Here’s an email exchange between Ron and myself.
I’m not sure if you met the resident Winsong Farm bull…he lives up in the loft of the upper barn. He’s a rather unorthodox type bull and certainly has some peculiar breeding…in fact he’s part Husky( canine) and part Brama (bovine)…haha. I introduced Pax to him last night and WOW!!!!
Pax was not impressed. I let Pax free in the arena and brought the bull down the stairs, then placed the bull against the tall pedestal.
Just imagine Pax 18 hands tall and light as a feather and snorting….that’s how he pranced around the arena NEVER turning away from the bull. Not in a million years would I have imagined Pax doing incredible extended trots. He looked stunning and looked exactly how I want him when I’m riding…ya, like that will ever happen. Anyhow, it was a good first introduction and can’t wait to ride him in an official Winsong Farm bull fight.
Apparently Pax and Zeloso have been mentioning the new bull in the barn. I haven’t said “bull” anywhere near Zelador. Today when I led him into the arena we passed the old wooden black bull leaning against the wall (this is the bull that stands still while we do Working Equitation, removing the ring from its horn). Zelador put his nose towards it, then looked at me, then looked at the bull again. I said, “Yes that’s the OLD bull. There is a new bull, too.” That seemed to answer his question and he continued walking beside me.
You really get a great respect for how we use our bodies around horses when you bring the bull in the arena. Pax was so tuned into the bull it was incredible. I eventually walked around with the bull for a few mins and it was amazing to see Pax’s reaction based on my handling of the bull…the speed I walked, the direction I pointed it (towards him or away from him) towards his rump, towards his shoulder or pointed in front of him…or stopped along the wall. All that got completely different reactions and direction of travel….and the responses to the change of the bulls movement were instant.
You’re gonna have so much fun with Zelador and the bull…Zelador will look AMAZING as he dances around.
I asked Bill how things went with Zeloso’s first meeting of THE BULL. Bill said he proceeded very slowly and Zeloso, like Pax, was focused on the bull. On Zelador’s initial meeting I placed the bull in the middle of the arena and turned Zelador loose. Zelador was curious and within seconds was sniffing the creature’s head, tail, plush body…
I diverted his attention and directed him to the black wooden bull. I explained, “This is the black bull.” He touched it, click/treat. Then I said, “Where’s the Blue Bull?” (I must admit, I was a struggling a bit trying to find the right description of the new bull. I settled on “blue” (because of the colour of its head.) I walked to the blue bull and Zelador accompanied me. Once again, touch/click/treat. I played a few other games with him then asked a few questions, “Where’s the black bull?” He walked to it. “Where’s the blue bull?” He walked to it, with me beside him. We played with some other games and I repeated the questions. This time he was able to go to the correct bull (blackie and bluie were placed about 15 metres apart) with me following him. It was obvious, Zelador’s vocabulary now included “black bull” and “blue bull”.
Let’s have a photo shoot!
See you in the arena Sunday at 2:00!
Bill, Ron and I converged on the arena with camera in hand. We told Ron about Kye’s introduction to the bull that morning. Bill had placed the blue bull in the middle of the arena, then fetched Kye. This twenty-three year old horse is extremely opinionated! Here are a few of his opinions: He’s not fond of putting his feet in water. He didn’t like the BIG SMILE and took two years to produce one. He was annoyed with the sound of the sleigh bells and refused to ring them for six months. The bridge and the pedestals are of no interest to him. However, if the other horses NEED to walk on them, that’s their problem, not his. When Kye heard that first note when Allen Kalpin played the harmonica, Kye FLEW to the far end of the arena and STAYED there for quite some time.
As I took off his halter at the arena door I KNEW this horse was going to stay as far from that blue bull as he could.
I turned my back on Kye to hang the halter on a hook. And…what was he doing???!!!! Kye was walking straight for the bull!
Kye finished eating treats off the bull’s head and body we fetched Zeloso for the photo shoot. He was polite and interested. Of course, the blue bull was no longer “new”.Next horse during the morning photo shoot was Zelador. He, too, was experiencing the bull for the second time. He sniffed it. Knocked it over. Held it by the horn…and wouldn’t let go. Had to offer a few treats to divert his mind.
Just as I thought we were done (camera in my pocket) Zelador grabbed a big hunk of the bull’s plush hide. He started munching… It took even longer to get him to release his hold. With Ron due in the arena in a few hours the last thing I needed was a blue bull with a hole in his side!