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August 31, 2018 Another Month Ahead

We now bid adieu to August, 2018, a good month, one in which I did a horse clinic, had visitors here, and worked at the Alaska State Fair. There was a lot of rain. And hunting season began. September promises to be a much quieter month – I am looking forward to resuming the semi-monastic lifestyle.

This morning I got an email from my good friend Fran Bundtzen who lives in Fairbanks, Alaska. Fran, in addition to being a strong voice of reason in my otherwise unreasonable life, has been a faithful dispatch reader.

 Raudi and her hay
Raudi and her hay

She gave me high praise this morning in an email, saying that I have persevered in dealing with what she calls “Raudi’s strong personality,” and that she always knew that in time that she’d become a reliable riding horse. I felt good hearing this because most of the horse people around here see her as a spoiled pony and contend that I have not been firm enough with her. It’s nice that a good friend put a more positive spin on the situation.

Strong personality – I like it because it applies to us both. I have, in working with Raudi had to dig down deep and from the recesses of my very soul, find ways of working with her that both continue to foster that strong sense of self and allow us both to be companionable.

Her knocking me over going out of the gate a few weeks ago. Unacceptable. But the use of the target worked. Today she backed when asked and waited when I took Hrimmi out of the gate. This spirit horse has taught me that negative reinforcers simply do not work, with animals or people. Every so often, in a fit of anger, I forget, but I rebound quickly, again drawing upon what I know about positive reinforcement and cognition.

This morning I did agility with all the mares – it went okay. It didn’t go great – we’ve had so much rain that I was not able to work with them enough on what was a difficult course. But I had this idea, which is that I am going to set up the September obstacles in various parts of the yard, and in this way I’ll work with them. This should make things more interesting for us all.

After agility, I rode Tyra and Pete rode Hrimmi. I used Hrimmi’s bridle on Tyra because I don’t like the sidepulls we have. I rode with a very light hand. It was a wonderful ride. Tyra does not have Raudi’s strong temperament – when I am consistent she goes with the program.

I now have a differing challenge ahead of me. I must continue to treat Raudi and Tyra like they are both special and not favor one over the other. I sense that otherwise, I might really upset Raudi, by favoring Tyra, though most likely not vice versa. It’s going to be a tough call, or what some people might call a happy problem.

Next: 243. 9/1/18 Worker Bees

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