Tember

Rhodes Client   Equine – Tember

Pick up 09-28-14  Day 1

Client reports horse to be stubborn; overly aggressive running cattle; overly bearing on two other mares running them and also blocking feeding. Horse has drug people. Horse appears to be cooperative and easy to handle until one encounters something the horse does not want to do. Then the horse “explodes” without warning. Horse is also barn sower with other two mares.

Loading;   Horse hooves were done prior to loading for minor dress up. No problems.

Horse led easily to trailer, but would not enter.

After tie off with lead line, horse “exploded” breaking lead line.

Horse retreated to center of pasture. Horse did not resist approach and collecting to be led back to the trailer. Horse refused again to enter trailer.

After tie off with lead line again, additional prodding techniques were used to motivate loading. Horse exploded and broke halter.

Horse retreated to center of pasture. Horse did not resist approach and collecting to be led back to the trailer. Horse refused again to enter trailer.

Training halter put on horse. No resistance or issues.

After tie off, horse did not explode, but tested the halter for “pressure on”. Realizing she could not escape this time, horse entered trailer calmly.

The idea of Herd Dynamic Training is allowing the alpha and herd to address the issues the horse has. This gets faster results and better results than human intervention as it is done “in the herd”.

Tember was placed into a round pen for the first night.

Day 2

The alpha (Beau) was brought to the round pen and the two were allowed to greet through the railings. Tember exploded snorting, stomping, and spinning and kicking at Beau. Beau backed off (pressure off) and resumed grazing. For the next 2 hours Beau would approach Tember about every 15 minutes. The same result everytime – Tember exploded. This is the technique of pressure on, pressure off. It is designed to first allow the horse to make their own decision to cooperate.

While to the observer this repetitive pressure on and pressure off might seem futile; it is not. Each visit Beau made to Tember gave him more information through Tember’s actions and the exchange of “scents”. When Beau had all the information he needed, he disengaged and returned to the herd.

So how is Beau going to help this horse? What the alpha does is assign the horses in the herd that have the same traits/background as those attributes displayed by Tember. In this way, Tember receives what she has been dishing out. Once she submits and cooperates, then the alpha and the herd can address her problems through social discipline.

Next, all of the herd were let into the pasture in which the round pen is located containing Tember. Now the scene becomes quite animated as the other horses approach the round pen. However, Beau only allows certain horses, in a certain order, to approach Tember in the round pen. Over the next 3 hours all the horses take turns “greeting” the new horse. Each time Tember’s response is as it was with Beau with the exception of 2 horses whom Tember does not show a high amount of aggression to. Those horses are:

Lil Man and Charlie the donkey.

Now in the herd are the following horses relative to Tember’s issues:

Cody – lived for many years under a heavy handed mare and really had no independent life until he came into the herd.

Lil Man – lived alone nearly all his life but was always aggressive and “a spoiled pet” especially when around other horses.

Apache – a stubborn teenager. Apache loves to run and play chasing everyone and really being a nuisance. He always wants to be “the center of attention”.

So now we have the players who will be the basic elements of Temeber’s “schooling”.

After a 2 hour “rest”, Tember is released from the round pen at a point in which there are no other horses in the same pasture. This way Tember makes the choice of whom to approach first. This is yet again pressure on, pressure off.

As soon as Tember’s presence is known, Cody begins to “run” Tember. Then Lil Man takes over but as they move around the pastures and other horses try to engage, Lil Man blocks them. So this action indicates Lil Man has been assigned by Beau as Tember’s “guardian”. Also tagging along is Charlie the donkey.

For the next 2 hours, Cody, and Apache, take turns “running” Tember. Each time preceding this, Lil Man has disengaged giving Tember the option of staying with him or being alone. After a few times Tember realizes when she is with Lil Man the other horses leave her alone. So she teams up with Lil Man. This is a form of submission and is also Tember’s first experience receiving care and protection from the alpha. This is important as this is a trate Tember must learn – how to be a good alpha.

For the remainder of the day the herd grazes but is moved by Beau to opposing pastures relative to where Tember goes. So Tember is being clearly told she is not part of this herd. At times, as Tember is being “run” by a horse, they pass right by Beau. Beau shows no response as he is demonstrating Tember’s previous actions are irrelevant to him and his herd.

Tember spends the night in one pasture with the other horses in another pasture. Any move on Tember’s part to join the herd results in “running” Tember off.

Day 3

The process of periodic running continues. Tember now is challenging horses, one at a time. They each rebuff her. By the end of day 3 the herd does allow Tember into their pasture, but not for long.

Day 4 For the first time Tember is socializing with 2 or 3 of the horses. But there is tension in the air as Tember is still internally fighting working with the other horses.

On 10-02-14 Paula reports that Tember now permitted by herd (as before) to use water trough but must then leave immediately as Beau indicates by only a look. Tember socialized with Heart and Majestic with no incidents. Tember still not within the herd.

Day 5

Arrival at the farm in the early afternoon found Tember standing in the corner of a pasture. Sweetwater was also grazing in the well pasture, but away from Tember. All of the other horses were grazing another pasture. Tember walked into the pasture, where the water trough is, drank water from the trough, and then walked back to the same place she had been in the pasture.

With Beau in the lead, Pretty Girl, Apache, Hope, and Charlie walked into the pasture where Tember was and started grazing. The rest of the herd stayed in another pasture. Tember was ignored. She walked the fence line and would stop to try to engage Heart and Majestic, but they also ignored her.

About 20 minutes later, Beau then led the four horses and Charlie into a pasture further away to graze. Tember stayed near the fence line of the pasture she was still in and occasionally grazed. Then, Tember walked to the gate of a pasture where Heart and Majestic were standing. Tember walked up to them and they greeted each other. No stomping, noises, or aggression. Heart and Majestic disengaged and went to the middle of their pasture. Tember returned to the same pasture where she had been previously.

Led by Pepper (second in command to Beau), Lil Man, Cassius, and Prisi then walked into the pasture where Tember is. Tember gradually walked toward Prisi. Pepper, with ears flat, ran toward Tember and Tember abruptly turned and ran back to where she had been. Pepper disengaged, and after about ten minutes, Pepper leads the three horses into a pasture further away.

The last group of horses enter the pasture where Tember is: Mcgill , Faith, Cody, and Preacher. Preacher was in the lead. They all grazed for about ten minutes, totally ignoring Tember, and gradually each horse left the pasture and went into the  pasture where the rest of the herd had gone. Tember was left alone once again.

Upon arrival at the farm in the early evening, the herd was again split into different three different pastures. Tember was still in the same pasture as before in the same spot still excluded from the herd. Beau was still non responsive and showed no interest whatsoever in Tember.

Day 6

This morning, Beau and six other horses were in the run in. Tember was standing in the same pasture several yards away from the entrance to the run in. The rest of the herd were in another pasture.

Shortly all of the horses left the run in and went to different pastures. Eventually, Tember walked through the run in and started toward the gate where Beau and other horses were. Beau turned his head and flattened his ears, indicating to Tember to not come any closer. Tember immediately stopped in her tracks, turned around, and walked toward the pasture she had been in the day before.

Faith then walked up to Tember and greeted her. They nuzzled each other, sniffed each other, and then stroked each other’s necks. (this is a sign of bonding between horses) Beau showed no interest or response and nor did the other horses. Faith and Tember then walked into the pasture where she had been the day before and started grazing next to each other. No one bothered them. This is Tember’s first official friend in the herd and more importantly, one of equal rank and Tember accepted without submission being required.

After a few hours Faith and Tember were still grazing together. However, this time, Preacher (who was also in the same pasture), swiftly walked up to Faith and Tember with ears flattened. Preacher got between them, and Tember ran off to a corner. This happened two more times. No other horses interfered. Beau, who was also in the same pasture,  let Preacher handle the situation. This indicates that Beau is demonstrating to Tember that Faith is her friend but also Faith is in the herd where as Tember is not yet included.

Another time, Tember ran into another pasture, and over to a group of horses grazing. Pepper immediately flattened her ears and started to run toward Tember. Tember stopped in her tracks, turned and ran back into the pasture where she had been previosuly. Pepper did not continue to run after her, but stayed with the other horses.

Conclusions: Under Beau’s leadership, the horses are showing Tember that she is not ready to be a part of the herd. And, while Tember may feel ‘safe’ once Beau is out of sight, Beau has assigned other horses the responsibility of ensuring that the herd stays intact. While Tember may think she is making progress, it is not on her terms. Tember is being taught that everything she does is only done because Beau has allowed it. Pepper and Preacher are keeping her in check when Beau is not around. When either one is around, Tember stays clear of them by going to a corner or another area of the pasture. Tember has only been allowed in 2 pastures. The actions of the herd are making it clear to Tember that she no longer can do what she wants to do, and she will be accepted only when Beau decides she has learned the proper skills and discipline necessary.

Usually, my daily routine includes spending approximately two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening at the farm with the horses.  Throughout Tember’s integration, additional time was spent in the afternoon, either on the premises or just driving by the farm to check on how Tember and the rest of the herd are doing.  The following are my observations.

October 4, 2014

Day 7

Upon arrival at the farm this morning, Tember was again along the fence line to the small barn pasture, grazing by herself.  Pepper, Faith, Apache, Presi, and Lil Man were also grazing in the well pasture, but away from Tember.  They were ignoring her.  The rest of the herd was found grazing in groups in the other three pastures.   Beau is still very much disengaged, allowing the rest of the herd to ‘school’ Tember.  And, although Beau has nothing to do with Tember, he is keenly aware of everything that is happening.  Sweetwater and McGill are not actively involved in the integration.  They continue to keep their distance from Tember, avoiding any issues that might come up between the rest of the herd and Tember.  Hope can usually be found near her mother, Sweetwater, and McGill.  Hope keeps her distance from Tember and also is not actively involved in the integration process.  While in my presence, Tember has never tried to get close to Hope.  There have not been any altercations between Sweetwater and Tember because of Hope.

Presi is a horse that has not found her identify yet.  She does not have the skills necessary to realize she is a horse.  Historically, Presi has tried to make friends with different horses in the herd, but never quite gets the hang of it.  So, usually she is found by herself, isolated.  Presi is also not actively involved in Tember’s training.

Although confined to the well pasture, Tember continues to be allowed to go into the barn pasture to drink and then returns to the well pasture.

The friendship between Faith and Tember continues to grow.  Preacher and Pepper have not interfered with this friendship, like they did yesterday. This afternoon, Faith leads Tember all around the well pasture.  Preacher, Cody, Presi, Pepper, Lil Man, and Cassius were also in the well pasture.  Based upon the interaction between Faith and Tember and the rest of the herd,  it becomes clear that Faith has been designated as the ‘host’ who has been taking Tember up to the rest of the horses.

Heart and Majestic, who had been staying in the small barn pasture, were released into the rest of the herd.  There did not seem to be any issues with these two horses and Tember.

Christina and Lena, who had been staying in the pasture across the street, were then placed in the small barn pasture.  This was the first time that Tember had seen Christina and Lena.  Tember’s curiosity peeked and she went into the large barn pasture running up and down the fence line, stopping only to try to engage the two horses.  They both ignored her. Tember then went to the ‘friendship corner’ of the large pasture.  Let me explain why we call this the friendship corner.  When new horses are being integrated into the herd, they are placed into the small barn pasture.  There is a corner in this pasture where the barn ends and the fence line separating the small barn pasture from the large barn pasture starts.  During this process, several of our existing horses always seemed to migrate to this corner, waiting for the new horses to come up to them.  The amazing results were that the new horses eventually went to this corner, and the horses greeted each other across the fence. Thus, the friendship corner began.

Although Tember waited at the corner for quite some time, neither Christina nor Lena greeted Tember.  Tember would disengage, run back and forth again and come back to the friendship corner, waiting.  This happened several times.  There were instances when Tember would stay there for what seemed like hours.  Christina and Lena never greeted Tember.  Tember finally disengaged completely.

October 6, 2014

Day 9

Tember is now allowed in the large barn pasture!  This morning Tember and Faith were grazing in the large barn pasture, along with several of the other horses.  She is still being ignored by them.  However, as Faith continues to lead Tember around the rest of the herd, it is very obvious that Tember will avoid certain horses if Faith leads her too close to them.  Among them are Preacher, Cassius, Apache, Cody, and Pepper.  Tember will immediately turn from them and either walk or run in the opposite direction.   It was observed that sometimes these four horses will take turns intimidating Tember, by flattening their ears and making motions as if they are ready to charge Tember.  And, although Beau is allowing Tember closer access to the herd, Beau is also making it clear that Tember still has a lot to learn.  There is a pecking order in the herd that Tember needs to learn and respect.  Tember cannot ‘cut in line’ whenever she chooses.  As far as the pecking order, Tember is at the bottom, and she needs to understand this.

Beau now feels that Tember is ready to take the next step.   Pepper has been assigned the task of teaching Tember the skills necessary to be an effective, and respected, alpha.  This afternoon, Pepper went up to Tember and they greeted each other.  There were no displays of aggression by either horse.  Pepper and Tember nuzzled each other and then smelled each other.  Each horse took turns ‘nibbling’ each other on the neck.  One sign of a horse’s submission to another horse is the lowering of its head.  During this greeting process, Tember lowered her head.  Faith has successfully completed her role in Tember’s training.  And, while Faith and Tember continue to be friends, Faith has stopped leading Tember around the other horses.  Pepper is now the teacher.

October 7, 2014

Day 10

This morning at the farm, the herd was again split into groups, grazing in various pastures.  Tember and Pepper are together now.  Wherever Pepper goes, there goes Tember.  Pepper, as second in command, carries the respect of the rest of the herd.  When Pepper is leading Tember amongst the herd, it is like Pepper telling Tember that if you carry on the duties of an alpha the way you are supposed to, then you also will gain the respect of your herd.  Without aggression towards them or threatening posturing, like you had been doing in the past.  Something worth mentioning:  Since Tember has been in Mathias, she has not reared up on her hind legs at all.

Beau continues to be aloof, yet watchful.  It is apparent that Tember is still not accepted because Beau still has not greeted Tember in friendship.

This afternoon the herd was split into two groups.  One group went across the street to the other pasture, we’ll call it the pond pasture, and one group stayed at the farm.

The horses in the pond pasture are: Beau, Apache, Lil Man, Christina, Lena, McGill, Sweetwater, Hope, and our donkey, Charlie.

Beau’s reaction to wanting to be at the pond pasture speaks volumes about his confidence that Pepper can handle the ‘alpha’ training of Tember.

The horses remaining at the farm are: Pretty Girl, Preacher, Pepper, Tember, Presi, Cody, Heart, Majestic, Faith, and Cassius.

October 8, 2014

Day 11

All is well at the farm and pond pasture.  The horses in the pond pasture were grazing.  Beau seemed very relaxed.  None of the horses were running the fence line near the gate.  Some of the horses have been known to do this if they want back across the street to the barn.  This demonstrates contentment in their new location.

Temper rolled!  Not only did she roll, but it was done in close proximity to Cassius and Preacher.  Horses roll for many reasons: to get the flies off of them; help get the loose hair off; or to scratch just because they enjoy doing this.  However, a horse will not roll without first being content and relaxed in their environment. Why? Because to roll is to leave yourself completely vulnerable to an attck of a predator.  It has become apparent that Tember is now comfortable enough in the herd to roll.  Cassius and Preacher had no reaction, continuing to graze.  Tember rolled a second time about an hour later.  This is also an indication that she is relieved because she no longer has to be wary of Beau or the other horses now in the pond pasture.

Pepper is continuing to stay with Tember, keeping a watchful eye on her.

October 9 2014

Day 12

At the farm, there is a section that has been gated and fenced off from the well pasture.  We call this our riding arena.  Within this arena is where two round bales have been placed in hay feeders for fall and winter feeding of the horses.  One feeder is at the far end of the arena and the other at the opposite end near the gate.  This afternoon the gate was opened, allowing access to the hay.

All of the horses, with the exception of Pepper and Tember, ended up in the arena.  They were either gathered around the hay feeder eating or were grazing on the grass that had been allowed to grow.  Pepper led Tember to the entrance of the arena.  Neither horse went in, but stayed outside and just watched.  Pepper was showing Tember how a herd is supposed to act when eating together.  As with everything that happens within a herd, there is a pecking order when it comes to eating.

To illustrate this, the horses that are higher up in the pecking order eat first.  When they have had their fill of hay, the other horses that are lower on the pecking order will then be allowed to eat.  Because there are two round bales of hay in the arena, all the horses can eat.  Cody, Heart, Cassius, Preacher, and Pretty Girl will be around one feeder eating.  Majestic and Presi will usually be eating hay in the second feeder.

October 10, 2014

Day 13

From today on, the information presented will be focused solely on the horses at the farm, since the horses in the pond pasture are now not directly involved with the integration of Tember.

This morning the horses are seen alternating between grazing on the new grass starting to grow in the pastures and eating hay in the riding arena.  Tember and Pepper have been grazing on the grass in the pastures.

This afternoon, Pepper led Tember into the riding arena where they both starting grazing on the grass.  At times, Tember would just be standing in the arena watching the other horses eating hay.  She knew that she was not allowed to eat any hay.  Pepper would then lead Tember out of the arena and into the well pasture to graze and just hang out.  This happened several times throughout the afternoon.  Each time, Tember reacted in the same manner.

October 10, 2014

Day 14

Today, Pepper again led Tember into the riding arena.  This time, however, Pepper left the arena and Tember was on her own.  Pepper stayed outside of the arena and just watched how Tember handled herself.  All of the other horses were eating hay from the feeders.  Tember just stood there looking at the other horses.  Now, this is where it gets very interesting.

Bad habits die hard.  Tember had been used to using intimidation and hostility to prevent the other two horses in Virginia from eating.  Apparently, Tember decided that she could now do the same thing to our herd.  She had a very rude awakening.  Tember walked up to one of the hay feeders and tried to force the other horses away so that she could eat.  She started with Cody, Heart and Cassius. Big mistake! These three horses turned on Tember and chased her away. Tember then went to the other hay feeder where Preacher, Pretty Girl, Presi, Majestic, and Faith were eating. Faith and Presi did not turn on Tember, but Preacher, Pretty Girl and Majestic turned on her and chased her away.

Tember then started running all around the riding arena, tossing her head to and fro, obviously irritated and very upset.  The tables were now turned.  It was now Tember who was prevented from eating, and she didn’t like it.  What she had been dishing out to the two horses in Virginia was now being dished out to her.  Tember tried two more times to intimidate our herd with no success.  And, each time she was chased away by the other horses, their ears flattened against their heads. She was forced out of the arena.

Pepper, watching all of this activity, seemed to be saying ‘Okay, big shot, how do you like them apples’?  ‘Have you learned your lesson yet?’  ‘How does it feel to be on the receiving end for once?’ Pepper then went to Tember and led her away from the arena and into the middle of the well pasture.  They stayed there for awhile and then Pepper led Tember in to the large barn pasture.  She was not allowed into the riding arena for the rest of the day.

October 13, 2014

Day 16

Pepper again led Tember into the riding arena.  It was obvious that Pepper was giving Tember another opportunity.  This time, Pepper stayed in the arena.  Tember kept her distance from the hay feeders where the other horses were eating.  She just stood and watched.  Pepper then walked to one of the hay feeders and started to eat.  Pretty Girl, Preacher, and Cassius were also eating.  Tember tentatively walked up to the feeder next to Pepper and started eating.  Tember did not try to bully her way in.  And, this time she was not chased away.

After awhile, Pepper led Tember away from the hay feeder and they both started grazing on the grass in the arena. None of the other horses reacted negatively. They just continued to either graze on the grass or eat from the feeder.  Tember had been taught a valuable lesson from the other horses.

October 14, 2014

Day 17

Another milestone was reached today.  Tember was allowed into the upper pasture.  This morning she was found in the upper pasture, along with the rest of the herd.  Everyone seemed to be at ease.  As before, wherever Pepper went Tember followed.  Faith was also seen together with Tember.  Cassius is starting to warm up to Tember.

Tember is now allowed in all of the pastures and the riding arena.

October 15, 2014

Day 18

Tember is adjusting well to her environment.  She is allowed to be closer and closer to our herd.  Cassius greeted Tember today.

Conclusions:  Tember is gaining more and more acceptance with our herd.  She has gone from being alone in one small section of the well pasture to having free access to all of pastures.  Pepper is continuing to instruct Tember on how an alpha should act and react.  A major breakthrough was when Tember was severely disciplined from trying to bully the other horses while they were eating.  Comparing the horse Tember was when she first arrived at the farm in Mathias with how she is now, it is like night and day.  It will be interesting to see if she will retain what she has learned in Mathias and apply it when she returns to Virginia.