Tyra: I have a question for you. Why is it that humans talk more ABOUT us than TO us?
Alys: What do you mean?
T: It’s like a lot of times people think that horses don’t understand what they’re talking about.
A: How about giving an example?
T: That’s easy. Instead of saying, “Horse, you did wonderfully on the trail ride today,” the person in question says to another person, “My horse did wonderfully on the trail ride today.”
A: Why does it matter?
T: Because a little praise goes a long, long ways.
A: Yes, that’s positive reinforcement training.
Alys and Tyra
T: Call it what you may, all horses respond best to direct address and praise.
A: Dogs too.
T: And goats.
A: How do you know about the goats responding favorably to praise.
T: Ranger has been here ever since I can remember. He gets ecstatic when you say good things to him.
A: And Swamp Thing?
T: She internalizes what you say but she feeds off it too.
A: Why this particular conversation?
T: Because I heard you say to Pete that you are thinking about parting company with me.
A: Sorry, I should have first asked you what you thought about this.
T: I don’t think it’s a good idea.
A: Why not?
T: Icelandic horses bond to their people. It is emotionally draining for us to be sold.
A: Well, I guess you didn’t hear the entire conversation. I says to Pete that perhaps we could find a home for you in Washington state, in the area that you came from. You’d have more pasturage to run around on, and get taken on differing trails.
T: What have I done to have got you thinking this way?
A: It isn’t you. It’s your saddle. I figure that because there’s a more connected Icelandic horse community there, that they’d resolve our saddle fit issue. I ride you and I think that with the proper saddle, you could be much further along in your training.
T: Have you lost your mind?
A: Several times. But then I have always found it.
T: Not this time.
A: I think you’d have a far better time in a connected community than here in a dysfunctional one.
A: The Icelandic horse people in our area are very clannish. They would not, at a playday, give you a second glance because you don’t tolt.
T: For goodness sakes, if you want me to tolt, I’ll tolt.
A: It would raise your asking cost. And because of this, you’d be more apt to get a better owner.
T: Money talks, but it don’t walk.
A: Sometimes you say some strange things.
T: Same for yourself.
A: I was thinking we might part with you at the end of next season’s trip.
T: I have a better idea.
A: What’s that?
T: Next year, at the end of your trip with Pete, you and I go on a long trip together.
A: Just us two?
T: And let’s bring Shadow along.
A: But what about the saddle issue?
T: You can walk me, and Shadow can ride on my back when she’s tired.
A: This is a very good idea. I will most definitely give this option more thought.
T: Thank you.
A: You’re welcome.
Next: 234. 8/25/21: Roundabout