Bonjour Madams et Monsieurs

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12 years 5 months ago #29998 by Belle Bosse
:confused: Je ne comprends pas...?
Pardon, Je parle anglais. :D

yeah, I don't understand Francais very well either, but I'm beginning to, and it's taken a year to get this far! English is not the only language I'm fluent in. I'm learning French, as that is what is spoken in New Caledonia and it is a matter of survival to learn it, but it has been a heap of laughs along the way.
Becoming multi-lingual is what happens when you grow up outside your Passport country and then accompany your spouse on international work postings! I'm Australian, my husband is a New Zealander. NZ is home and Northland our chosen landing ground. We have a bare block and lots of plans for it when we return next year.

This website has proven more entertaining and addictive than "days of our drearies" TV. It has also helped with research for our block's development so we can avoid some of the problems experienced by members on here.
The "les Gendarmes pour l'anglais" stalled my joining up for quite a while, but yesterday after being bitten by a stroppy horse I'd gone to assist...
I thought, blow the grammar police! They can learn French! Writing is one of my many hobbies.

So anyway, to the horsey folk, why would a horse want to rear and bite when it is only being helped??

The horse in question is tethered off the roadside on a long rope attached to a sturdy chain around his neck. He is generally looked after "ok" by his local owner, but water is not thought of, regardless of pouring rain or hot humid days reaching 36C and no shade. The horse is in reasonable condition... at the moment...!
Yesterday as I walked into town I noticed the horse had tangled his rope around the tree he was tied to and nearby saplings until it was quite short. I spoke to the horse, but walked on without stopping. Returning home, the horse whinnied when he saw me. I had time to assist him, so I stopped, put down the backpack of groceries and went to meet him.
I let him smell my hand and he was ok with that, but he started being difficult as soon as I took hold of the rope to lead him in reverse to the way he'd tangled himself. I managed to get him to unwind 3 laps of the saplings, with him rearing and pawing at me and trying to bite. He bit me on the arm on the 3rd lap.
There was still one turn to go, but I didn't feel safe with him like that and decided...
Forget it! I left him in his sapling tangle and got out of there before he kicked or got crazier. I thought of going back with the machete and chopping the saplings down but don't trust him.
Im no horsey person but I do like horses. I enjoyed horse riding, have had my share of falls, kicks and injuries from horses.
I took up sailing instead and have had far more enjoyment from yachts with just the same thrill of a large powerful unpredictable living creature under me. I know navigation, passage planning and have skippered two ocean going yachts between Australia and Vanuatu. I know more about sailing than I do farming.
I was strongly advised to never to ride horses ever again after a permanent back injury in 2000. Twenty minutes after leaving the horse, the back injury was yelling at me from the rope jerking the horse had done while rearing. An uncomfortable (read painful) night.

So I'm wondering, what could/ would have set him off?
Feed... he had very little. Water... none. Shade... some. Wind... none.
Weather... cool and attempting to rain. Chain... loose enough, but not what I'd say was comfortable due to its link size... could it have caused pain? Was it fear?
Stranger... we hadn't met before, though we had seen each other many times as I walked to town and back home. I have spoken to him before.
Or is it just that he didn't understand what I was saying to him in English?

He is not the first animal I've helped here. Back in March/ April/ May I was carrying water and grass to a nice natured young female horse that was tethered and in pretty poor condition due to neglect. Her neglect made me cross. I would have assisted the owner with dressing the open rope burn above her rear hoof, which was down to muscle, if I could have found them and spoken with them. No parle francais! My attempt at getting the horse help got nowhere. Some days the only food or water she got was what I carried to her. She was eventually moved and I haven't seen her since. We have had a very dry winter and spring and the rainy season has just started. Unfortunately, the locals don't know how to look after animals here.
A luckier animal is on my lap...
Last month I became mum to a highway rescue kitten. She was picked up from the road shoulder several kilometers out of town in the 110 km/hr zone. Her chances for survival were slim as she had no where safe to go. She was a tiny scrap of a kitten; very thin, dehydrated, hungry, weak, smelly, dirty, full of ticks, fleas and ear-mites, coughing and scared.
"Chantelle de la Route" (translates to "Highway Singer") or just called "Little Rascal", is now one gorgeous kitten with soft silky fur, a great personality and ready purr who is energetically into everything! A real delight to have around.

Cats I understand, but can someone please explain the mind of the horse??

Merci beau coup, aka: thank you very much.

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12 years 5 months ago #405585 by stephclark
ahh Bonjour..lovely part of the world you are in..

good on you for doing your bit for the animals there, it is hard when in a different country that seems to value animal welfare different from home..its what i find hardest when travelling myself, i just want to take all the sick, scared little ones with me..of course i cant, so hard..

i would suspect horsey was probably frightened and confused about having to back and turn with soemthing around his legs.. was he struggling being tangled?..

ahh and dont worry about the grammer gurus, reread some of the posts with your sense of humour face on and you will see its all abit of tongue in cheek [;)]

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12 years 5 months ago #405604 by Belle Bosse
"i would suspect horsey was probably frightened and confused about having to back and turn with soemthing around his legs.. was he struggling being tangled?.."

No, his feet and legs were completely free. He just couldn't reach any food or go anywhere. But he wasn't happy stepping over the taut rope a couple inches off the ground.
I only led him forward as I don't know what his training level is... but then... maybe he isn't trained?? hmmm...

The rope was wrapped around the big tree 3 times then around a nearby sapling group about 4 times which left him on a very short rope.

IF he had his feet caught and was struggling, I would have taken it slower and tried to calm the animal first.
Then tested his reactions by running my hand down his side and leg before doing anything further, or going for assistance.

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12 years 5 months ago #405607 by GloPony
Replied by GloPony on topic Bonjour Madams et Monsieurs
Bonjour! (Despite having two French names, that's about my limit in French. [:I])

I have great interest in what goes on in the minds of horses but without having actually witnessed the scene, it would be difficult to accurately determine what it was that produced this reaction in the horse.

The chain would definitely = pain to some degree. Horses are VERY sensitive creatures! Pain can indeed produce a huge reaction & is most often the cause of unwanted behaviour.

Horses' reactions (in their most simplified form) boil down to basic physics: action on the front end causes reaction from the front end & action on the back end causes reaction from the back end.

Pressure on the horse's head (e.g. you trying to lead it) can produce rearing. In most cases, the rearing horse will be pulling away though (flight from stimuli), rather than attacking (fight the stimuli). The fact that the horse only had a rope around his neck & therefore had full control of his head (as opposed to a horse wearing a headcollar/halter), would suggest that the horse had deduced that the odds would be in his favour with the latter option (as you found out! [;)]).

There is no doubt you were dealing with a defensive horse but it's hard to know the catalyst for his defence. The fact that his 'people' neglect him & have little regard for his wellbeing may also indicate that they mistreat him in other ways. These can be very subtle to the human but have tremendous impact on the horse!

There's a high probability you were dealing with a horse who just doesn't like people & who feels the need, for whatever reason, to vehemently defend himself from any advances. I find that VERY sad!! :(

If the horse has no water (horses will drink up to 40 ltrs a day!) & very little food, he will be suffering from dehydration & will most certainly have stomach ulcers too (horses can only cope for 1 & 1/2 hrs or so without eating before stomach acids build to ulcerous levels). This then leads to vitamin & mineral deficiencies which can cause oversensitive nerve endings & as a result, the horse can't stand to be touched, also resulting in the behaviour you described.

So many possibilities!!:confused: Just know that you did a VERY good thing by trying to help him out in the first place & I can assure you, it was nothing personal as far as the horse was concerned. [;)][^]

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12 years 5 months ago #405618 by Belle Bosse
Hi GloPony,
Thank you for your reply.
It all makes sense... with defensiveness and lack of care.

I think I will try and make friends with this stroppy fellow with water on warm days. And venture out on brain frying days as well, to take him a tub of water when Im sweltering in the cool of two airconditioners.
My little shopping cart can manage 18kg before it and I wobble at the knees. I have a 20L plastic tub I can take with me as an over sized hat.

A few months back, when looking into dehydration and what levels lead to death, I read that horses and humans both drop at the same level of dehydration. Goats and camels last the longest.

Thanks also StephClark, I'll let you know how things go.

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12 years 5 months ago #405636 by GloPony
Replied by GloPony on topic Bonjour Madams et Monsieurs
Good on you Belle Bosse! :D

Even if the horse appears ungrateful, he'll be very appreciative of the water & I'm sure he won't take long to change his view of you. [;)]

Just stay safe & watch those front feet & teeth!

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12 years 4 months ago #405721 by kaybe
Replied by kaybe on topic Bonjour Madams et Monsieurs
Bonjour Belle Bosse. Good on you for caring enough to try to help. Glo Pony's answer brought tears to my eyes thinking about what that animal could be suffering. The water sounds like the best bet to get the horse to trust you. I also wonder if you could lead the horse with food, like carrots, so that you don't actually have to touch him to untangle the rope.

Your kitten sounds lovely. I love her names.

Au revoir. Joyeux Noel!

Tomorrow is the day I will stop procrastinating.

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12 years 4 months ago #405752 by Belle Bosse
Bonjour Kaybe,
Joyeux Noel et Bonne Annee! (Merry Christmas and Happy New Year).
I hope your Christmas is a great one for you and your family, and the new Year is kind to you.
I cant believe it is this weekend! This time last year I wanted to wish the guy at the Shell service station a happy Christmas and new year. It took a while to realise what I was trying to wish him, then he told me how to say it in French... and broke into a big smile whn I almost got it right.

Yes, Chantelle is lovely. She is black and white markings which is my favourite. White feet legs and belly to chin, black patch on her chin, white band across her white whiskers and black cheeks, black nose, black head and ears, back and tail and black patches on two of her white legs.

GlowPony,
I've just come in from seeing to the horse after an 8 km walk to get watermelon and bananas from a fruit shop down by the airport. It is a rather warm 30C in the shade with 45% humidity! Thankfully there was a pleasant breeze blowing and I had essential equipment with me... hubby's wide brim hat and 3L of water.

I took 18L of tap water in 1.5 L bottles and filled 2 large carry bags with grass cut from the roadside, down to the horse.
The horse is currently tied to the Court House fence. It must get so frustrating for the animals to be in sight and smell of water and food and not being able to reach it. There is a big puddle of water in the Court House gateway and there is grass around him but it is all beyond the reach of his rope. He has eaten the grass down to bare dirt, still no water and not at all happy to see me again! It wont take much for him to get skinny.

He came over to where I started filling the tub, put his head in the tub while I was emptying the water bottles and was pawing the ground with one foot as he tried to sip up the water I was pouring in as fast as the narrow bottle necks allowed. I got 5L in the tub before he got too agitated.
His ears were flat back the whole time, not a happy look and pawing the ground with both feet. He spent more time splashing the water in his mouth than drinking. He then started pawing the tub and eventually pawed the tub hard on the lip and tipped it over and walked away. So much for the water!

He dived into the pile of grass when he saw what I'd tipped out, but with his ears still back, not looking pleased and pawing the ground. His back legs were getting jittery too, so I picked up my tub and left him to his pile of grass. It will stop the hungries for a few minutes at least.

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12 years 4 months ago #405757 by Stu_R
Replied by Stu_R on topic Bonjour Madams et Monsieurs
Firstly well done Belle Bosse for carring and helping the horse :)
Um i am not a horsey person ( kinow bugger all about them :( ) but am not keen on the sound of ears flatback.. when the Ram here does that , um shit is about to happen :( .. dont know if its the same with horses or not as i know bugger all about horses :(
May take a while , but i have a strange feeling you will win horsey over :)

5 retired Greyhounds ( Bridgette , Lilly, GoGo,Sam and now Lenny) 15 friendly sheep all of whom are named and come when you call them :) , 2 goats, Mollie and Eee Bee :
Olive trees , .. old bugger doing the best he can with no money or land :)

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12 years 4 months ago #405762 by kate
Replied by kate on topic Bonjour Madams et Monsieurs
Good on you for helping the horse...be careful with the grass though, you don't want to give him colic! It sounds as if his situation is appalling, do you know his owner? Can you talk to them about the horse's condition?

Web Goddess

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12 years 4 months ago #405820 by GloPony
Replied by GloPony on topic Bonjour Madams et Monsieurs
You're a gem Belle Bosse!!! :D :D :D

All the pawing with the front feet & ears back is extreme anxiety! They do get VERY grumpy when they're hungry & thirsty & by the sounds of things, he's possibly a bit scared of people which is why he's still in full on defence mode.

One of my 'freebie' (cause he has problems) horses is neither starving or thirsty yet STILL behaves in this way when a food bucket is presented. He doesn't mean it though... for him, it's mostly just habit now.

What you're doing is a VERY good thing! Are there any animal welfare agencies there at all? Maybe they could have a word with the owner & remind of his responsibilities?

I'm sure you've made this horse's Christmas!!! It's certainly made mine to know that there are still such caring in the world! [^]

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12 years 4 months ago #405853 by Belle Bosse
Hi Stuart, enchanted to meet you.
Sheep are funny things, but I really quite like them. I spent a year at the end of high school, in Gisbourne on a sheep and cattle farm and preferred working with the sheep more than the cattle. They are hopelessly defenseless, but are much smarter than they are generally given credit for! I noticed feet stamping was one of their warnings not to come closer. If that didnt work, then... scatter!!!
Im looking forward to getting my own sheep. How many sheep per peson is the National average now days?

Hi Kate, you had me worried there for a bit regarding colic, but I dont think grass cut from a 2m x 0.5m strip was enough to give him a belly ache. There was heaps more grass to cut but I was struggling with a blunt knife. The bags were loosely packed.
Note to self: learn how to sharpen knives and keep them at preferred sharpness!

The horse is having a better day today as he has been shifted twice and has grass to eat. His owner is looking after him, even if it is not to our "preferred standard".
Finding the owner could be difficult and as to speaking with him about horse care; that would be fun without a translator on hand. My vocab is limited but I do have the words for "horse", "water", "eating", and try to remember "40" sounds like carrot... I still get "need" and "drink" mixed up. Got to love learning languages, as it can be hilarious at times and frustrating at others.

GloPony: thanks for the behavioural tips of a nervous horse. That is most helpful.
As to your question about animal welfare; to my knowledge it is based in Noumea, but does not have a branch up north where we are, or the resources.

Not all is poor care for the animals here though. I have seen a number of sleek horses under some very proud looking riders. Two stockmen stand out and their cattle are in beautiful condition. Ding!! I'd probably have more success by introducing the horse's owner to the stockmen...

Merry Christmas and all the best for a Happy New Year!! I hope it is kind to you all, and to your furry, feathered and woolly friends!

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12 years 4 months ago #405888 by LongRidge
A small note from the self appointed Assistant (note) Grammar Enforcement Manager (abbreviated to GEM if you wish). Mesdam and Messieur, without the "s" at the end :-).
Dton wrroy too muhc abuot teh splleign. Ambiguity is a problem though.

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12 years 4 months ago #405890 by Belle Bosse
Im almost as excited as I was when hand feeding a Rhino!

Mr Cherval Horse says "Merci beau coup" (thanks very much) for the Christmas present from NZ... all 9 litres of it!
His body language was intense interest and indicated he would have liked more water as well, so thanks ladies n gentle man.

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12 years 4 months ago #405891 by Stu_R
Replied by Stu_R on topic Bonjour Madams et Monsieurs
:) Belle Bosse :) even though i know bugger all about horses .. i was right in that i had a feeling you would win Horsey over :) .. am impressed with your stickability :) and you are winning with Mr Horsey :)

5 retired Greyhounds ( Bridgette , Lilly, GoGo,Sam and now Lenny) 15 friendly sheep all of whom are named and come when you call them :) , 2 goats, Mollie and Eee Bee :
Olive trees , .. old bugger doing the best he can with no money or land :)

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