This past weekend, I got to spend some time around a 2 month old filly. Babies are so cute, and so much work!!
When we first arrived, the filly was FULL of energy. What a constant exercise in being fully present in the moment she gave her handlers. They were great, and always exhibited extreme patience with her.
The next day when I was around my horses, I found my thoughts drifting toward the consistency needed to effectively train and teach as I had witnessed with the filly. As one of my riding instructors used to say, “there are no vacations!”
I was fortunate to have the time to work with Little Horse, and brought him in the barn to groom him. Since he fell while the farrier was doing his feet, he hasn’t stood really well for having his feet picked out. I was starting to get a little annoyed at his behavior as he moved around and wouldn’t let me pick up his hind foot, and then I noticed that his whole body was quivering. That surely got rid of the annoyance, and led to a short-term guilt trip. Not that I did anything to reprimand him, I go on guilt trips VERY easily.
I decided to treat him as if he didn’t know yet what was expected of him. Perfect that I had the filly experience the day before! For how I like to teach horses, that meant breaking things down into tiny steps and lavishing on much praise with any movement toward the response I’m hoping for. I also try not to assume that the horse knows what I want. It took about 10 minutes, but I got his feet all cleaned with neither of us getting upset about anything.
I got him tacked up and went out for a lunging session. Not only did we have a small victory concerning his feet, but he was sound, as well. Now I have to be patient until I have room in my schedule to play with him again. I can’t put into words how relieved I am that he is sound again. Now, back to our fun!!