Toby and Huck have definitely fallen into place here. They both are participating in lessons have a following of students who have become attached to each of them.
Horses are much like people in that they have different personalities, strengths and weaknesses, and there are natural leaders and followers.
In our herd we have 2 horses that share the role of leaders, Sparrow (Boss Mare) and RES (Alpha Horse). Sparrow and RES act a lot like a couple and treat the herd as their family. RES wants everyone to know he is strong and in charge while Sparrow keeps the herd safe from predators, and keeps everyone in line. In turn, much like children and parents in a family, the other horses rely on Sparrow or RES for security. As long as these roles stay in place everyone is happy and peaceful. When you introduce new horses, everyone in the herd needs to reassign their roles, which we see every time we bring a new horse home.
Toby has a personality much like our seasoned herd member Radar. Both Toby and Radar are content to stay to themselves out of the drama and confrontations. They don’t really care if they are accepted or not, they hang out with anyone are are both very easy going. It is not uncommon to see Toby or Radar far away from the rest of the herd when grazing. Toby lets the other horses push him around to the point where he doesn’t always get an opportunity to eat at the hay hut, so therefore he has to be supplemented with extra feed and hay in the evenings. These personality traits that Toby and Radar have carry over into their jobs here. Radar has been an extraordinary horse for therapeutic and adapted lessons. He is kind and calm and is confident with obstacles he faces. Toby is very similar. He has started training to be a therapy horse because of his calm and sweet nature and ability to conquer obstacles.
Huck has more of an instinctive desire to be an alpha horse. We already have Huck’s brother Earl as a member of our herd so re-introducing them to each other was very interesting. They squealed and had a little scuffle than realized that all was good and they could get along. When Huck was introduced to the rest of the horses, it took him a little longer than Toby to get along because he wanted to be in charge. After RES and Sparrow pushed him around a little bit he backed down and submitted to their leadership. Just yesterday Huck and RES where playing together in the pasture. Huck has shown us more abilities in his performance much like his brother Earl. Huck and Earl are both extremely intelligent and get a feel for what their riders are asking very quickly. Huck is very light and responsive and needs the slightest cues to do what he is supposed to. He still needs some experience with obstacles in order to build his confidence. Huck has been helping our students with more advanced horsemanship skills grow and learn with him.