- Savvy Horse Girl
- North Lawrence, New York, United States
- I can be described as lover of life, an animal lover, and lover of education. I am constantly striving for knowledge and learning opportunities. I've been around horses my entire life. I enjoy working with horses and their human partners through natural horsemanship philosophies, natural balance bare foot hoof care, reiki, red-light therapy, essential oils, aromatherapy, crystal healing, chromotherapy, flower essences, and more. I am a Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki Master Teacher who offers treatments for people, horses, dogs, cats, and other creatures great and small. I also teach Reiki classes for those interested in learning how to treat themselves, their loved ones, and even their animals! Natural Horse Lover Farm is located in Northern New York between the St. Lawrence River and Adirondack Mountains. Heaven on Earth. naturalhorseloverfarm.com
Monday, August 12, 2013
No Direct-Line Thinking Please!
Just as your horse should expect you to rid yourself of the bad habit of direct-line thinking, you need to expect your horse to also be rid of this trait. Case in point is a horse trying to rush into a stall for dinner time. There is no need for the rushing and impolite behavior. Getting from point A to point B can be a journey not just an end result. You can reference many of Parelli's teachings that are part of this thought including but not limited the eight principles and the responsibilities of horses and humans. (Look on my blog's main page to read these tenants.)
This evening, I had time to basically call the horses from the field to the barn) it just took a whistle. Then, while they ate grass in the playground (which is adjacent to the barn), I worked on bedding the stalls, preparing dinner, and filling water buckets. Rather than allowing the horses to run into their stalls (like usual), I thought I'd take the time to bring purpose to our time together despite it being very limited. To me, each interaction is a learning opportunity for both horse and human and to not take advantage of this would be such a shame.
Each horse was haltered, one at a time when it was their turn, in the order they came to the fence, Fosse, Whiskey, then Lola. This worked very nicely as this is the order of their stalls (we were on the outside, Dutch door area of the barn). Anyhow, I have an area outside of the barn blocked from their access (since yesterday just using some electric fence tape). I used this area to ask each horse to think, engage, and not direct-line think (as in bolting into the stall). They knew at this point that there was food in the stalls. They wanted in!
Anyhow, each horse was asked to walk through the faux gate calmly and wait while I reattached the end of the fence (squeeze game), back up (yo-yo game), turn 90 degrees putting their hindquarters towards the barn (porcupine game and squeeze game), go sideways between the barn and fence while I was in zone 1 (sideways game and squeeze game), stop in front of their stall (hind end facing the opening), then back in using pressure from the halter (porcupine game). Then, each had to pause in this position, flex, drop their head, and have the halter removed (friendly and porcupine games). They got a nice scratch afterwards (friendly game) prior to them turning, at liberty, to go to the front of the stall for the impending meal. The expectation was to do all of this with the lightest ask.
Fosse (LBE) was first and once he understood, despite his high energy level, complied with my every ask, moving backwards with more impulsion that I've seen in ages in that direction! Whiskey (RBI) was a little concerned as he felt pressured to do what I was asking. That said, I was careful with my phases and time spent with him (he needs time to process the ask). He never kicked out or went catatonic (his reaction to perceived mental pressure). He performed the maneuvers well (sideways took a few tries because of anxiety taking over a bit). Lola (LBI/LBE) was also successful. That said, she and I need to continue to work on our relationship and her trust in me as leader. When it came time to go sideways and then backwards, she kept trying to look behind her (the boys did not do this). To me, it is a sign that she didn't trust my judgment in those directions and it was revealing.
Putting principles to purpose, to me, doesn't always mean you have to be doing the more obvious horse activities which would typically be riding or performing in a discipline. I believe that foundation pieces are shrouded in principles and need to be highlighted on a regular basis. If you listen and watch, these interactions will teach and show you something you may not have expected.
In closing, as always, no matter what you are doing with your horse, keep it creative, clear, and full of reason. Make the time you have fun, no matter what and, the horse will be with you! :)