It seems not too long ago that I attended horsemanship clinics and sat in awe watching famous horsemen and women perform their magic on those thousand-pound beasts that steal our hearts. It seems a lifetime that I've been working with horses, making very slow progress. However, every once in a while something happens and someone says, or I say to myself, "Wow! How did you do that?"
I have a complicated pecking order in my herd, so whenever I wander among them, I have to keep it in mind and be aware of who might push who around, and most likely into me. The other day I was petting Gabbrielle and Bombay when Rock walked a little too close to Lostine, and Lostine took off at a gallop straight toward Gabbrielle with her ears pinned back and teeth bared. Gabbrielle is the only horse who intimidates Rock, so Lostine disciplines Gabbrielle if she doesn't come to Lostine's rescue when Rock is bothering her.
Gabbrielle was kind of trapped with Bombay standing on her right, me in front of her, and Lostine flanking her from the left. She impulsively stepped forward toward me in an effort to escape the upcoming punishment, and I tossed my hand up like a police officer directing an intersection to say, "Stop!"
Gabbrielle stopped. Then I pointed my finger at Lostine and said, "Pshshshshttt!"
Kind of like Cesar Millan, the dog whisperer.
Lostine came to a sliding stop, put her ears forward on me, and retracted her offer to bite Gabbrielle. Peace was restored.
On my way through the barn and out of the horse paddock, I pointed at Rock and said, "Quit!"
He stepped back into his stall and let Lostine enter hers.
It's just like raising children.