How much time do you spend pausing to consider an alternative path when things aren’t working with your horse? Even with this globally-connected satellite-driven tool it took at least five seconds to resolve confusion over a misdirected path. Funny, it never suggested a U-turn (even when I was headed in the wrong direction on exits – necessary coffee and associated bladder issues made these more numerous as the trip hit morning hours).
If you’re in a colder climate where winter means snow, you’re likely thinking about what you can do to help your horses fare well in freezing temperatures and whipping winds. There’s a lot you can do to prepare so you have a healthier horse come spring (or even now).
“Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.” -William Butler Yeats, writer, Nobel laureate (1865-1939) Few seem to have mastered the activity of standing your ground without being combative when it comes to horses. Of course, being insistent isn’t even always appropriate, depending on the […]
There’s a big difference between a horse that doesn’t have a proper foundation and one that automatically comes toward you with pressure because it’s so deeply ingrained in their psyche. Rude behavior needs to be addressed very differently, but in these cases where the horse is responding honestly, you won’t get far if your tact is to ‘teach him respect.’
This winter we had a horse come to Halcyon Acres® who clearly wasn’t right in the head. What we realized (after we got through a learning process that included vet bills and near hospitalization) was this horse was able and willing to process information – but there was nothing normal how he did it. Once we discovered the key to reaching him, we were delighted at how excited he became about meeting requests and tackling new challenges. The whole experience was akin to how Anne Sullivan describes the moment Helen Keller understood what was being tapped into her hand.
The next time you have “a failure to communicate” with your horse, consider what you may be doing to elicit the response you’re getting. Chances are, you’re creating the problem. And if you haven’t seen Cool Hand Luke, it’s worth the watch – and probably one of Paul Newman’s better performances. Might even teach you a thing or two about the power of effective (or ineffective) communications – which certainly pertains to how unreasonable demands can lead to a pugnacious – and sometimes tragic – reaction from your horse.
I chuckled at Clover and Shaquille’s guile– they jumped out of the nine acres they were in to get into the fenced area I was in and insisted on joining the powwow with the ultimate takers of this client filly. As they ran down the hill and planted themselves in front of me, it was obvious what they thought of my negligence (fortunately the human guests had a sense of humor). I understood their frustration – I was living it too as my planned day unraveled – fortunately the fix was easy for the equines as I simply opened the gate and they threaded into their designated stalls unfettered.
When you know the anatomy, you can see why trying to reason with someone (or yourself) is pretty useless when they’re in the grip of fear.
Independence Day is a cause for celebration in the United States. Picnics, fires, fireworks and lots of noise seem to represent the holiday activities for most. The last few years at Halcyon Acres® they’ve also been marked by a next-door neighbor (as close as they get, anyway, out in Podunk) with a month-long fascination around exploding loud objects from his back yard over the fields at our farm.
We’ve been exploring using herd mechanics at Halcyon Acres® a bit in new and different ways (for us, anyway). After our spitfire colt of last year kept figuring out remarkable feats to get to the main herd and away from his mom at a very young age (jumping a 4-foot, 4-strand high-tinsel coated electric fence; managing to crawl through two-strands of interior electric without touching the wires; rolling under the fence; running through it; etc.), we decided (read gave up) it would be best to save the maiden mare the angst of being separated from her darling and turned the pair out with the farm-owned crew.