Tuesday, February 5, 2008

You Can't Rush a Horse

I am notorious for not planning ahead. When I need to go somewhere, I think about what time I need to leave, but don't think about what I should pack and what I need to take care of at home before I leave. As a result, I am often running around the house at the last minute, handling things as they pop into my head. This morning was no different. I had to meet some coworkers at a ski resort over an hour's drive away at 8:30 in the morning. I knew I had to leave a little after 7:00 AM, and at exactly 7:00 AM it hit me that I still needed to warm up my truck, scrape the ice off the windshield, pack a lunch, find my earmuffs and gloves, find some cash, take my vitamins, get the horses out of their stalls and feed them, break the ice in any water troughs that don't have de-icers, and finish my cup of coffee.

I ran out to the barn with halter in hand, threw open the door to Gabbrielle's stall, expecting her to be standing there ready to poke her nose into the halter, but instead she backed into the far corner and reared up. I stopped and gave her a puzzled look. "What's wrong, girl?" I asked.

She continued to stand in the corner, so I took a step toward her, trying to catch my breath after all that running. She snorted and began looking for an escape route. I stopped. She relaxed. I took a step toward her. She panicked. I stopped. I made a concerted effort to calm my breathing, and I explained to her that I have somewhere to go today and need to get her to her pen quickly or I will be late. She seemed to understand until I took another step toward her, and the nervous snorting began again. With my earmuffs on, it took me a while to realize that she was not only reacting to my hurried state, but to the whish-sound that my ski pants were making each time I took a step. I rubbed my hand on my pants to show her where the noise originated from. Once she saw my hands making the noise, she relaxed and approached the halter. I got her to her pen, happy that she was intelligent enough to comprehend what I was trying to communicate.

Next I entered Bombay's stall. He threw himself at his window, stuck his head all the way out and began running in place, his front legs hitting the wall. He refused to back up so that I could show him my hands rubbing my pants and making that whish-noise. I tapped him on his chest, but he wasn't backing up for anything because that weird noise was in his stall. He stuck his head out further like an ostrich sticking its head in sand. There was no point running to the outside to put the halter on his head, because he would have just backed into the stall to escape me. I grew impatient and scolded him for making me late. I checked my watch and knew that if I didn't leave that very minute, I'd have to cancel the trip. I ran out of his stall, grabbed the wheelbarrow, threw a flake of hay through his window, and did the same for Lostine. On my way out the door I asked my husband to get the horses out of their stalls when they are done eating.

Everything worked out in the end, but it just goes to show you that you have to be in the right state of mind and have the right energy level in order to work with horses, or the horses simply won't cooperate. I like to watch Cesar Milan's "Dog Whisperer" television show because he spends a lot of time talking about how dogs react to different types of energy. I find that much of what he teaches holds true for horses as well. I wish that one of these days someone would start a horse training television show -- something you could just tune into, as opposed to forking out hundreds of dollars for a series of DVDs that may or may not be helpful, but you won't know until you buy them. I'm sure the T.V. producers don't think there are enough horse owners in this world to justify such an investment, however I suspect that a lot of people who don't own horses would still watch. Horses are fascinating animals.


Rising Rainbow said...

Oh yes, horses are so into what kind of energy we are generating. Not that the ski pants didn't add to you dilemma. lol

I thought you were going to say it was the ear muffs. Mine would have been snorting over those for sure. lol

jdp said...

RFD-TV has tons of horse training programs. Since I don't have a tv, my mom TIVO's the shows we like and we have an afternoon marathon. It's available on both Dish and Direct TV, or check out their website.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

jdp -- Ahh, therin lies my problem. I have cable TV. I also know that what you get on TV depends on where you live. If horses are a big part of the lifestyle in your area, you'll see such shows. I had never heard of the Rural America Network. I'm jealous.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

jdp -- I just got a call from my cable company, and I asked about RFD-TV. Fortunately, the saleswoman who called me was from Pennsylvania, so she was very familiar with it. She did some research and figured out how to include it in a package for me. I'm so excited, because in a few weeks I'll have horse training shows on my TV! Thanks for the tip.