Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Making An Effort--Part 1

Hi, all.

So sorry it's taken me this long to get up another post. I kept forgetting to do it when I was on the computer.

I should probably mention that the next two posts will be all about my current journey with Joey Joey.

Some observations and theories I've made since Day 1:

Ob. 2: Joey is highly motivated by food.

Ob. 3: A horse's upper lip really is their hand--they investigate, touching and feeling and smelling with their nose.
I now believe that there is a difference between a horse being mouthy and a horse just investigating. I know man should be the dominant one, but just imagine how we would feel if somebody always smacked our hands away when we wanted to explore or further understand something that we were going to use or come into contact with?

Th. 2: Perhaps Joey's disinterested because I called him mouthy when he was only curious?

My plan was to take my book, my chair, and my grooming tools out and just sit like I've been doing, but without the hay. I figured  I could read just as well in the quiet company of my horse as I can by myself in the house. Whenever he wanted to come and say hi, I would quietly attempt to groom him (Joey's been looking a little unkempt). Well, I opened that paddock, said hi to let his blind self know that I was there, fully prepared for him to glance up and then ignore me. Instead, he jerked up, spun around, and briskly walked over to me, whickering affectionately all the way! Now that's the kind of result I was hoping for; but I honestly thought it would take more time. Not really sure what to do or how long he would be interested in me, I began a rub, and then took my tools--and he let me do a full groom! He continued to stand there, content in my company, curious as to what I was going to do next. Suddenly I thought, Why not let him do a favorite horsey activity? So I unlatched the paddock gate, took my chair and my book to sit in a shady spot, and let him know that it was ok to come out and graze. There isn't much grass; and he'll really have to hunt all over the yard for something edible;but he needs to know that I'm ok with him just being him--just being a horse.

Ob. 4: Joey is very trusting if you've made an effort to be his friend.

I'm still unsure of whether this is the right way to do things; having the mentality that "horses have spent enough time fitting into our world; it's time we fit into theirs." Let's see: God told man to subdue the earth and to have reign over the beasts of the earth. But God also created the horse the way he is and called it "good." And you know what? Thinking back over what I've seen of the dance between human and horse, I've concluded that, in that instance, man still has full control over the beast; but it's in the gentle, understanding way that I think God had in mind--not through brutality, force, and the abusing of His created creature that He called good.

I tried a quick grain-training lesson--more to see how he reacted to me. Taking a handful of sweet feed, he's eager to follow me; so I told him to stay behind. After two misunderstandings (really, he just wasn't listening or paying attention to me; he wanted the food ), he tried staying when I told him to "stand and whoa" instead of ignoring me and running after the food; and--wonder of wonders!--he got the food anyway!
Like I said, this was really a test to see how he would respond to treat-training.

Current Day
I no longer believe that treats are necessary to build a bond with my horse. In fact, with my particular boy, I believe that they might hinder us by distracting him. I wasn't sure what to think about using treats on the day that I did trial and error with them. It seems that every liberty trainer uses treats for everything! (Liberty training--new term I learned. But you'll have to read more about that in the next entry. ;) ) So I originally felt like we needed them, too. But after our interaction yesterday--oh boy! I've discovered that treats are not essential. ^.^ But, again, you'll have to read the next entry to know how I came to that conclusion. ;D

Thanks for reading! I hope you come back for Part 2 of this entry.


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