Skeeter got her first lesson today.
She's going to learn her table manners. I had planned for yesterday and today to be a settling in day, and we'd start "work" tomorrow. Last evening, when I went to check on her, I pushed a couple of flakes through her fence and noticed that she dove right in before I was even done.
It occurred to me that I might have a pushy eater at that point. I let it be, but made a mental note.
This morning when I went over to feed, I threw the bale over the fence into the outer pen (Ranger's pen), which startled her, but she came immediately back to investigate. I'm actually pleased with that. She didn't spook hard or for long - she just jumped a bit, spun and moved about three strides before she realized that whatever thumped out of the sky didn't eat her and she turned to check it out.
I moved the bale to Ranger's preferred eating spot, split it into two and carried her half to her pen. She met me at the gate. Now, a lot of people would be pleased about this, but now I know her motivation. She thought I was just her hay bitch.
Boy did she have another think coming.
She learned pretty quickly that the hay bitch has rules and that she will not be allowed to eat until *I* say so. It took a couple of "ugly noises" and a pop on the nose for her to get the point, but when she backed off, she stayed a respectable distance until I stepped away from her hay pile and released the pressure. Even then, she asked for permission to eat.
I know that for the past three and a half years she's been at Canon City that there haven't been any "human herd" rules, only "horse herd" rules. The inmates drive the truck into the pens, use the pitchfork to dump hay into piles around the pen, and drive out. She just doesn't know that there are rules for dinner time other than those set by the other horses, without other horses in the pen, she thought it would be okay to just dive in.
She's a smart girl, though, she'll get the rules sorted out in no time. But, boy, was it a throw back to having young kids. Set the rule and enforce, enforce, enforce. It will be interesting to see how much of her first lesson in manners stuck when I go feed tomorrow. I don't expect her to get it right away, but I know she'll pick up on it fast.
Tomorrow is Meet Skeeter Day - Nebalee and her family are coming over and my friend Jen is bringing her kids over.
Also, here's a super cute picture of the meeting between Ranger and Skeeter, just for an "awww" moment.
(She looks a lot taller than Ranger, but he's standing in a hole. She's really only about two inches taller at the withers.)