Friday, January 16, 2015


The Nerve of Some People's Horses

Actually it's my own horse, Tucker.  A hulking 17 hand hulk of a Thoroughbred, Tucker has always had a high opinion of himself.  He's been a trial to train and yes, he's the one responsible for the whatever he did when the tree knocked me off his back and I broke my hip.

Toby and Tucker on a summer day.

He's been to "boot camp" with Kenny Harlow and definitely learned respect there, but even when he first came home, he would test his boundaries. He's perpetually the challenging teenager checking to see just how far he can go and how much he can get away with.

Correct him Monday through Saturday for his behavior and turn your back on Sunday, and he's up to his old tricks.

Being such a big boy, he likes to use his size to intimidate. Fortunately, he's not the herd boss. Toby is, so that's good. But as the "middle child" he does pick on Chance, especially at feeding time. When I call the Boys in to their stalls, Tucker will herd Chance away from the barn and into the riding arena before he comes in for his feed.

Toby's and Tucker's stalls are side by side on the east side of the barn and Chance's stall is alone on the west side. All the stalls have outside doors that lead to the paddock and I keep them open all the time so the horses have free access to their stalls 24/7.

When I feed, I put the grain in their stalls and generally leave them to eat while I do other chores.

Despite his size, Tucker gets less food than Toby who is older and needs more to keep up his weight.

With Toby as the alpha horse this should be just fine because he certainly can protect his feed should a certain big bay decide to enter his stall to steal a few bites. But Toby cribs and when he eats he often stops to suck on the edges of his stall....metal protected.

Cue the greedy neighbor.

When he sees Toby leave his feed tub, Tucker charges into Toby's stall and goes for the feed. Lost in the haze of endorphins, Toby doesn't always send him packing until Tucker's managed to get is some pretty greedy bites.

Time for an intervention? Yes.

This morning I was right there standing in Toby's outside door when Tucker tried to make on of his raids.

Now, he does respect me and my space enough not to charge right over me, so he stopped. Then he laid his ears back flat and made threatening faces at me. I stood my ground and said, "Don't even think it."

He took a step to the side actually, it seemed, thinking he might be able to get around me all the while snaking his head with those flat ears trying to intimidate me. I stared him down and ordered him back to his own stall where he still had nearly all his alfalfa cubes to eat.  He made one more half-hearted feint for Toby's door and then marched back to his own feed in a pout.

I swear, we could do this dance a hundred times and if we reached one hundred one and I happened to turn my back, he'd be right in Toby's stall guzzling that food.

It's not that he can't be disciplined, nor controlled, he just looks for any opportunity to get away with things.

Too many brains in that head of his.


  1. Bad Tucker! Glad you stood your ground.

  2. There's one in every herd. Glad you intimidated him right back, he sort of had it coming.