All natural horse care in the west of Ireland

Magpie Laid Down
Sunday, 01 February 2009
Today was freezing so I didn't spend too much time outside with the horses. Late this afternoon I decided I would go out to play with them for half an hour. Magpie was lying down when I went into the arena. I expected her to get up as I went in but she didn't. She just watched me as I walked around talking to Harley and Polly who came straight up to me ready to play.


While I was playing with Polly and Harley, Magpie decided to join us to see what was going on.

We were practising walking sideways which Magpie is particularly good at. It seemed she wanted to show the other two how easy it was.

Magpie and I played for a few minutes and walked sideways in each direction for a few steps. Harley and Polly looked on. Then Magpie had enough and walked away, as if to say, that's how you do it.

I went back to play with Harley and Polly and we were getting along grand. With the exception of a bit of jealousy between the two of them.

When I play with Harley, he will not let Polly join in, and visa versa. There can be a bit of barging to get my attention. It may have something to do with the treats in my pocket that I carry as rewards for when we play games.

I got so involved with them that I hadn't noticed that Magpie had laid down again. She obviously wasn't bothered by us playing games around her!!

When I finished playing with the other two I decided to see if Magpie would let me stroke her while she was lying down. I approached her very slowly and although she watched me she made no attempt to get up.

I knelt down with her and started to stroke her all over. After a few minutes she rolled completely on her side and seemed to go off into a deeper sleep. It was lovely!!

She obviously trusts me and doesn't find my presence a threat even though she was in a vulnerable position.

I was there for about 15 minutes stroking her all over as she slept.

magpieliesdown010209a.jpgI looked round and saw my husband looking out the window. I gestured to him to bring the camera as I wanted to capture the moment.

Unfortunately as he came out Magpie sat up. She didn't get up the whole way so she either didn't feel 100% comfortable with my husband's presence or she had had enough sleep.

I always hoped that I had a bond with Magpie. I wanted to re-assure her that I would never hurt her and to let her know she could trust me. It requires such a high degree of trust from a horse to its owner to lie down. It is a prey animal and we humans as predators!

I have been watching videos of owners and trainers laying horses down and often wondered what it would be like to be able to stroke my horses all over while they are lying down. It just seemed like such a lovely thing to be able to do. That your horse would trust you that much!!

From what I understand if you can stroke a horse all over whilst it is lying down it can iron out some trust and self assurance issues and create a bond between you and the horse. It's as if when they lie down and you don't eat them they realise you are not acting like the predator they thought you were!!

What is strange about this episode is that recently I have been researching how to make a horse lie down, watching tons of videos and have even ordered a book on how to do it which I am still waiting to arrive.

Do you think it is possible Magpie has been reading my mind and just like showing Polly and Harley how to walk sideways she was showing me how a horse lies down in the company of a human?!

Who needs books and videos when you have a teacher like Magpie!!

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