Mules and horses are good at this. They know how to get around the hay pile, they know who they can nudge over and who they can boss around. It’s called herd dynamics.
The water trough is another example of defining herd dynamics. There may be an informal line at the water trough, but everyone knows their place. If a horse or mule steps up before his “turn” then ears quickly lay back, and the structure of the pecking order is then reenforced. What pecking order you say? The basic pattern of social organization within a flock of poultry in which each bird pecks another lower in the scale without fear of retaliation and submits to pecking by one of higher rank. That pecking order!
Broadly speaking, a dominance hierarchy in a group of social animals…that pecking order!
Several years ago, an informal race was set up near the levy along the Missouri River between Cowboy the paint horse, and Rawhide the bay mule. They were both competitive by nature and they were fun to ride. The topic of who is faster, the horse or the mule came up and to settle the argument, the race was scheduled on one, early Summer’s evening.
There were horse riders watching on the sidelines along with the crowd of flies and mosquitoes. Everyone was ready…the race started off with a bang! Myself, riding Cowboy down the main stretch, and Bronco Laura on Rawhide the fearless bay mule, are galloping full speed ahead all the way down the throughway. We are moving fast down the entire track! At the straightaway, I
am leaning forward, giving a pep talk into Cowboy the paint horse’s ear to win this thing! Bronco kept the course on Rawhide the bay mule, by yelling and screaming at the top of her lungs, and slapping leather! Cheers and hollering took over the entire valley!
We were neck in neck when all of a sudden, Rawhide took an abrupt rubberneck
move to initiate a Sally-Stink-Eye stare tactic! You know the Sally Stink-Eye Stare Tactic, where the opponent sizes you up in a micro-second. Where you feel in an instant, it’s curtains for you! That Sally-Stink-Eye Stare tactic!
That was the moment that Cowboy the paint horse became fearful of the competition all because Rawhide the mule, eye-balled him all the way down the track! Rawhide the mule won the race by two lengths easy! Another historical moment recorded in the Devil’s Island Boarding Barn Hall of Fame!
There will be a time in your life, for you to compete at what is important to you. Whether it is a job position or being first to the counter at a K-Mart Blue-Light special.
Losing to the competition can be emotional, however, you need to focus on:
- Accepting your loss.
- Keep your spirits high.
- Preparing for your next competition.
- Congratulating the winner right away.
Cowboy the paint horse took the loss pretty hard, so I started one-on-one sessions with him on building his self-esteem. He got rewarded
for the slightest try on his part on whatever I asked of him. And it wasn’t long after that, Cowboy bounced back and became very full of himself. And that’s how you take it on the chin. OK, you got this!