Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hunger Strike

So little Mister Jackson is coming into the stall regularly for his grain.And eating it mostly all at once.
Occasionally, he will whirl around, race out to the paddock as if the gremlins were about to devour him, buck-fart a time or two, then leap back in the stall (there's a half-buried two-by-six holding the bedding in and the mud out) and return to eating.
This, of course, delays his consumption a bit, and RT will usually finish his grain outside and come in and jostle a little with Jackson for the remaining baby food
(unless I'm right there to growl at him).
But for the most part, Mister Growing-Like-A-Weed is cleaning up his goodies.

Until last Tuesday night.
I needed to catch him up long enough to give him the second of his series of baby shots. Since he was such a late baby, we'll wait on all the mosquito-borne viruses (EEE,WEE,WNV) until spring--for now, he's getting a flu-rhino and a tetanus vaccine at 5, 6, and 7 months. (Jackson had his 6-month birthday last Saturday...Can you believe it!?!)
I let him get started on his grain then went over to close the outside stall door.
Whatdya doin, lady?!?
He raced outside, but returned shortly. I hesitated a moment, letting him settle, then closed the door. Now you might have expected a half-wild wrestle to corner him and get the halter on, but Jackson came right over to me and I slid his halter half-way on.
Why only half-way? you ask.
I had to let his halter out: two holes on the nose piece and two on the crown!! But he stood quietly through all of the adjustments, so I led him over to his bucket as a reward.
No, not interested.
So I gave him his shots, for which he again stood like a champ.
So I offered him his bucket again.
It was obvious to me from the undersized halter that I have been neglecting my training lately, so we practiced picking up feet (he will give me the fronts, loose in the paddock, but wanders off when I move to the rear). Again, after a few distracted circles, he stood like an old hand, so I dropped his halter and told him he could go finish his dinner, with no further fussing from the old lady. Did he dive into his dinner?
No way!
He didn't do any of the stomping and carrying on that we had earlier times I locked him in the stall, but he was NOT going to eat! Knowing that RT was lurking just outside the stall door, I settled in on the straw bale in the corner to wait Jackson out.
And wait, I did....Whatcha up to?
He absolutely refused to eat any more of his dinner, unless I hand fed him, and even then, he only took a few half-hearted nibbles. After 45 minutes, I was starting to get cold, so I gave up and let him out. I half expected him to return to the stall as he often does, once he had confirmed his freedom, but he trotted out briskly to the hay feeder and settled in next to RT. I took the bucket back to the feed bin to wait for breakfast (when he ate it wholeheartedly) and retreated from the chilly power struggle to the warmth of the house.
Nite-nite, silly baby horse!

1 comment:

  1. I seem to have come by animals (the one horse and four dogs in my life) that consume every tidbit of food ravenously, and always make (made) me feel guilty about starving them. Come to think of it, though, we did have a family cat that ate only when the brand/flavour was according to her specifications. Jackson is obviously thriving, so I guess the power struggle is just that. Fun post, EvenSong. I can picture that chilly wait:)