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49375Re: [MarvWalkerHorses] Faith!! Look To Me!

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  • Lisa Harrison
    Aug 18, 2013
      If anyone can do it, you can!  

      On Sat, Aug 17, 2013 at 8:34 PM, Marv Walker <Marv@...> wrote:

      I didn't do anything with Faith today, it was raining way too hard to
      do anything outside the barn so Cathy "No Legal Relation" Walker and
      I worked inside the barn painting and cleaning.

      Cathy snatched Dakota off the slaughter truck that came into Brave
      Meadows a few months ago to see if there were any horses in the semi
      trailer Brave Meadows might have an interest in.

      Cathy had an interest in him even though I had my doubts. He was a
      rangy, skinny, nervous paint. He was what I have heard referred to
      as a "hide." It is unfortunate that there are way more horses than
      there are homes for those horses.

      Most horses end up in the slaughter truck for a reason. People are
      very often unable to deal with them for whatever reason, very often
      handling problems, and rescuing a slaughter bound horse is iffy. It
      is very easy to end up with someone else's burden. If that is your
      desire, more power to you and good on ya for it. I don't like
      slaughter one bit but I'm at a loss as to what to do with all the
      unwanted horses. I have a pragmatic view - I cannot save all the
      horses in the world and death is not the worse thing that can happen
      to a horse.

      Truthfully, I would have left him on the truck. Cathy wasn't having
      any part of that.

      Cathy is without a doubt a superior volunteer who leaves no doubt
      when she says, "I believe in the program." If there is a need at
      Brave Meadows Therapeutic Riding Center Cathy Walker is there to do
      it. She will flat do to ride the river with.

      She had a horse in her childhood for awhile before children and grand
      children and then she had Dakota. Not having a lot of luck dealing
      with him she was open to some suggestions I offered and in no time
      those two were thicker than honey and the talk of the barn. He looks
      nothing like he did when he clambered off the truck. He is slick,
      fat and has even grown a hand taller. He is an impressive horse and
      lets Cathy do whatever she wants to with him. It is obvious he is
      her horse. She calls him, he comes.

      She is his leader and he looks to her for direction.

      If you have a herd of horses grazing along and something spooks some
      of the herd they'll take off. But they'll only go until they see the
      rest of the herd is not following and then they circle back with an
      "We were just practicing" air. Let the lead horse spook and every
      horse in the herd follows for as long as the lead horse goes.

      The herd lets the head leader evaluate the spook. They look to her,
      and it's almost always a "her," to determine their reaction to the spook.

      This is what I want my horse to do with me. This is what Dakota does
      with Cathy.

      The purpose of the "bonder" is to present the horse with horse
      leadership actions, just like a lead horse in a herd would do, until
      the horse says by its actions, "This being is acting like a herd
      leader and I am acting like a follower. Therefore this being must be
      a leader."

      When it comes that conclusion it then begins to look to me for
      direction and to evaluate any spooks. "Look to me for direction on
      how to deal with whatever you are concerned about."

      Normally it only takes me a day or two to get the horse to that point
      and another day or two to drive it home - "Look to me!"

      I go out of my way to do strange things I think will upset the horse
      and then ignore the horse's reaction to the thing I'm doing. If the
      horse reacts to something outside of what I'm doing, such as Imdal
      wearing a blanket, I tell it, "Look to me, ignore it."

      Most horse people will forget what they are doing when a spook is
      encountered and concentrate on the spook. For instance, a dead
      mattress on the trail. The goal is to get the horse as close as
      possible to the mattress, maybe even get it to walk over it while all
      the time trying to convince the horse "It's okay! It won't hurt
      you." Eventually the horse pays little attention to the mattress and
      the horse person chalks up another successful desensitizing session.

      And then a large white trailer lies in wait around the back of the
      barn. Same routine. Every time something spooks the horse they stop
      and concentrate on the spook.

      What are they teaching the horse? If something disturbs you we'll
      stop what we're doing and deal with it.

      If something disturbs my horse I want it to "look to me, I'll deal
      with it, keep moving."

      Faith does that to a degree some of the time. Some of the time
      she'll go into hyperspook and I'll be the furthest thing on her radar
      screen and instead of focusing on me she'll focus on the
      spooker. She's pretty good with things that aren't connected to
      her. Connect it to her and get out of the way.

      Strangely, she'll stand for something connected to her, if stand is
      even the right word for what she does, if I have a hold of her. She
      respects leadline contact while acting like a box of springs just
      waiting to be released. The slightest lessening of contact and she's off.

      One list member sent me an email about a similar horse they had that
      spooked at man made items and they inundated the horse with various
      items baited with treats until the horse accepted them.

      This is a busy week for me and I'm not real sure if I'll get much
      time to work with her. Cathy and I are going to haul Dakota & Faith
      to the vet for yearly shots and Coggins Wednesday so that will eat up
      my available barn time.

      I'd like to spend a day at the barn and surcingle her all up and
      connect all kinds of spookers to her and leave her to her own devices
      in the arena until she accepts. I don't expect it to be pretty. I
      want to be there for the most part early in case something goes wrong.

      I've always said, "Mechanics drive the rattiest cars. Builders live
      in the neediest houses. Horse trainers have the least trained
      horses." I have been so busy working with other people's horses I
      haven't had time to work with one of my own.

      Now I find myself with the most difficult horse I've ever dealt with
      and I own her.

      Marv "Be careful what you chase, it may catch you." Walker