Saturday, September 13, 2008

Gibby was chased by 5 horses

Gibby has had quite a week. The first few days, after only a few minutes of freetime out in the yard, he went after the cats. Each time he chased the cats, I put him back in the dog pen. To reinforce the seriousness of his behavior, I carried an orange plastic Tide bottle and banged it against my leg. When he was on an intent charge after a cat that headed for the deep weeds, I threw the plastic bottle into the weeds to grab his attention. The bottle bothered him enough that when I put it down in the driveway, he circled around it. He seemed to learn instantly that my holding the orange plastic bottle and bouncing it on my leg was a signal he better head for his doghouse. Two days with the bottle and Gibby seemed to learn his lesson. The following two days, Gibby didn't chase any cats at all, didn't even go into their part of the yard.

When I open the pen gate, Gibby comes out like a flying cannon ball. It really isn't safe to be anywhere around for a couple minutes. He flies out of the pen and takes several fast runs in a circle around the trees in the yard. He scares me when he comes running back to me, but he always stops just before I'd be mowed down. After several minutes of this flying around, Gibby comes to me and leans into me for petting.

Well, today Gibby had a big treat. A friend came to the farm to see how we could keep a pair of sheep - two sheep we might go in on together - so I took her out back of the barn to see my neighbors sheep, but there were no sheep. No sheep in his field, but horses in mine, so we walked out to see the horses. We ended up walking out to the hay field gate so my friend could see the back part of the farm - there's more land beyond that gate than there is in front of it. I haven't seen most of my farm this year, so I was happy to walk through the field, but it was really exhausting - for me, but not for Gibby. Gibby tried to follow us when we entered the field by climbing over a gate, but he couldn't get through. He was smart enough to find another way to enter from the other side of the barnyard, but that put him immediately in the pasture where the horses were grazing. The horses are probably used to protecting each other from coyotes, since there are a lot of coyotes around, and Gibby is a coyote color. The horses formed a phalanx and went right after Gibby. He halted his mad dash, backed up a few steps, and then really turned tail and ran. Gibby again figured out a way to catch up with us by skirting around the horses - and then he had a wonderful time racing around and around through weeds taller than his head. He was perfect about staying close while he was running, and then he followed us back to the barnyard. In the barnyard, he made his first mistake of the day - he chased a cat. I regretted having to do it, but I had to pick up the orange bottle and order Gibby back to his doghouse. Either he knew he was in big trouble or he was as exhausted as I was, because he layed right down by the fence and didn't even bark when we left.

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