Saturday, November 28, 2009

Woman's Best Friend...

For Thanksgiving, my Granny and Aunt Gale flew in from Maine for the holiday and surrounding week. I haven't seen either of them in a few years, as I live in western Washington, so a bit of a commute! My Aunt Gale has expressed an interest in horses these last couple of years, which has been something nice for the two of us to relate to each other through.
Today it was finally not torentially raining, and so Gale came out to take a few pictures of the horses. We got to talking about Clinton Anderson and horses yielding, (while the foals were pressing up on us, but, of course, at this point, they haven't done much in the way of yielding training, although some. I offered that if Gale wanted to, we could have an impromptu ground work session with Sandor, who I've done the most of this with, although perhaps Xandra would have been an equally good co-teacher. Rhys is still recovering from a puncture he managed to get in his right front hoof, he's almost 100% sound on it again, but I don't want to risk it with him.
I mention all of this, not because having other people work with my horses is new, or attempting to incorporate Clinton Anderson type training methods into my own training sessions is new, but for another reason. I've never actually had anyone else work with Sandor. I mean, sure, they've led him around, or held him for me while I trimmed his hooves, but I've never handed him over to actually be worked with by anyone else.
Today, I started with Sandor. I went through sending him out and to a direction, switching directions, yielding his hind end and forequarters (which we were both a little rusty on, haven't worked on it specifically in a little while, but we managed it ok). I did a little desensitization, and then offered Gale to work with him.

Amusingly, Sandor decided grass was much more interesting and that he had no interest in doing anything Gale was asking of him whatsoever! Instead Sandor just dove for grass or stood there looking at her with a mostly blank stare on his face. I felt like Sandor was saying "you're not my Mom, I don't have to listen to you." which I found entertaining, although he's going to have to learn that isn't necessarily the "right" answer. Gale kept trying the "moves" that Anderson applies, but she wasn't getting the energy behind it, she wasn't focusing herself, her attention, her being on having Sandor move. So we discussed the triangle of a horse, (horse's shoulder to you to horse's hip) and being "ahead" of that triangle, ie passed their shoulder and thus in a blocking position, vs. "behind" that triangle, ie closer to their back end) in which case it is a driving position. I also discussed uping her "wattage", projecting energy towards Sandor. Thinking along the lines of plugging yourself into an electric socket, and saying ok lets go!!, Wee!!, etc... rather than just "go.". It was really fun actually, giving Gale a lesson. I got to see some things about Sandor I hadn't thought of before, one being we need to practice a lot more than we've been and need to get a couple of new faces every now and again to remind him to listen to whoever it is who is asking. Gale also really enjoys photography, so she took a couple of pictures of Sandor and I doing our thing, I'm definitely still learning.
I think for some of the things I want to be doing, I need to put a whole lot more time into my guys so they absolutely, without a doubt, know exactly what is being asked, even if it's from a new equestrian just trying to figure it out. I can see how, easily, a person could become frustrated with themselves and give up trying all together, if they feel they are asking, and they mostly are, but still there is no result. Of course a No Grass arena could be helpful too. :-)
All in all it was another fantastic day out with the Curlies!! It was really nice to get to share them with my Granny and Aunt. :-)
Brandon caught this shot of me explaining something to Gale, not sure what it was exactly, I talk a lot.

It was neat trying to have a ground lesson with my aunt though, very, very interesting. Sandor is in for a real treat in terms of the two of us will be doing A LOT more ground work than we already were. Actually the whole process in terms of observing what actually happened and how and why, gave me some food for thought as well, in terms of how I am moving and interacting with my horses. So, we will see, life is all about learning, and I find, for me, that the more I 'learn', the more I realize I don't know and require that much more learning, communicating with horses is definitely on the top of the life long pursuit of knowledge in...lots of people have booshelves with self help books on them, I have bookshelves, filled to bursting with horses and horse/human communication books, most of which I've read more than once.
Here's another pic, just for fun of Ravyn and I. She is finally coming back around to how she was her first two days of life, which is to say super social and people oriented, thank goodness!! Due to her having to get antibiotics injected starting at three days of age, she stopped being quite to social for a while, it's good to have her back. I think, one day soon, I am going to have one incredible little herd of individuals who are particularly talented at being "Women's best friends", Gale kept commenting on how beautiful their curls were and how marvelously soft their coats were to just pet and touch, not to mention how nice it was to have them all just come right up, no chasing them down. :-)



  1. Heather, that last picture of you and Ravyn is priceless! You do such a nice job with your foals. I'm glad you were able to have your auntie and granny over for a Thanksgiving visit! I had 20 people at my house, including my horse-crazy 21 year old niece who is supposed to come back on Sunday to ride with me. Give your Aunt Gale and granny a greeting from Maine for me!

  2. Heather,
    Susan is right you and Ravyn really have connected and it shows. Love to read about you and your wonderful Curly horses. Best wishes, Angie


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