, that left him and Emma on opposite sides of the fence with Gabe still trying to chase them.  After an eternity, Gabe ran into the barn and I was able to stop him inside.  Emma and Ramsey got back together and peace was restored.

The whole crazy thing probably lasted no more than three minutes, but there were at least a 100,000 moments of possible catastrophe.  No one got hurt, but it's a miracle that they didn't.  Any vague notion I had that these guys might be able to share a pasture and the barn someday evaporated completely.  Gabe is lucky that looks can't really kill.  I left him locked in the barn and walked away.  I was too angry and upset to do anything with him for a while.  Instead, I went and hugged and scratched my donkeys until we had all calmed down.

The whole incident made me angry with myself for my moment of carelessness and especially with Gabe, that just isn't acceptable behavior.  Once I had calmed down and reassured myself that no harm was done, I didn't want to leave things like that so I saddled Gabe and spent an hour riding him around in the pasture with the donkeys loose around us.  We worked on subtlety and obedience, the two things that Gabe is most sorely lacking in.  When he was finally working softly off my seat and legs and not arguing with me, we quit.

Interestingly, Emma knew immediately that Gabe was no longer a threat with me on his back.   She and Ramsey stayed within thirty feet of us the entire time we rode.  I can see why donkeys make such good pack animals. 

I wish there was a way to teach Gabe not to do this, but I have not thought of anything.  I have no intention of letting them out together, but, as any horse owner can tell you, intentions don't count for much where horses are concerned.  If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. 


  1. Poor Ramsey :o(
    I think that when he gets to adult size he wont bug him so much.
    Does he haze Emma?
    really nerve racking!!!

    1. He does the same thing to Emma and she hates it. It is my only complaint with this horse, he can't be trusted around smaller animals.

  2. I have no experience with horses, but our dog Blossom couldn't be trusted in some situations with our other dog Daisy and he hurt her a few times. ( she was a Lab twice his size). We contemplated another dog when she died, but a trainer told us he was probably happiest being an only dog and we would always have to be vigilant if we introduced another one.

    We decided to avoid the stress and worry.. I could relate to those three nerve racking minutes, Kris.

  3. Dang, the big brat!!!
    Hope you can work it out!

    We had a pony that we had had in the pasture with our old mare for years and years. We loaned him out and a couple years later got him back. Well that old mare liked to have killed him! Grabbed him around the neck in front of his withers and really hurt him bad, his neck was swollen for a week!
    After that, she was fine, but really weird. Animals can be cruel.

  4. Guess Gabe has a Bully Pulpit, not an attractive issue in any part of the animal, or human kingdom, frustrating to boot. I send you good vibes for dealing with it.

  5. Bad! Bad Gabe! I just don't have any idea what to do. It would be nice if you could put them all together. I am hoping someone will come up with some good ideas to restore peace to the pasture! I am glad Emma and Ramsey are OK!

  6. How awful for Emma and Ramsey! Hmmm, have you considered fear as a cause? My horses were absolutely terrified of the mini-donks when we first let them into the pasture, but they had been kept separate for the first week, and hadn't even seen them yet. Your situation is different, though, because Gabe has been able to see and watch them all along. I think it was great that you rode him with Emma and Ramsey alongside. Maybe a few more rides like that will help? I'm so glad he didn't hurt them.

    1. Gabe is definitely NOT afraid of the donkeys. He is harassing them the way some horse harass cattle. It is just a wonderful, fun game to him. Ramsey, Emma and I are the ones who get scared.