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.
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.
Even though Rain Man was potentially one of the most dangerous horses we’d encountered, there was something about this comical kid that stole our hearts.
There’s a magical moment when you find yourself so connected with a horse that there’s no need to grip, anticipate or concern yourself (much) with going off. Interestingly, it’s often less about the horse and more about you.
Just as the screaming, striking and kicking was about to get underway, I called the most aggressive three-year-old filly. Hearing her nickname, she jerked her head around to see me at the gate.
If you think your horse learns to trust you because you run him around in a restricted circle until he’s exhausted, think again. Some practitioners boast ‘licking and chewing’ as a sign of submission and associated respect (and this is something to be proud of?), but this can also signal stress.
Well, maybe horses are more forgiving than humans, but they remember. Plus, anyone who thinks they’re “teaching their horse respect” with what they do to the equine vs. how they relate to him is living in a dream world. Sure, you can gain his fear, her obedience, his compliance and her cooperation, but you’ll never win a horse’s trust with an end-game in mind that doesn’t include the equine in the conversation.
Even if you don’t think the horse should be part of the conversation, if you fail to incorporate his personality and issues into your training plans, you’re bound to get hurt.
As I’ve matured (and this can be very good thing), I’ve started to question the wisdom of risking my neck (and other body parts) starting young horses under saddle. It was a lot easier when a spill had me bouncing off the ground in a nanosecond through a practically seamless move that had me back […]
You won’t get pat answers claiming to solve all your problems, but you will get ideas on how you can learn to read, respond to and connect with your horse in ways you may not have imagined.