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October 12, 2019: Women who Run with Horses

I am putting this possible book title on my long, long list. I see this as an anthology, the writers being women who have the horse gene. That’s it, plain and simple. I’d also write an introductory essay in which I’d speculate about why women and horses take to one another.

This is what I was thinking today. The sun was shining, and it was warm, so I spent more of the day outside, with the horses. Tending to them is conducive to thinking about related things. Riding and interacting with them is conducive to thinking about them, directly.

The day got off to a good start horse-wise. For years, the horses have been pushy at

Tyra heading to the arena
Tyra heading to the arena

the gate – today we had a breakthrough. This is it – my having realized that Raudi won’t cooperate unless it’s on her own terms. Her own terms, this means there needs to be a specific request, and when that request is honored, a suitable reinforcer. She’s always been this way. It just took me time, in fact 15 years, to figure this out. So this morning – I asked she who is always first at the gate to back, I opened the gate, I clicked, and then I rewarded her. She then waited at the gate for permission to move out into the yard. THAT was what was so impressive. Of course, I let her know this.

Raudi is my spirit horse, and as such, she is teaching me to trust what I know about positive reinforcement. I sometimes forget – emotion overrides knowledge. But less and less so.

I was supposed to do a riding lesson at 1 p.m. I had it all planned out. I was going to have this student ride Tinni. The focus was going to be the use of Soft Eyes While I was waiting for her, I did some TTeam and Intrinzen work with him. I put body wraps on Tinni and had him go over poles and weave through buckets. I had an ah ha moment in working with him. Tomorrow I’m going to put ace bandages on the front and rear legs of all three mares and see if they lift them when backing over the pole. I’m going to do this in the front yard, coming and going.

The student was a no show, so I took Tinni for a trail ride. He did just fine and enjoyed being outside. And he did not cough. I am so pleased about this – everything I did, including putting on the Hilton Herb supplement has worked.

I helped Pete unload hay and then went running with Tyra and Ryder on the trails. I figured Tyra could use a riding break. Tis the season – there was no green grass, so she was not distracted. She ran and ran and ran but always came back to me.

Lastly, I did agility with all three horses. Last month, the majority of the obstacles involved having the horses walk in front of me. This month, the majority of the obstacles involve having the horses walk behind me. My sense was that with practice, they’ll get this down. They also must have their heads down for seven seconds – this too is easy to teach. I simply refrain from clicking until they touch the target for one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven seconds. Hrimmi got frustrated – tomorrow she’ll have caught on. She learns incrementally. Breaks do her a world of good.

A great day, being a woman who runs with the horses. The only thing I lack is someone to interact with who has the gene. I keep hoping that someone will move to the area who shares my interest in positive reinforcement training, Centered Riding, TTeam work, and the like, enough so that we might work together. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’m having a good time being a woman who runs with the horses.

Next: 283. 10/13/19: When it Doesn’t Rain, It Doesn’t Pour

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