I was going to post some pictures of Sunny and of M riding the donkey from the other night, but I seem to have left my camera in the truck. Since it's currently at work with T, pics will have to wait.
It's been a hot two weeks, and I haven't gotten to ride as much as I'd have liked, but I guess that's life. We rode for a couple of hours the other night, although we didn't cover too much ground. T and I planned to alternate riding & walking leading M, since he really wanted to come along. So for the first mile I rode Sunny while T walked leading Rufus with M aboard. Sunny - in strange territory - was being a perfect gentleman.
Unfortunately when we traded off, Rufus decided to display the barn-sour, herd-bound side of his personality, and balked about every 100 feet for the second mile. His new girlfriend Bubbles wasn't along, and he didn't think Sunny rated notice, I guess. Led Rufus was fine, which was why we had no problems for the first mile. But when T got on, with no one at his head, Rufus decided he did NOT want to go any further.
I suspect Rufus's been allowed to get away with that type of behavior in the past, and he'll continue to try it when it's convenient for a while.
Balking and backing up were about the worst of it - his front feet didn't leave the ground. We were both careful to spin him rather than backing him when he balked. And he doesn't (thankfully) run away backwards, a good thing, since there were ditches full of stagnant, two-foot deep, mosquito-harboring water on both sides of the road!
Rather than let Rufus get away with being a twit by putting M back on and leading him, T and I just took turns riding Rufus and Sunny ended up with the easy task of packing M.
With both of us consistently winning the battle, by the time we turned around to come back Rufus'd mostly decided to give in and go the direction he was pointed. But I expect we haven't seen the last of it yet.
So, I didn't get to ride Sunny much that evening, but on the plus side, he left his herd without fussing, loaded (alone) into a strange trailer, hopped out and stood politely to be tacked up, went merrily down the road packing M without paying the slightest bit of attention to what Rufus was up to, ignored the accompanying dog (and, for the most part, the miniature donkey that was in the yard when we unloaded him) and then loaded up and went home with perfect equanimity. For those of you that haul routinely, that may not seem like a big deal, but I haven't trailered Sunny anywhere since last year and even then he went with other horses, so it's good to know he's retaining his on the road manners!