Age and Wisdom

It’s a beautiful spring day. I just came in from doing the horse “chores” HA. Sounds like work. Every day I get to interact with four of the most incredible creatures on the planet. They seek me out for petting and carrots, they follow where I lead, they ask for rubs and allow me to touch them in their most vulnerable spots (ears, eyes, legs) – those areas where they are most protective for survival. We’ve been playing a rope game. Come to me and stand quietly while I put a rope on your neck and follow me around. They all play even though the game is intended for my nervous Nellie. Her survival instincts are instantly on hyper drive if there is a flash of any possible type of threat and often even none at all. This behavior was learned hard and fast before she was with me as a 2 or 3 year old and has been her escape mechanism for the decade of her life. It’s hard to believe she may be nearing 10 years old. I don’t know her actual age. She’s learning a new behavior and I’m learning how to teach her to learn. It’s been a long process.

I played with them for about ½ hour and they were all very quiet and attentive which is the behavior that I am asking for so there was no need to delay getting out to the pasture. I led them most of the way down the alley way when they saw the neighbors horses who were out on the other side of the fence and stopped paying attention to me. They stopped and started to graze and chat like a group of school children.

When opportunity knocks I always try to answer it. I started the rope game some more in the middle of the pasture. I want to be sure I could actually catch them in a pasture or if they ever get out of the pasture and that they know what I want when I approach with a rope in my hand. By that I mean that they know it’s a good deal for them! I use carrots as additional reward sometimes. Horses learn and accept new ideas when they chew. More accurately, when a horse chews after being introduced to a new idea that’s one way you can tell that they are accepting the idea. A horse will never chew who is nervous and ready to bolt – their lips will be tight, eyes wide and their muscles taught, ready to spring (fight or flight). In order to chew they have to be relaxed and they sometimes relax faster with a reward. After that my job then is to leave them alone. I came back up to the house and realized that my Haflinger is an introvert disguised as an extrovert and for the last 7 (yikes) years I’ve been pushing her to learn faster than she can consume new information. She’s more willing than ever, trying to be brave and come into the morning greeting circle while hiding behind the other horses – not quite within reach. Funny little mare.

I still have almost an hour before I have to be ready for work, I love this schedule. Class will be over at the end of the month and my plan is to focus on business planning. We may be moving since the property is rumored to have been sold. Apparently they are looking for a closing date of July 29. I already have most of August scheduled for time off – interesting how God works.

Blessings to all of you!

All my love

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