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March 2012

February 2012

My Office, my Co-worker

Noodle my co-worker
Noodle and I have been together for 19 years.  For the past couple years he has been going to work with me.  Through observation I  learned that horses will trust each other much faster than trusting a human.  Plus,  who doesn't want to spend the day in the office with their horse?

Noodle is a great lead "pony" horse.  With a flicker of his ears or a swish of his tail,  the horse being led quickly learns his placement next to Noodle.  If you pass him,  Noodle will bite;  if you tail-gait,  he will kick.  New horses learn that traffic can be managed and mailboxes are nothing to pay attention to.  Having a rider over them for a few days also makes the transition a lot easier when they are ready to be ridden.

Back in the Saddle-breds

  For some,  getting back in the saddle after six months off is intimidating.  My intimidation has been writing on my blog,  thus resulting in a six month hiatus.   I wasn't sure how to jump back in.  So here it goes.

Currently I am working with Jack and Jill,  Cleveland Bay-Saddlebreds. They share the same sire as my adored Cleveland Bay-Thoroughbred,  Watson. Jack and Jill are four and five years old respectively.  They came to me with minimal handling.  Plus they have never left their farm and the herd they considered family.

Alert and focused on their new surroundings,  their body language told me these horses were going to need a training program specially designed for them.   This program would consist of focusing on "exposure"  to life and teaching them how to react in new situations.  

Jack and Jill
I would keep them together in a small secure paddock with their halters on for the next few days.   The weather was mild and better to be out in,  rather than confined to a stall in a scary new place.  They would soak in the new smells of other animals,  hear the movement of horses nearby and get used to the rhythms of a new farm.  I would greet them many times a day in order for them to get comfortable with me.

 Even though these horses wore halters,  they did not know how to safely have one put on  or even have a person walk up to them.   They did not know what  brushing was orany simple things we take for granted.  I was there to introduce them to the world of humans.  It was up to me to convince them we can have a lot of fun together.  Jack and Jill had never been mishandles but rather they just had a routine that didn't involve much hands-on human interaction.