Reading Time: 2 minutes, 40 seconds (plus a short video clip to watch)
Before we get too far into 2022, I want to summarize my horse life for 2021. I decided to do this by writing three separate posts, one regarding each of my horses. My horses Shiloh and Bear were featured previously. This final installment features the newest addition to my herd, a solid bay Racking Horse gelding named Piper.
Observant readers that you are, you will note that the title of this post installment is a little different from the previous two. That’s because “A Year In My Life With Piper” would not quite fit our reality. Piper joined my herd only four months ago. Here was his for-sale photo that first caught my eye.
Since Piper is a rather recent arrival, I didn’t have much opportunity to work with him before Winter weather arrived. We only have 15 rides under our belts. I rode him at home in our round pen, out in the open pasture, and at both the indoor arena and outdoor track at the local boarding barn. I also trailered him a total of three times between his previous home, the local boarding barn, and my backyard. Here’s a little video clip of us gaiting in the pasture.
Other than difficulties with Piper accepting the mounting block, Piper’s behavior has been quite solid through it all. He’s always been easy to catch, stands well for the farrier, and doesn’t seem inclined to overact to new situations or unexpected surprises.
While there’s certainly lots to appreciate about his confidence level, his bold personality combined with a naturally high energy takes some getting used to for me. I’m not always quite sure what to make of his behavior or how to communicate what I want. We are still so new to each other.
My biggest disappointment in bringing him home was seeing how he interacted with Bear and Shiloh. He came in extremely strong, guarding every resource whether a flake of hay, a patch of Summer shade or the entire run-in shed during a cold rain. Bear and Shiloh got extra exercise as they constantly had to clear way.
I ended up separating the horses and putting them together multiple times, dividing up access to the run-in shed with a variety of electric tape and traffic cone creations. It seemed to help. Piper is still top dog of the herd, moving everyone around at feeding time so he can get the best cuts of hay. That’s not likely to change, but I see them all more comfortable with sharing space together now.
One really surprising change is seeing Shiloh and Piper play together, with Shiloh actually initiating. It’s a nice change from watching Piper charge at him and Shiloh run away in terror.
They do what is sometimes called “the nip and shove.” For those not familiar, it is where horses stand facing each other but slightly offset so their faces are right to left or left to right. Then they nip back and forth at each other’s cheeks while pushing into each other. Usually, they also rear up and/or spin around. Then they trot in a circle for a minute. All before returning to face each other and repeating the same play pattern.
This is what I sometimes see from my living room window. The photo is out of focus, but I wanted to show you an example of Piper and Shiloh, well, horsing around. 🙂 Never goes on for long. Just a few minutes. But it sure is entertaining to watch.
I am looking forward to the rest of 2022 with Piper. Ideally by then, we will have more positive changes, including some fun riding experiences, to report!