Sunday, February 21, 2010

The education of Chigger

Well so much for the weather forecast. After the fog and the frost burned off it turned into a beautiful day. Still cool enough for a jacket though. I hitched up a horse trailer, saddled and loaded Sis, and took Bear and Chigger out for a little ride.

This was Chigger’s first time out with a horse. Of course he knows Sis from here at home, but he has always considered her to be just a big playmate. Fortunately Sis is good with dogs, and has the patience of a saint where pups are concerned. She will go out of her way to avoid stepping on one. The biggest danger is that Chigger, or any other pup, could grow up believing that all horses or mules are like Sis. Believe me they aren’t, and I’ve known mules especially that would go out of their way to kill any dog they could catch. On the other hand, I used to ride a mule that was almost as good with dogs as Sis is. You just never know, sometimes not until it is to late.

Anyway, I went just a little way down the road to get away from the houses, then unloaded Sis and turned the dogs out. Chigger headed out with his Uncle Bear just like he had been doing it all his life. Of course he has been out with Bear and I before, just never with a horse. He made the usual puppy mistakes of stopping to smell things right in front of Sis, expecting her to step around him. That is where a horse like Sis really pays off. Every pup I have ever raised has to eventually learn about horses the hard way. They are big and heavy, and it hurts like heck when they step on you; even if it is an accident.

I kept the ride short. I’m soft, Sis is soft and of course carrying winter hair. The dogs are in somewhat better shape. At one point we jumped something from the timber below us. The dogs didn’t see it, and I wouldn’t have either if Sis hadn’t seen it and alerted me. I only glimpsed it through the trees, and I honestly couldn’t tell if it was a deer or coyote; but I’m thinking coyote. We made a little circle and ended up back at the truck and trailer without any wrecks. Chigger did well for his first time out with Sis. I’ll leave the trailer hooked to the pickup for awhile now. There isn’t anyplace I need to go with the truck anytime soon that I can’t drag the trailer along if I have to. The weather forecast still says rain or snow showers in the near future, but I’ll take advantage of the nice days to get in a little riding time.

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