Saturday, February 28, 2009

good manners...

When our girls were little (about ages 6 & 8) and began to have an interest in horses, I decided that it would be wise to find an instructor for them. I had "sort of" grown up around horses, never having one of my own, but certainly had friends who owned them - as well as my cousin. When I think of the way we "rode" I am amazed that no one was ever seriously hurt or killed!!! My favorite line was "I know enough about horses to be dangerous"... I didn't want that for the girls if they were really going to be serious about horses. In looking for a "trainer" I wanted someone who taught "horsemanship"... not the "pay your money, jump on a saddled horse, ride, and go home"... I wanted them to learn that a horse is a living being and not something you that ride around on and be done with. We were blessed to find Laura..who definitely is all about horses, and horsemanship. One day, as I was watching a lesson, I made a comment to Laura that I would love to learn properly and she said..."why aren't you??" and so I signed on with her and did just that.(15 years ago!!!) She also helped me find Silver (my very first horse!!!) and I can't even begin to list the things she has taught. I still "ride" with her, Tonka and I will begin our lessons again in just a couple of weeks!!!! (When my friend Betty made a comment to me that she would like to learn "horsemanship" I sent her right to Laura, and Betty has had a grand time learning about horses.)

Laura is "big" on rules!!! Both of the human and the equine, and has taught me well that "when you get lazy about horse rules... you probably will get hurt". So, every time I handle our guys or am around them, I pay attention, I work on not "being lazy".. and "demand" the same from our little equine herd.

Last Monday morning, while the horses were still "snowed" in and Ed was working on "digging them out". I decided to get the stalls done. I have always felt a good "mark of obedience in a horse" is be able to work around them while they are in a stall. We "practice" this a lot, especially with the drafts, I shouldn't imagine that you would want to get "squished" against the stall wall by 1800 lbs of horse. Our guys know "step back", "step over", "whoa", and "stand" quite well, but again, we don't get lazy about it. I took this photo of Duke with his half clean stall. I "parked" him on one side of the stall, got that part cleaned, them moved him over so I could do the other half. He is very good about this, as is Silver... Tonka still needs reminders, but you can work easily around him as well. It's just so handy to do this and not have to cross tie them in the alley way or kick them outside... which we also do!!!!

Those of us who have horses, or even animals in our lives, can see these good manners applied among them as well. I marvel at the respect that they have for each other.. Silver is definitely the head horse, Tonka next and then Duke. The slightest "pinning of ears", "hard eye", or "bite" can easily move the "lower horse" out of the way. Sometimes you get the kick or the squeal, but seldom, because they mostly respect each other, or respond to the slight warning. I feel that if they do that for each other, then they can certainly do that for me. I just need to make it known that it's what I want, and I will only "go to heels" if I need to.

It's a wonderful thing to have a good relationship with another creature. I wish that more children could learn this thing, and I always feel so sad for kids that don't have any pets in their lives. I love having families attend dog classes and seeing each member working with their new puppy. Lessons like that are a gift!!!

Maybe it's what the "world" could use a little more of...... "good manners".........