Saturday, July 9, 2011

From the archive

This picture reminds me of something we always had going for us.

May 2004

We had lots of issues in the early days. Mostly dominance issues and while I learned a lot, I've said it a hundred times, I thought I'd never get it. But look at the picture and look at her ear. We were *always* engaged. Never ever not once did L "disengage". And that was just about the only thing I had going for me for a long time.

Training with L made me think hard about the business of dominance. Most people think it's about being a bully, but it isn't, not at all. And it's clear I'm not faster than L and I'm not stronger than L. It finally dawned on me. L has to believe I'm smarter than she is. The concept really is that simple. But she's a very smart horse and convincing her I'm smarter than she is continues to be a challenge. Sometimes I think she just humors me. It's good that she's a good horse.

Not long after that picture was taken I recall one of our very first milestones. And no, it wasn't our first show.

June 2004. L's very first show.

Very funny story. I was free lungeing L with her herdmate M. She was messing with me. She'd give me the "look" and allow her hip to drift in my direction by just a couple of inches. I was encouraging them with a lunge line in my hand. Things would quickly deteriorate if I allowed this to continue. So. I decide the next time she does it I'm going to let the line pay out and I'm going to just touch her hip with the end of the line.

I'm clumsy sometimes and I don't always get things right. She made her move and I went to let the line out and.. I just let go of it. And here this rolled up 30 ft. lunge hit her square in the flank.

It was more timing than anything else. It provoked an immediate "oh crap" reaction from her. It was the very first time she realized maybe she hadn't ought to be messing with me!


  1. What I like about the Canadian Horse is that they are smart and they know it. They will keep you on your toes without being nasty or malicious. So, when it does click it is awesome. L is a beautiful lady. :-)

  2. They're very special animals. L is a very special beast. She'll mess with you but she won't hurt you. Sometimes it's pure magic.

  3. I hear you and Miss Marina will be doing the Canadian Horse in-hand class the NEFHC show next weekend.

    I hope to see you there.


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