Friday, March 21, 2008

Another good day

Yesterday Cliff and I rode the motorcycle. We intended to go for another ride today, but the wind was so strong, we knew it wouldn't be fun. Cliff did several odd jobs around here, including planting a few potatoes. Supposedly, Good Friday is the time to plant potatoes.

I rode my horse, Blue, for an hour or so.

Then this afternoon I worked with my two-year-old filly, Libby. I had some backtracking to do.

Recently Cliff decided to trim Libby's feet for me. He'd had great success trimming Blue's feet, after all.

Libby had been allowing me to work with her feet just fine; but when Cliff came around she got all antsy and would pull her hind feet away from him. Unfortunately, Cliff has little patience with horses when they get contrary. He smacked her, and then smacked her again. He also raised his voice. It was not a pleasant day.

I knew at the time this was the wrong way to handle Libby's problem. I also know my husband, and realized it was better for all concerned if I kept my mouth shut.

So today I decided to work on getting Libby back to the point of letting me pick up her feet again.

There was no problem with the front hooves, but the back ones were a different story. When I started, she wouldn't allow me to pick up the left hind foot at all; she'd jerk it away from me.

After working with her for an hour and really working up a sweat, I was able to pick up either hind foot and even use the file on them briefly. I hope to work with Libby daily until she'll let me pick up her feet any time for as long as I want. Because no matter how sweet and loving a horse is, if you can't work on her feet, she's no good to anyone.

Cliff joined me and tried his hand at it. He agreed that losing his temper and smacking Libby had been the wrong thing to do. After a few tries, she finally allowed him to pick up her back feet.

I imagine it's the wrong way to train a horse, but I gave her a treat for behaving when she allowed Cliff to take her foot.

Thankfully, horses and dogs are very forgiving. We humans could learn a lot from them.

1 comment:

Mike S said...

Your approach must be correct as it worked. I was in charge of the horses as a kid on the farm and found I could get them to do things just by being gentle & calm with them that would garner others a swift kick. Belgian's kick HARD!!
No planting here as yet. As of noon yesterday we've 'gathered' 184.5" of snow this winter on my weather station gauge out back. Kind of a beautiful white for Easter though:)