Monday, October 21, 1996
Buster and the wolves
Let me tell you about the first time I rode my horse Buster out to the pen holding the captive wolves. Buster is a young horse; he is only six years old. He had never seen or smelled a wolf before, but long before we got to the pen that first time, his ears pricked up and he stopped walking so quickly. Something was strange to him. I had to encourage him with a little pressure from my legs, and I even said something to him.
When he finally got within view of the pen he stopped with his ears forward. He did not want to go any further and almost jumped back into Bruno, the pack horse. When a horse is scared like that I like to be calm and gentle, and encourage the horse. Some people take a rough approach and make the horse go forward against its will.
So I sat there with Buster, petting him on the neck, and talking to him. With my legs I squeezed gently, asking him to move toward the pen and the wolves. Gradually he moved forward, but his eyes, ears, and nose were working the whole time. I kept petting him on the neck and talking to him. Finally he walked right up to the pen with the wolves swirling inside. He was very nervous but he stood there. I quickly unloaded the meat and dragged it into the pens so the wolves could eat. Buster just stood there and watched them.
Now Buster has gone with me to feed the wolves so many
times that he hardly glances into the pen. It makes
me think about that first feeding. I think that not
forcing him to go fast helped him feel more comfortable
with the wolves. It was not a bad experience for him.
Horses get many different jobs in life and feeding
wolves is just one of his. It's no big deal now. And
I'm always glad to have Buster's company, instead of
a truck or some kind of machine that feels nothing.