I went out to check the tank in the cows pasture last week. The flies have been awful this year. Most of the herd was huddled together swatting flies, in or out of the pond.
All of them except Ghost. She isn’t really included in the herd. She came running up to me as I shut the 4wheeler off, begging me to help her.
I ran my hands down her back, brisket, and legs, smashing as many flies as I could. Rubbing away the pain of the fly bites. Scratching where it itched. She knew I would help her. She trusts me to take care of her and do my best to fix whatever problems she had.
Two of the horses wandered off the other day. I had let them both out to graze, together instead of only one at a time like usual. There is only one unfenced path out of the yard. I don’t worry a whole lot about them leaving. I don’t think there would have been a problem but those same flies, driving everything crazy. They wandered farther than usual and got themselves on the wrong side of an electric fence.
They were not happy and wanted back. They wanted back bad.
As soon as I realized what was going on I rushed to save them. In sandals and carrying one halter because I didn’t want to take the time to grab another. Ducking under the fence I called and they came running to me, begging to be saved. They came with such enthusiasm I thought my toes would never survive the saving. They knew they could trust me to take care of them and do my best to fix whatever problems they had.
With one horse haltered and the other following close on his heels we dropped the fence they followed me across the scary wire and back to the others.
Trust is such an important part of our relationships with our animals. Do they know that we will only do what is best for them or are they more afraid of us than of the scary things in life?
If we can get our animals to do what we want because they fear us then we wont be able to get them the help they need when the other things are scarier. If we can get our animals to do what we ask because they want to and they trust us to take care of them, they will run to us, instead of away, when they need help.
- Riding With +R, For The Academy